With 121 300 spectators the Sofia Opera and Ballet sees off 2014, which makes an increase of 33,1% compared to the previous year. 406 times more in total the artists of the opera and ballet stood before their audience at spectacles during the passing year – with 65,7% more than in 2013. The sharp leap in the number of the performances is due most of all to the turned into a hit for the youngest spectators Concerts for babies – 130 in total from January until now. With this new form of attracting the audience practically dropped out the existing till this moment lower limits of age – in the newly opened “Bebotsi” hall, together with their parents, grandmothers and grandfathers already amuse themselves also the spectators at the age 0 to 3.
161 were the opera and ballet spectacles and the spectacles for children performed during the year on the stage of our first opera theatre, which makes 6,8 % more than in 2013. 17 guest-performances were realized by the artists of the Sofia Opera and Ballet this year. Growth in the income and increased average ticket price are other important characteristics of the passing 2014 for the theatre.
Interesting 7 premiere titles and many guest-performing Bulgarian and foreign artists attracted the audience from close and distant countries. Spectators from 11 countries from 4 continents gathered the second performance of Richard Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen” from 23 to 29 July, at that as doyen among the Wagnerians turned out to be the 97-years old Verna Parino from San Francisco. She had flown over the ocean in order to watch for the 76th time her favourite opera work.
Many guests from abroad and citizens of the capital visited the spectacles in the open air on the St. Alexander Nevsky square of “Boris Goudonov” by Mussorgsky. Plamen Kartaloff’s monumental production was dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of Boris Christoff and the 85th Anniversary of Nicolai Ghiaurov; with it was honoured also the recently deceased Nicola Ghiuselev. The 100th Anniversary of the opera legend Boris Christoff was marked also with other emblematic titles from his repertoire like “Aida”, “Nabucco” and “Fidelio”. In “Don Carlo” in the role of Filippo II guest-performers were two star names – Ferruccio Furlanetto and Carlo Colombara. Boris Christoff was honoured also with a gala concert “The dreamed of coming back in Sofia Opera” at the day of his birth, with a scientific conference at the |Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and with a photo exhibition, dedicated to his life and work.
Rossini’s comic opera “La cenerentola” after Charles Perrot’s fairy-tale of the same name was among the premieres with guests from abroad. In Vera Petrova’s production together with the guest-performing Maria Jinga and Oana Andra the spectators saw also Petya Petrova, Martin Tsonev, Gergi Sultanov, Hrisimir Damyanov, Alec Avedissian, Atanas Mladenov, Svilen Nikolov, Nikolay Petrov and Orlin Nevenkin.
Our great baritone Vladimir Stoyanov brought joy to his admirers in Sofia with participations in Verdi’s “La traviata” and “Nabucco” and with a gala concert with fragments from the works by the Italian of genius in the cycle “Tutto Verdi”. In the Easter concert this spring the audience saw and heard for the first time in our country the world clarinettist Giampiero Sobrino, who is Artistic Director of Arena di Verona, together with the well-known also in Bulgaria conductor Damian Iorio.
Two premiere titles gave joy this year to the young audience – the classic ballet “La fille mal gardée” after music by Louis Hérold and Peter Ludwig Hertel and Pancho Vladigerov’s musical “Town Musicians of Bremen”.
The admirers of Terpsichore were tempted for the fourth time with works of art by the greatest choreographers from the USA in the frames of the project “American ballet for Bulgaria”. Organized with the special participation of soloists from the New York City Ballet and the Sofia Opera and Ballet, each of the spectacles contained the five titles: “Apollo”, “Gershwin Preludes”, “Concertino”, “Junk Duet” and “La Plage”. The last edition of the project presented one more emblematic name in the American and world choreography – Tom Gold.
The prima ballerina Masha Ilieva presented herself exceptionally successfully in her new occupation – of producer and director of the exuberant production of Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty”. More than 100 artists and students from the National School of Dance Art decorated the stage in the six premiere spectacles of this magical ballet work.
Before the audience of the traditional New Year’s Concert to fill in the hall of the Sofia Opera and Ballet for the next time in succession on the last day of 2014, in December the spectators watched for the second time a production by the world-known Argentine Hugo de Ana. After the great success of “Aida” during the past season, this time he fascinated even the not tempted by the magic of the great art spectators with his version of Camille Saint-Saëns’ masterpiece “Samson et Dalila”. After whole 82 years absence from the Sofia stage, the audience enjoyed the magical music, the beautiful set design and the unique embodiments of the Wiener Staatsoper’s star Nadia Krasteva as Dalila, of the popular also in our country Endrik Wottrich as Samson, of the guest-performing for the first time in Bulgaria Stanislav Trifonov as the High Priest of Dagon, as well as of the soloists Daniela Dyakova, Tsveta Sarambelieva, Kostadin Andreev and Biser Georgiev.