Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky on the stage of the Sofia Opera – a real academy for discovering and professional growth of young opera artists
13 Apr 2016

Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky on the stage of the Sofia Opera – a real academy for discovering and professional growth of young opera artists

In a letter to the rector of the Moscow Conservatory – Nikolai Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky confessed his greatest dream – to have his new opera “Eugene Onegin” performed at the Conservatory and that only young singers participated in it. And he asserted: “I will never give this opera to the theatres’ directors before it is played by the Conservatory. I wrote it for the Conservatory...”

To bring this work back to the genesis of its first stage life now is my idea to put it on the stage of the Sofia Opera with young opera singers, even beginners.

The task of the new staging is to find and attract younger artists, even debutants, and with them the professional appearance of also young director and conductor, who also make their debut in the performance of this piece on the national opera scene.

Not an easy job, such an ambition – not only in the discovery of new voices for the roles, but to have them well prepared and able to cope with the difficult vocal and stage personalities in the complex drama of such a sensitive musical artist like Tchaikovsky.

For the stylistic and vocal interpretation of his “lyrical scenes” as the composer called his work, I specially invited from Russia Maestra Larisa Gergieva, well-known pianist and vocal coach of the Mariinsky Theatre, a renowned master in the interpretation of Russian opera classics and committed to improving young opera singers not only at the Academy which she created at the famous Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, but also around the world.

This new staging in the repertoire of the Sofia Opera shows my constant desire and effort over the years – the discovery, preparation, growth and giving the chance and direction in their career to a huge number of new talents – new names of singers, conductors, directors, artists, accompanists, artists and administrators, all of them people passionately and honestly devoted to the profession and the big ideas of opera theatre.

This is the result of the consistent policy and care of the Sofia Opera and Ballet management for the professional development and recognition of young and future artists.

Our care is in harmony with the words of Nicholas Payne, Director of Opera Europa: The questions of how to discover, encourage and nurture emerging artists, creative teams and cultural managers are a central preoccupation of opera companies today. As we learn from the Parable of the Talents in St Matthew’s Gospel (chapter 25), a man going on a journey entrusts his servants with his property, to each according to his ability, challenging them to profit from it. ‘For, to everyone who has more will be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away’.

“Eugene Onegin” on the stage of Sofia Opera is a chance, an impulse and a test for endurance, as well as a proof for the ability of the young people, in the first attempt for some, for a hard and merciless dedication to the profession of the opera artist.

The average age of the performers in the new production of the Sofia Opera is 29 years. The audience will hear new voices from Bulgaria, Russia, Romania and China.

Good luck!

Acad. Plamen Kartaloff, Member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences