This is my second visit to the Sofia Opera and Ballet after the performance of “Fidelio” in 2013. Plamen Kartaloff gave me a special invitation – he asked me if I wanted to come and take on the vocal interpretation work of all these wonderful soloists. I immediately agreed! German music requires careful preparation and a completely different approach. I focused on the pronunciation of the German language, which is very different. This is what they needed. As for their voices – they have it all. The voices of your singers are extremely beautiful. I just tried to give them an example of how to approach this repertoire in order to show their qualities in full. I am very happy with my work here.
And now we're preparing with mostly Bulgarian singers “The Ring” and “Tristan and Isolde”. And this is not only a great pleasure, it is very important. It is very important for the House, whose director, Plamen Kartaloff, believes in bringing Wagner to Sofia.
What I can do here and help, and what is my wish from the deepest of my heart is to take the fright away from Bulgarian singers about the German language. There is no need to be afraid of it. It can be a lot softer than most singers think. They think they have to bite the German language. You can sing the German language very soft. Some singers say, they think of Bellini or they think of Italian repertoire...
And I think if a director like Plamen Kartaloff believes so much in this historically once in a lifetime music like Wagner, believes to do it here, people should trust him and they should come and listen to this gorgeous music.
And for the singers, I don't think there is another opera house which tries to do “The Ring” only with their own singers. And I think this is an experiment, unique in this world. And here I see why it's getting a problem in Europe. If the Vienna State Opera would only take Austrian singers, to be very honest, they don't have them all, they have to take guests. But even if they would have them, the press would come and say: Why don't you take the other singers from somewhere else? Are you getting too nationalistic? And is there racism?
And that's why my heart opens. And I'm so overwhelmed by the love that is offered here to singers, to own singers. And if I'm invited and may come and contribute something and also teach and educate of my experience, because after 50 years of singing I do have experience, especially with all the great conductors, with all the great stage designers, with all the great other soloists and singers, which means so much to me, especially the three Bulgarian basses that I have sung with. They are Ghiaurov, Ghiuselev and Christoff.
And I can only tell you: Please, believe Plamen Kartaloff in doing Wagner here. We will talk for other projects and I am sure he will also bring it during the year in a different form. But please come and enjoy the greatest composer for opera.