"The Hermit of Rila" – the life of St. John of Rila on the stage of the Sofia Opera
10 May 2023BNT

"The Hermit of Rila" – the life of St. John of Rila on the stage of the Sofia Opera

  Цанка Николова

Only a few days are left until the world premiere of the musical poem "The Hermit of Rila". On 10 May, the story of the life of St. John of Rila will come to life on the stage of the Sofia Opera under the conductorship of Metropolitan Kiprian of Stara Zagora. The music is by Father Kiril Popov. The spectacle is dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the restoration of the Bulgarian Patriarchate.

The sacred poem was written in 1937 by Tihomir Pavlov, but there has never been any music to it. Until last year, when Father Kiril found it in his personal archives and decided to turn it into a libretto for a musical poem.

"This is an inspiration from St. John of Rila, which I received. The text itself sings. With God's help, I tried to get each musical number just right, to be part of the whole and complement each other. There's a lot of prayers, there's a celebration, a lifting of the spirits, there's a lot of drama at times," said Father Kiril Popov, composer of "The Hermit of Rila."

The poem describes the life of John of Rila, the Wonderworker – the protector of the Bulgarian people.

"All of us with one mouth and one heart glorify the reverend father," added Father Kiril Popov.

"Let us immerse ourselves in that mystery, in his soul, in his heart, which has always sought God. We will enter that age of St. John of Rila and we will acquire the better prayerfulness and goodness, and mercy, and faith, and hope that St. John of Rila will always protect us and be over us," said Metropolitan Kiprian of Stara Zagora, conductor of the "The Hermit of Rila".

And the most important message the musical poem carries is to be human and to love both our neighbour and God.