The Sofia Opera returns on the international stages
19 Sep 2023Newspaper “24 Chasa”

The Sofia Opera returns on the international stages

After the pandemic years that closed the borders to international engagements, the Sofia Opera is back on the international stages again after its tours in Brazil, Japan, Germany, Greece, Poland, Russia and Italy.

Past events
Our National Opera Theatre, under the artistic direction of Plamen Kartaloff, toured Brazil for the first time with the opera "Fosca" by the Brazilian composer Carlos Gómez and a concert with Bulgarian music. Seven times it presented in Japan some of its most successful productions of Puccini's "Turandot", "Tosca", "La bohème", "Gianni Schicchi", Verdi's "Otello", "Don Carlo", "Rigoletto", "Un ballo in maschera", Mascagni's "Cavalleria rusticana", and Borodin's "Prince Igor".

After presenting the first Bulgarian production of Richard Wagner's tetralogy "Der Ring des Nibelungen" directed by Plamen Kartaloff, the Sofia Opera boldly organized an international guest-performance and definitely won the hearts of the German and international audience, as for the first time a Bulgarian opera theatre was guest with Wagner's masterpiece in his homeland. Remarkably, in the historic city of Füssen and directly opposite the Neuschwanstein Castle of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, the patron saint of the great German maestro, Bulgarians for the first time presented the most famous and most challenging operas from the works of his beloved composer.

The Sofia Opera presented "Tristan und Isolde" in the programme of the famous half-century-old international summer festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and the audience applauded "Siegfried" at the Christmas Festival at the Bolshoi Theatre in Minsk, Belarus. It was the first time in the history of this stage that a work by the composer Richard Wagner was performed.

After a break of thirty-seven years, the audience of the legendary Bolshoi Theatre applauded the Sofia Opera again. Bulgarian artists and musicians presented themselves brilliantly with the operas "Jana's Nine Brothers" by Pipkov, "Der Ring des Nibelungen" by Wagner and the ballet "Le corsaire" by Adam.

In two guest-performances at the Bydgoszcz Festival, the Sofia Opera first performed Antonio Carlos Gómez's opera "Guarani", and a few years later a production of Borodin's opera "Prince Igor". The impressive production of "Turandot" was presented successively twice in Greece and three times in Japan.

The ballet company also had solo tours in Italy, Turkey, Norway, Greece, where it performed "Zorba the Greek" by Mikis Theodorakis. In Germany, they applauded our ballet dancers in "Swan Lake". The new director of the ballet Marta Petkova continued the tradition and with a performance of "Don Quixote" by Minkus our ballet opened the first edition of the International Ballet Festival "Dance Nights", Ljubljana, and then it was in Salerno, Italy with Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake". In Turkey, at the Bodrum Festival, the Sofia Opera Ballet performed Zorba the Greek".

New season
The new season begins with a very strong presence of the Sofia Opera and Ballet on the international stages with three significant tours.

On 1 and 3 October the Sofia Opera returns to Füssen, Germany. On the stage of the Neuschwanstein Festival Theatre, within the framework of the Königswinkel Music Festival, will be presented Plamen Kartaloff's new production of Richard Wagner's "Die Walküre". The roles will be performed by Aris Argiris – Wotan, Mariana Zvetkova – Fricka, Martin Iliev – Siegmund, Bjarni Thor Kristinsson – Hunding, Gergana Rusekova – Brünnhilde, Tsvetana Bandalovska – Sieglinde and others. Lothar Zagrosek will conduct.

On 20 and 21 October the Sofia Opera will present Richard Strauss' "Elektra" at the 20th International Opera Festival in Taegu, Republic of Korea. The spectacles will be conducted by Evan-Alexis Christ and the roles will be performed by Gergana Rusekova and Mariana Zvetkova (Clytemnestra), Lilia Kehayova and Diana Lamar (Elektra), Radostina Nikolaeva and Tsvetana Bandalovska (Chrysothemis), Daniel Ostretsov (Aegisthus), Atanas Mladenov and Veselin Mihaylov (Orest). Director is Plamen Kartaloff, set design by Sven Jonke.

After capturing the hearts of the audience at the Verdi Theatre in Salerno, Italy in June, the ballet company will be there again with two performances, on 28 and 29 October, of "Giselle" by Adolphe Adam. The main roles are performed by Marta Petkova, Katerina Petrova, Emil Yordanov and Tsetso Ivanov.

The Sofia Opera will for the first time present an opera spectacle in the Republic of Turkey. "Tosca" by Puccini will be part of the programme celebrating 100 years since the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey (1923). The tour is the idea of the Bulgarian Embassy in Ankara, and personally of Ambassador Angel Cholakov, with the support of the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture, as a charity initiative to help in the aftermath of the natural disaster that recently struck eastern Turkey.

On 8 November at the Ankara State Opera and Ballet and on 11 November at the Ataturk Cultural Centre, Istanbul, under the baton of Sunay Muratov in a production of Puccini's "Tosca", directed by Plamen Kartaloff, the main roles will perform Radostina Nikolaeva (Floria Tosca), Kostadin Andreev (Mario Cavaradossi), Ionut Pascu (Baron Scarpia).

On 8 December the Opera and Ballet Festival in Stara Zagora will close with the premiere production of Plamen Kartaloff's "Das Rheingold".

New plans of the Sofia Opera management for future guest performances in Japan, Germany and North Macedonia are under negotiation.