According to the will of God Almighty Our Father, on this very day was born one son of God, Boris Christoff, who filled the entire terrestrial globe with his angelic voice.
This day – 18 May – in 1942 according to the will of Boris III – King of the Bulgarians with a scholarship to study opera singing, the train from Sofia to Milan departed with this son of God.
“It is needless here to praise such a fully developed artist as Boris Christoff, one of the few, with who to the intelligence and musical culture was added also the gift to have a beautiful voice and significant stage presence.
This special feature of the Bulgarian artist not to be only an exceptional singer, a man of culture and true musician, but also a mature actor, endowed with charm and magnetism, became the reason a part of his colleagues on the stage to look like colourless figures.”
This way described Boris Christoff the Italian music critic Massimo Mila in 1955, on the occasion of his performance of the tragic evil-doer Hagen at the premiere spectacle of Wagner’s “Götterdämmerung” in Turin.
...In the years of unusual duration of his career many people, who had watched him and listened to him, had the possibility to preserve the indelible memory of his art, wrote two other of his musicologists-chronologists, Maurizio Modugno and Carlo Curami: “Happy are those who can say, by hearing the name of Boris Christoff : “I have watched him”.
This statement is maybe true, but it could not be true. Because after one has known and felt the greatness, the perfection, the myth – sharp and heavy is the collision with reality, with the reality of today, in which singing, presence, gestures almost never bring revelations, they don’t turn into indelible memory.
It is miserable to watch, listen, and analyse yard feathered and vagrant cats, after you have known eagles and lions. And this makes you peer with worry into the destiny of vocal and interpretation art after twenty, thirty years, when the direct witnesses of other opera seasons will be fewer and fewer.
The gramophone records, the CD-s, stamped on the photographs or on video tape images, the books will then be the memory – and maybe the single knowledge – about the flight of the eagles, about the regal manner of the lions”.
Today we are marking the most solemn way the 100th Anniversary of Boris Christoff, the tragic King on the opera stage, one of the great voices of the past century, who had triumphed all over the world.
He, however, never sang on Bulgarian stage, he never put on for it not a single costume for his kingly roles. He made, however, recordings of church chants with his angelic voice in the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, leaving therewith a true divine gift for the music world memory.
The Bulgarian opera singers, and not only they, after him have the great example of the man and the artist, who, thanks to breath taking strictness, seriousness and constant work on himself, conquered peak after peak. The magnetism, the charm and the control of every corner of the stage was achieved not only with his voice, modelled in relief with all shades and colours, emotions and passions of the soul, perfect diction, every word given a meaning, but also with the stage power of the characters, which he, like a painter, sculptures with his voice, in harmony with the body, gesture, manners. The service with the voice, as with the “most perfect instrument in the world”, which has to play well and answer everything, which is expected from him.
For Boris Christoff singing was a way of life. Over 60 roles in the opera repertoire on the world opera stages, separately masses, oratorios, hundreds of concerts, dozens of recordings, world and national awards and insignia of honour in the course of more than 40 years of career of artist and pedagogue.
In the inexhaustible horizons of the art of the opera and his vocal and stage interpretation, the mastery of Boris Christoff has risen them to a highest artistic pedestal, on the highest top of which shines his name of unique artist.
acad. Plamen Kartaloff
Speech, delivered at the celebration ceremony on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of Boris Christoff