23 Sep 2014


The theatre honoured the 100th Anniversaries of Boris Christoff and Mihail Hadzhimishev

A unique performance of “Don Carlo” gave as a present Sofia Opera and Ballet to its loyal audience at the opening of season 2014/2015. The overcrowded hall enjoyed the mastery and the unique artistry of the considered as number one in the world at the moment as Filippo II Italian Ferruccio Furlanetto. With the guest-performers Ivan Momirov (Don Carlo), Svilen Nikolov (Rodrigo) and Cinzia Chiarini (Eboli), as well as Radostina Nikolaeva (Elizabeth), Petar Buchkov (The Grand Inquisitor), Dimitar Stanchev (Monk), the chorus and the orchestra under the baton of Grigor Palikarov proved, that the longevity of this production – already 27th season on the theatre’s playbill – is not at all by chance.

“In his Biblical messages St. Apostle Paul recommends for their wishes and requests the people always to thank and to honour. In the great tradition of the Bulgarian opera, and today we have only 123 years Bulgarian opera, and in order to go forward, we are always thanking and honouring the pioneers, the founders and the followers of the Bulgarian opera theatre. Royally we marked Boris Christoff’s 100th Anniversary. Unfortunately, he never sung and dressed no one of his royal costumes from his crown roles here, but his angelic chants sounded in the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and namely in front of the temple we addressed our prayer to the skies to thank him and honour him for what he did as Bulgarian in his career. Such century-old hero of a jubilee is also the great Bulgarian opera director Mihail Hadzhimishev, who almost 40 years worked on this stage”.

The destinies of both of them in the beginning went parallel, pointed out Plamen Kartaloff. Boris Christoff was a graduate in law, Mihail Hadzhimishev studied diplomacy at the Sorbonne, in order to follow the steps of his father, the great diplomat Pancho Hadzhimishev. Subsequently, however, destiny led him on the field of music, in order to become assistant director and then, during 37 years, director at Sofia Opera and on the stages of “Teatro Colon” in Buenos Aires, London Opera Centre, Glyndebourne, “La Monnaie” in Brussels, as well as all over Bulgaria. Mihail Hadzhimishev was a fervent supporter of the Bulgarian composers. “What prophesy of the pen and what courage!” emphasized Acad. Kartaloff on this occasion. Journalist, diplomat, librettist, director, translator, pedagogue – one encyclopaedic personality, said he also about Mihail Hadzhimishev, whom he defined as real teacher in the craft.

“I am moved, because this spectacle of “Don Carlo” I produced in 1988, when I was working with Boris Christoff in Rome, founding his Academy for young opera singers, his will. I received an invitation from Svetozar Donev to make a new spectacle, with new artists. There were Stefan Elenkov, Nicola Ghiuselev, Nicolai Ghiaurov and one generation of young singers, among who Stefka Evstatieva, who is here, in the hall, Kaludi Kaludov and many, many others. In order to go forward, we with gratitude and honour address these veterans, lions and eagles of the Bulgarian opera stage”. Plamen Kartaloff added that Sofia Opera has at its disposal a third generation of talented performers of the five key roles in “Don Carlo”, who not all opera theatres could allow. The world-known bass Ferruccio Furlanetto was guest-performer on his personal invitation, in order to become part of the opening of one strong season.

The spectacle was sent off with unabated 20-minute applause. There were presented flowers and greeting addresses from the Minister of Culture Assoc. Prof. Dr. Martin Ivanov, from the Artistic Director of State Opera Varna Borislav Ivanov and from the President of the Union of Bulgarian Musicians and Dancers Prof. Dr. Petya Bagovska. In the hall were present the opera primas Raina Kabaivanska and Stefka Evstatieva, the Deputy Minister of Culture Viktor Stoyanov, the Ambassador of Argentina in Bulgaria Н.E. Mr. Guillermo Azrak, the President of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences Acad. Stefan Vodenicharov, many guests of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria, correspondents of foreign media, accredited in our country.