Ramona Tullumani: I sang at Mother Teresa's canonization and she blessed me
14 Sep 2016Sofia Opera and Ballet

Ramona Tullumani: I sang at Mother Teresa's canonization and she blessed me

I am Violetta, who comes from Albania, but I never forget my Bulgarian roots.

The soprano Ramona Tullumani from Albania loves to sing at the Sofia Opera because she appreciates the people and the work in our first opera theatre and has Bulgarian roots. Her great-grandfather Georgi Lilov was an engineer and helped architect Lazar Parashkevanov with the construction of the Sofia Opera House. In 1963. Nikoleta Lilova, daughter of Georgi Lilov, Ramona's grandmother, married the Albanian Ramiz Kovaçi. At that time Mr. Kovaçi studied opera singing with prof. Hristo Brambarov. After completing his studies, he left with his wife for Tirana, Albania.

Ramiz Kovaçi is the most famous baritone in Albania. He has been awarded the title of People's Artist. He has won many awards. Ramona Tullumani comes from a family of artists, which means, as she claims, that her destiny was destined to be connected with art. "My first idol was my grandfather, Ramiz Kovaçi, and then my father, Edmond Tullumani, who taught me how to work."

Ramona Tullumani was born in Tirana, Albania, on 5 July 1985. She started playing the piano as a child and won some awards. She then studied singing at the High School of Arts, graduating only with a singing diploma. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Tirana. During her first year at the Academy, she was in the master class of the famous soprano Katia Ricciarelli. She also took part in several other masterclasses of Katia in Rome as well as in other cities of Italy.

After the Academy, Ramona competed for participation in the master class of the great soprano Raina Kabaivanska in Sofia. Ramona was one of the ten singers she selected from one hundred. After completing her studies with the opera diva, she dedicated herself to the opera stage.

Ramona has appeared successfully on the stage of the Tirana National Opera and Ballet in operas such as Verdi's "Rigoletto" and "La traviata". These two works accompanied the young singer to Italy, where she was directed by Katia Ricciarelli. The Albanian has also performed with success in the operas "La bohème", "L'elisir d'amore", "Le Villi", etc. But the opera she sang the most times and continues to perform is "La traviata". She performs the title role of Violetta. The conductors with whom she collaborates are Daniele Agiman, Vito Clemente, Leonardo Quadrini, Vittorio Parisi, Giancarlo De Lorenzo, etc.

It was a great emotion when she sang at the Vatican in 2013 on the occasion of Pope Francis' birthday.

Ramona was the first Albanian soprano from Mother Teresa's country to be invited to such a big event. In one of RAI 3's reports, Ramona was featured as "the most beautiful voice at this event".

She has sung in many countries, in Paris, Athens, at the Ohrid Summer Festival in Macedonia, at the United Nations in Geneva, etc. Every year Tullumani participates in the concert "The Three Tenors" in Tirana as a special guest.

She teaches at the Albanian Academy of Arts.

She has been a "Peace Ambassador" since 2007 and received an autograph from Ban Ki Moon in 2007.

In the spring of 2016, the Italian press praised the Albanian soprano Gilda's superb performance in the opera "Rigoletto", at the theatre of Lecce.

"After the premiere, the singer said, there were cheers from the audience, 'Convincing and attractive. Superb Gilda!"

Tullumani is appreciated for her perfect technique, for her variations of beautiful and memorable arias.

Music critic Ilaria Stefanelli wrote: "Well done, Ramona, your voice is flying high, floating on the clouds, excellent, excellent!"

Of Italian audiences Tullumani said:

"I know this demanding audience well. It is very precise and critical.

When it is pleased, it cannot contain herself and always reacts."

Another great joy for me was the invitation I received from the Vatican to sing at the concerts organized by the Holy See on the occasion of Mother Teresa's canonization. I am very proud that Mother Teresa is Albanian. She already belongs to the whole world. Let us all pray to this woman because she brings only goodness.

I sang in the Cathedral of Santa Maria degli Angeli in the Vatican, I sang Albanian and Italian songs. Mother Teresa has long been a saint to me. I felt very happy, I felt that I was standing before her and she was blessing me.

I experienced the same at the Sofia Opera when I sang the role of Violetta from "La traviata" last season. It seemed to me that my great-grandfather, engineer Georgi Lilov, who built the opera, was standing somewhere in the dark and was happy that I was singing on that stage. I was so pleased by the long applause, tears, flowers, and then the warm greetings from various people from the Bulgarian audience.

"La Traviata" is a volcano of feelings, everything in the libretto appeals to me. The tragic fate of Violetta, the wonderful sounds of Verdi move me from my fingertips to the top of my head. I recreate this role with a lot of love because I have a great connection with the Bulgarian audience. I am rewarded by it and our feelings are mutual.

When I was a girl, I read Dumas' novel "The Lady with the Camellias". Violetta tries to live in high society, which is a bubble, but it is hypocritical to her and does not accept her. Even though her passion and love for Alfred ends with her death, no one sympathizes with her.  When I sing this role, I always find something new in her that I haven't shown before.

It's always a first time for me.

In life, I know I'm not Violetta. I am a strong person, I have my feet firmly on the ground and I will always fight for my love.

I appreciate Academician Plamen Kartaloff's invitation to be a guest in the new season of Verdi's "La traviata". The Sofia Opera has a wonderful staff, highly qualified personnel, true professionals with clear visions of the place and role of opera in our modern life. This is an invitation that will remain unforgettable for me and my family.

I love Sofia very much and I feel well here. I enjoy walking the streets and parks of the city. They remind me of my childhood, the Bulgarian fairy tales, the little songs that my mother and grandmother secretly sang to me with great love.

My great-grandfather Georgi Lilov had bequeathed to his daughter, my grandmother, a precious gift from architect Lazar Parashkevanov – "The History of European Opera". It is a very precious memory for me and is now kept in our house in Tirana.

Lazar Parashkevanov and my great-grandfather worked with much love on the construction.

They felt privileged and it was a great reward for them.

I am a Violetta, coming from Albania, but I never forget my Bulgarian roots.  I sing with great love for Bulgaria. The way only Albanian women can do. Mother Teresa is Albanian, and she made through her life a wonderful characteristic of Albanian women. In her lifetime she said inspired words that are for me a landmark for every day. They are sacred:

 "Half of human beauty is the word. Speak sweetly, it costs you nothing!"