13 Apr 2024Sofia Opera and Ballet


Dear friends,

We are delighted to share with you our memories of the triumphant success of last year's SOFIA OPERA WAGNER FESTIVAL, in which a new production of Richard Wagner's “Der Ring des Nibelungen” was the central focus.

An exciting atmosphere filled the Sofia Opera, and the four opening nights in July 2023 passed under the euphoric cheers of the audience.

We had guests from Germany, Great Britain, Norway, France, Australia, Spain who were excited to see “Das Rheingold”, “Die Walküre”, “Siegfried” and “Götterdämmerung”.

Internationally acclaimed music critics and journalists published their reviews, in which they did not hide their delight with the new "Ring" of the Sofia Opera. They noted the excellent Bulgarian voices, did not spare their superlatives for the orchestra and conductor Konstantin Trinks and expressed their great admiration to the director Plamen Kartaloff for the overall vision and concept.

Here's what they shared:

Andrea Merli, Italy

"I leave Sofia with a full heart and great satisfaction that the whole production has been made to be understood by the general audience and not only by intellectuals and musicians or critics."

Gregor Tassie, Musicweb International

"I've seen “Götterdämmerung” many times in different theatres in Europe, but yours is the best – with the best singers, the best orchestra and the best staging."

Tony Cooper, The Opera Critic

"Really fantastic!"

Kartalpff's productions stay as close as possible to the composer's strict guidelines within the Gesamtkunstwerk /"complete work of art"/ framework, in which plastic art, design and the creative process combine into a cohesive whole. A successful venture that offers a wonderful and complete Wagnerian experience!"

Among the guests was the distinguished Wagnerian bass Falk Struckmann, Kammersäner of the Vienna Opera. He said that what he sees and hears inspires him immensely and the performers are world class.

And Karl Rußwurm of the Wagner Society in Munich noted:

"I am amazed at the level of the singers and the orchestra! I have seen “Der Ring des Nibelungen” almost all over the world and I am especially happy that Plamen Kartaloff has achieved such an outstanding result!"

“Tristan und Isolde”, “Parsifal” and “Der fliegende Holländer” were also performed during the festival. The Sofia Opera thus joined the world's greatest theatres in celebrating 210 years since Richard Wagner's birth.

This year the Wagner Festival of the Sofia Opera opens on 13 June with the premiere of the opera “Lohengrin” conducted by Konstantin Trinks and directed by Plamen Kartaloff. It has been staged only twice on our stage – in 1934 and 1969.

“Lohengrin” is an opera of light. Lohengrin is the sun. Swans and knights are the carriers of positive, pure energy.

We will try to make a romantic spectacle, understandable for the audience, and thus work with the senses and the energies of the relationships of the main characters" – this is what director Plamen Kartaloff said at the very first meeting with the artists in the production.

“Der Ring des Nibelungen” will be performed again in its entirety on 15, 16, 18 and 20 June. This year the four performances will feature the great stars of the Sofia Opera – Martin Iliev, Tsvetana Bandalovska, Kostadin Andreev, Gergana Rusekova, Veselin Mihaylov, Mariana Zvetkova. Our guests will be the remarkable baritone Plamen Dimitrov, the delightful Iordanka Derilova and the great Greek baritone Aris Argiris.

We are proud to share that after Sofia Opera's first guest-performance in Germany with “Der Ring des Nibelungen” in 2015, the National Theatre of Bulgaria presented again “Die Walküre” to an international audience on the stage of the Neuschwanstein Festival Theatre in Füssen in October 2023.

Evan-Alexis Christ, known to the Bulgarian audience, will conduct the entire cycle for the first time.

The festival will conclude on 23 June with another performance of “Lohengrin”, again conducted by Evan-Alexis Christ.

We look forward to seeing you again this year to share the fantastic music of Richard Wagner and to be together on the six festival nights of the SOFIA OPERA WAGNER FESTIVAL.