One great tenor at the age of 70
23 Apr 2021Sofia Opera and Ballet

One great tenor at the age of 70

One great tenor at the age of 70

The Sofia Opera will mark the anniversary of Rumen Doykov with a concert and presentation of his CD

On 7 May at 19 h, five tenors from the Sofia Opera will sing in honour of Rumen Doykov. Daniel Damyanov, Daniel Ostretsov, Kostadin Andreev, Martin Iliev and Hrisimir Damyanov will perform the best-known arias for tenor and there will be presented a CD with Italian canzonettas, recorded under the baton of Boris Hinchev.

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Not far was the time, when Rumen Doykov was a main personage on the stage of the Sofia Opera. Years in a row the tenor was maintaining the lyric and drama repertoire and sang more than 50 parts, among which Radamès, Pollione, Manrico, Calaf, Cavaradossi, Edgardo, Don Alvaro, the Count, Alfredo, Enzo Grimaldi, Don José.

*** “The tenor Rumen Doykov – what a voice?! A miracle of human nature – stability of vocal, beauty and richness of timbre, magnetism, which makes you hold your breath from the first to the last moment of his appearance on the stage…”
                          Wim Stoppelenburg, Meppeler Courant, 16.10.1995

Rumen Doykov has always had exceptionally high requirements towards himself. His motivation was enviable, and the singing capacity – unlimited. Each time he appeared on the stage as if for the last time – he was giving the audience his best, as if this was the last spectacle, which he would sing. And this way ... till the next time, when he appeared so inspired too.

*** “Some superb singers … like the Bulgarian tenor Rumen Doykov can really amaze you with their voice, allowing you to be entranced by every note”.
                          Jonas Kover, Utica Dispatch Observer, 03.02. 2002

For the first time I watched Rumen Doykov in “Adriana Lecouvreur” in 1988. At the premiere in the lead roles were Raina Kabaivanska and Alexandrina Miltcheva, but I remember Rumen as the Count of Saxony Maurizio even to this day. After that, years in a row, he was singing a lot under the baton of Ruslan Raichev. The spectacles were a feast!

The '90s of the past century were as if the strongest in his career. He had debuted as Radamès in Belgrade and this role turned out to be very important for his career – it led him on many stages all around the world and the reviews by the critics were always enthusiastic. Rumen sang “Aida” 232 times, and in 1995 he reached a peculiar record – he sang 43 spectacles for 46 days – an achievement, unsurpassed up to this day. In 1995, he took part in mega spectacles of “Aida” in the open air in São Paulo, Brazil, under the directing of Plamen Kartaloff, and later – in the grandiose “Aida” on the square in Sofia.

*** “The tenor Rumen Doykov (…) seems like enjoying the part and is happy with the lucky fate, which made him a tenor. He is a firm, solid like a rock singer and his stage individuality is a boy-like and ardent … Doykov is brilliant in the high tones and transfers everything sincerely and confidently.”
                                          Richard Dyer, Boston Globe, January 2001

Always, when Rumen Doykov was singing, the audience expected his appearance, his wonderful heights, his mastery. And it was never disappointed. Rumen was an iron post in every spectacle, nothing could disturb him or at least it seemed so from the hall. It was clear that after Rumen had sung, the spectacle would be more than successful. He is one of those singers, who have a very strong inner feeling of how to sing and act one role and always leave their own personal mark in the different productions.   

*** “The role of Prince Calaf was performed by the magnificent tenor Rumen Doykov. This is a tenor, consistent in the powerful vocal tradition of Mario del Monaco. Such a voice has rarely sounded in the last years on the American opera stages.”
                                              Peter Win, Scranton Times, 01.02.2002

Now, when the Sofia Opera will mark the 70th anniversary of its favourite tenor, I have read Rumen Doykov’s biography in detail. I knew that he had sung a lot, but I didn’t know that he had sung more than 1500 spectacles. He was partner of stars like Fiorenza Cossotto, Irina Arkhipova, Mara Zampieri, Rosalind Plowright, Radmila Bakočević, Milka Stojanović, Raina Kabaivanska, Nicola Ghiuselev, Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Ghena Dimitrova. And he has worked with conductors like Antonio Guadagno, Maurizio Arena, Peter Tiboris, Jonathan Nott, Assen Naydenov, Ruslan Raichev, Boris Hinchev, Ivan Marinov, etc.

*** “Rumen Doykov (Calaf)… was at his height, acting with attitude and conviction and singing with energy, wideness of the phrase and passion. He finished “Nessun dorma” with an impetuous vocal scope and widely open arms and the audience got crazy.”
                                               Richard Dyer, Globe Stuff, 22.03.2002

Rumen has a legendary sense of humour, sometimes reaching sarcasm. He knows how to tell stories, he has a startlingly exact judgment about people and he has never behaved like a big star, which he actually was.

Happy birthday, Rumen Doykov, God bless you!

Rumen Doykov – 9 questions and 9 answers

*** What was making you happy at most during your long career?
The love of the audience and the envy of my colleagues.

*** Is there something, for which you were sorry during the active years on the stage?
I’m sorry that I wasn’t born in Italy and that Bulgarians prevented me from developing myself there.

*** Which is the role of your life?
Of Casanova.

*** What was the formula of your success – in Bulgaria and abroad?
Conviction in what I was doing. And the fact that I was learning from the great masters of bel canto – Caruso, Gigli, Del Monaco, Corelli...

*** Which qualities of yours made you the singer, whom the audience loved so much?
Tenacity, obstinacy and “I know” equal to “I can”. Eternal argument with stage directors and conductors and no compromises.

*** How were you coping with the pressure – psychic and physical, which generates your profession?
The pressure was really cosmic. I managed to overcome the gravity thanks to my vocal intuition.

*** Why don’t you teach?
To teach whom?... My students cannot answer my high requirements and run away in panic.

*** A tenor – is this a diagnose?
No. Aerobatics on the edge of a catastrophe.

*** If now you have to go back on the stage, which role would you choose?
I would go back to my debut role from the opera “Les Contes d’Hoffmann”, so that I could look at life with Hoffmann’s rose glasses.

Bronislava Ignatova