Wagner is only for chosen ones. Not everybody can listen to Wagner. Such words are still to be heard in Bulgaria, despite the traditions, which this music has in our country. In 2010, with the premiere of "Das Rheingold" was set the beginning of the tetralogy "Der Ring des Nibelungen", which was completed in 2013. The same year was marked the 200th Anniversary of Richard Wagner.
The idea was of the Director of the Opera Plamen Kartaloff, and the purpose was to be refuted the prejudice that Wagner’s music is only for German singers. The soloists were selected among ca. 70 candidates – only Bulgarians. For their stylistic and language training worked the world-known music pedagogue Richard Trimborn, considered to be one of the best connoisseurs of Wagner’s works in the world.
Evan-Alexis Christ is the conductor of "Das Rheingold". Just several days ago, he conducted "Elektra" by Richard Strauss. Both operas are part of the festival "Wagner-Strauss" of the Sofia Opera.
"I met the orchestra of the Sofia Opera one year ago, we were exactly in the middle of the first lock-down. We were still preparing "Elektra", its premiere is technically maybe one of the most difficult operas in the repertoire", commented before the camera of BTA Evan-Alexis Christ. He said that what he has seen in the whole team, was hunger for new material, very motivated artists, very ambitious, incredibly difficult passages and an incredible desire they to be made in the right way, a wonderful atmosphere, emotionally – in the best way.
WAGNER, MEASURE BY MEASURE ...
"Ten years ago I had to clash with Wagner. Till then I had sung only Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti, and I was a little bit stressed and scared. Initially, I even refused the invitation of Acad. Kartaloff. He told me: "Look at the notes, see the role, it is written in a very Christian way, very gaily, very teasingly.” Wagner is rather playful – like Donizetti", tells the tenor Daniel Ostretsov, who is in the role of Loge.
"I listened to a recording, I heard, I was watching and it turned out that my role was written quite nicely, very musically. And it is a very high esteem for a tenor. We began step by step, on tiptoes, to penetrate into the opera. And I liked it. Not to speak that I had the luck to work with conductors like Pavel Balev, Erich Wächter, putting on the first place Maestro Richard Trimborn, who was our vocal pedagogue and we were elaborating everything measure by measure. He was very fascinating, he explained us everything, what do these low tones want, what they mean. In general, we learnt how to walk with him in the opera. And the result was very good", continues Ostretsov.
He has worked with many conductors. With a smile he marks that his notes are like a rainbow after so many versions. "This, of course, superimposes step by step and enriches my role and Loge’s character in the staging. And I consider that we are already at a very good level", says the tenor.
He is convinced that, if a person comes to see an opera by Wagner, he must be prepared. Because this is serious music, which requires a little preparation. The libretto must be read, as well for Wagner himself. "After that the feeling will be really supreme, watching not only "Das Rheingold", but the whole "Ring", finishes Ostretsov.
TWO HOURS AND A HALF, WHICH SLIP BY ...
The soprano Mariana Zvetkova entered into the character of Fricka for the first time 11 years ago. "Then I was still a single woman and my character was not so comprehensible to me. However, one married woman is somehow different then a maid. Now I am already married and I understand Fricka quite well. For, besides goddess of the family, she is a woman of morality, of the family foundations. Yes, in some respects maybe she looks nagging, quarrelsome, a bad woman, but actually everything she makes is in the name of family, morality in the family. There is no case, in which she hasn’t said the truth, and this is not always pleasing", tells the singer.
For her "Das Rheingold" is like a fairy-tale, told for two hours and a half, which slip by. "Wagner’s music can be compared with nothing in this world. It doesn’t matter that I love very much Richard Strauss, as well as Puccini, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov. But when you listen to a recording with music by Wagner ... As Germans say, this is a superman over and above the possibilities ... To me come powers like some kind of a geyser. Everyone, who decides to give himself totally to music, will receive at the most what I am receiving", says Zvetkova.
"The singers here are just amazing and ready to perform all kind of repertoire. They can make different roles and grasp the quintessence of the work, which is a real joy for the conductor, who works with them", generalizes his impressions Evan-Alexis Christ.