For the first time in Bulgaria the opera "Medea" by Luigi Cherubini at the Sofia Opera on 23, 24 and 25 February
08 Jan 2024Sofia Opera and Ballet

For the first time in Bulgaria the opera "Medea" by Luigi Cherubini at the Sofia Opera on 23, 24 and 25 February

This is the third opera premiere this season after Händel's "Amadigi di Gaula" and Puccini's "Madama Butterfly".

The production is being prepared by an elite Italian team:
Conductor Francesco Rosa,

Directed by Marco Gandini,

Set designer Andrea Tocchio,

Costumes Mario Dice.

Already at the end of last season, the first meeting of the production team with the soloists took place. In the autumn, the costume and set designers arrived at the National Opera studios to begin preparations for this large-scale production, which enriches our repertoire with one of the most challenging operatic titles.

Production team
Maestro Francesco Rosa has long worked with the National Opera, conducting some of the most attractive titles in our repertoire – Delibes' "Lakmé", Rossini's "La Done del Lago" and "Il Barbiere di Siviglia". Director Marco Gandini is one of the new generation of talented Italian directors. He has been assistant to Franco Zeffirelli and Graham Vick, and his recent engagements have been for some of the most prestigious venues – the Scala di Milano, Hamburg, Caracas, Spoleto Festival, etc.

Set designer Andrea Tocchio's most recent engagements are for the Rome production of Ullmann's "Der Kaiser von Atlantis" and Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro" for the Estonian Opera.

Fashion designer Mario Dice prepares the costumes for this impressive production. The Sofia Opera's ateliers are making the clothes for the chorus, and the soloists will receive their garments directly from the designer's ateliers in Italy.

The singers
The role of Medea is a dream for every soprano, which was shared by the three soloists of the opera who prepare the part – Gabriela Georgieva, Lilia Kehayova and Diana Lamar. Jason, the unfaithful lover of the sorceress, will be portrayed by Daniel Ostretsov and Daniel Damyanov, while Petar Naydenov and Stefan Dimitrov will take on the role of Créon, the King of Corinth. One of the important characters in the operatic intrigue is Néris, the faithful companion of Medea, who will be portrayed by Violeta Radomirska and Tsveta Sarambelieva. The role of the tender Glauce, who must marry Jason but falls victim to Medea's revenge, is entrusted to Stanislava Momekova and Diana Vassileva.

The story of Medea
The story of the mythical sorceress Medea set to music by Luigi Cherubini is based on the libretto by François-Benoît Hoffmann, based on Euripides' tragedy "Medea", as well as the play of the same name by Pierre Corneille.

The play is set in the ancient city of Corinth, years after Medea has helped Jason take the Golden Fleece. The tragic denouement of their story will happen right in this stage work. After Jason refuses to return to Medea, even after threatening to kill their children, she sends poisonous gifts to his new wife Glauce, stabs their two sons with a knife, curses Jason, sets fire to the temple, and flies away amid the flames.

"Medea" premiered on 13 March 1797 in Paris and was not favourably received. Interest in the work was revived in the 20th century, especially after the interpretations of Maria Callas.

Luigi Cherubini created stunningly beautiful arias and duets for the main characters, as well as spectacular choral scenes that add to the operatic intrigue.

Although the opera will have its premiere in Bulgaria only this year, many Bulgarians have participated in various productions around the world over the years. First of all, these are our famous basses – Boris Christoff, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Nicola Ghiuzelev and Dimitar Petkov, whose interpretations of Créon's character are among the most recognized operatic examples. The mezzo-soprano Margarita Lilova is a magnificent performer of Néris, and in recent years Sonya Yoncheva has added the role of Medea to her rich artistic biography. She has received the most flattering reviews for her performances.