With a glamorous and emotional concert at the “Boris Hristov” House of Culture last evening, Opera Plovdiv officially kicked off the celebrations marking its 70th anniversary. On the same date – November 15, 1953, the first opera performance took place in Plovdiv – “The Bartered Bride” by B. Smetana.
Numerous guests from Plovdiv, the country and abroad were present in the crowded hall and in a festive mood, among them the Minister of Culture Krastyu Krastev, Deputy Minister Amelia Gesheva, the mayor of the city Kostadin Dimitrov, the regional governor Dr. Eng. Iliya Zyumbilev, His Eminence the Znepolski Bishop Arseniy, representatives of the people, Ilin Dimitrov – secretary of the president for education, culture and tourism, deputy mayors Plamen Panov and Zhenya Petkova, Prof. Dr. Toni Shekerdzhieva – Novak, rector of AMTII, Kiril Velchev – executive director of the foundation “Plovdiv 2019”, representatives of business, cultural circles, friends, partners, like-minded people.
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the creation of one of the most remarkable cultural institutions in Bulgaria – Opera Plovdiv, the Mayor Kostadin Dimitrov presented the Director Assoc. Dr. Nina Naydenova with an honorary plaque of the Municipality of Plovdiv and a congratulatory address.
The Gala concert featured artists with remarkable careers connected to the history of the Opera House and the city in different periods – Alexandrina Pendachanska, Mariana Pencheva, Kiril Manolov and Ivan Momirov, as well as three generations of current soloists of the theater – Tanya Ivanova, Elena Chavdarova – Isa, Vera Girginova, Evgenia Ralcheva, Mariyana Panova, Maria Anastasova, Alexander Nosikov, Georgi Sultanov, Evgeny Arabadzhiev, Mark Fowler, Momchil Karaivanov, Mikhail Puliyev, Svilen Nikolov, as well as the Orchestra and Chorus of the Opera, under the baton of Dian Chobanov, Luciano Di Martino and Grigor Palikarov. Lily Barzeva was the presenter.
The evening began with archival black and white footage from the first performance in 1953. – Bartered Bride, after which the audience saw part of the opera performed live on stage. The first part of the program was dedicated to Bulgarian art with works by the composers P. Hadzhiev, L. Pipkov, D. Nenov and V. Stoyanov, the second part included arias, duets and ensembles from operas by B. Smetana, J. Verdi, J. Puccini and A. Ponchielli.
A special invitation to the gala concert was given to over 200 artists and employees who have dedicated a significant part of their lives to the Opera Theater in Plovdiv, among them those who have worked at the Opera since its inception. A special surprise of the evening was the appearance on the stage of the legendary tenor Avram Andreev, who played over 60 leading roles for 43 years. Avram Andreev has been associated with the Plovdiv Opera since 1954. / then Plovdiv National Opera/, only 10 months after its creation and, winning a competition, before he had graduated from the Conservatory.
Next to him was his son Andrey Andreev, whose life is also deeply connected with Opera Plovdiv. Andrey Andreev is a musicologist, pedagogue and public figure. He was the director of the Plovdiv Philharmonic, the Opera-Philharmonic Society and the Secondary Music School in Plovdiv, a teacher at the Bulgarian State Conservatory in Sofia, the Academy of Music and Dance, Plovdiv University “Paisiy Hilendarski” and the Secondary Music School in Plovdiv. 95-year-old Avram Andreev gave a heartfelt greeting and warm words of gratitude to the audience.
At the finale, the children from the “Mrs. Opera Academy” presented flowers to the doyennes – 40 people who have worked in the ballet, orchestra, choir, and technical services for nearly 40 years. For its 70th anniversary, the State Opera – Plovdiv received dozens of congratulatory addresses and baskets of flowers from all over Bulgaria.
The celebration of the 70th anniversary is also supported by a number of cultural institutions and sites in Plovdiv – Big Basilica, Small Basilica, Roman Stadium, Balabanova House, Gallery 2019, Kapana Gallery, Natural History Museum, Archaeological Museum, History Museum, Ethnographic Museum and Ivan Vazov National Library “. In them, at certain times, musical performances from the Opera’s archive fund will sound, and it will be artistically marked by visual materials with the slogan “The Opera is Here” for a month. The initiative is carried out with the courtesy of the Culture Department of the Plovdiv Municipality and the OI “Ancient Plovdiv”.
Celebration projects related to the round anniversary will continue throughout the creative season, culminating in the month of May 2024.