Toward the unraveling of a self-naming, part 1


Assoc. Assoc. Dr. Miliu Petrov

In 2023, 170 years have passed since the birth of Konstantin Mihailov – Stoyan. We have publications by him and about him /including reviews in periodicals at home and abroad/. But he remains in many ways a mystery. The explanation for adding the name “Stoyan” to his surname is short, general, insufficient.
Who is he? Why does he add to his own names “Stoyan” – and this application remains unchanged until his death?
1. The three names are indicated: Konstantin Ivanovich Mihailov /1853 – 1914/. We learn that he was born in the village of Golyam Buyalak, Bessarabia. His parents were immigrants from the village of Golyam Boyalak /Golyamo Sharkovo/, Elhovsko/ today the village belongs to Bolyarovska municipality /, Yambolska region. This happened after the war in 1828-1829. Once /and still today/ the two villages – Malak Boyalak /Malko Sharkovo/ and Golyam Boyalak / Golyamo Sharkovo/ were known as “Boyalets”.
Konstantin Mihailov studied in his native village and in Odessa. Participates in amateur performances. He was a soloist in the university church and in the bishop’s choir. He stands out for his great musical talent. He becomes a junior high school teacher. Then he studied at the Petersburg Conservatory. Appearing on various operatic stages, he grew into a prominent singer. He was a lyrical-dramatic tenor. He sang at the Bolshoi Theater as well as with Fyodor Chaliapin (He was delighted with his voice and stage acting).
In 1899, he made his first trip to Bulgaria with the aim of creating an opera there. He gives concerts in Varna, Vidin, Lom, Ruse. But he was a guest soloist in Helsinki, Vilnius, etc. cities.
In 1907, he came to Bulgaria for the second time. Settles in Sofia..
On February 13, 1908, in Ruse, Konstantin Mihailov-Stoyan married the pianist Vera Karamihailova. This is how the first concert couple appeared in our country. In addition to famous operas, the two also perform their own works/1/.
In this case, it should be specially emphasized: Konstantin Mihailov – Stoyan listened to folk songs from the Golyamo Sharkovo area /Bulgaria/ from his grandmother. The grandmother was known as “the singing voice”. A. Andreev writes: “He loves his grandmother and does not separate from her. She sings him sad songs about suffering Bulgaria. These songs remain forever in the mind of Mihailov-Stoyan and sound like a distant echo from the native Strandzha mountain”. A wonderful performer of Bulgarian folk songs, he Konstantin Mihailov – Stoyan had a recording in 1911. of “Indje’s song” – “The forest has cried”/2/.
Later, Konstantin Mihailov-Stoyan and his wife “collect Bulgarian folk songs, which Vera harmonized and are part of their concert program” /3/.
Some of the folk songs “were released under the direction of Andrey Stoyanov from the music house “H. Madzharova”/Sofia/, as a series “From the repertoire of Mihailov-Stoyan”/4/.
He is among the founders of the so-called “Bulgarian Opera Friendship”. Until the end of his life, he was a singer and director in it. He skilfully led the activities of the nascent Bulgarian Opera Theater.
A number of his journalistic studies and about 20 promotional articles are also indicated. Konstantin Mihailov – Stoyan defends above-party positions / His works are collected in the Music Department of the National Library “St. St. Cyril and Methodius”/.
They call it: “singing phenomenon” or “the K. Mihailov-Stoyan phenomenon”. His presence in our cultural life is “authoritative”. One of the semi-builders of the Bulgarian Opera Theater. European opera singer. An amazing performer of folk songs. When he sings them, he “comes into wonderful rapture and ecstasy. He can sing to oblivion”/5/.
In 1926, Ivan Kamburov wrote about him: “One of the brightest, purest and most radiant images that has enlivened our opera scene with his creativity since the first days of its existence.” “Great stage and voice talent”; “unsurpassed in his art of reincarnating himself in the roles” /6/.
His activity is “extremely diverse”. His contribution “both in music and in the world of literature”/7/ is remarkable.
2. He calls himself: “Konstantin Mihailov – Stoyan”. One protocol is signed: “K. Mihailov – Stoyan”. Relatives and friends name him or write: “K. Mihailov-Stoyan”; “Mikhailov – Stoyan”; “M. S.”; “M. Standing”/8/.
Some make mistakes, calling him “Mikhail Stoyanov” /9/. There are also people who, in conversations, associate his name with that of the writer Stoyan Mihailovski.
The explanation of the self-naming is: “To emphasize his Bulgarian origin, he adds the name “Stoyan” to his surname, atypical for Russia and other Slavic countries” /10/.
More than once, in my publications about the life, exploits and heroic death of Stoyan-Indze Voivode, I examine the name “Stoyan” and its modifications in folklore. Desirably, it is associated with “standing”, “duration”, “sustainability”. This widespread folk name has a collective, generalizing, typical/non-individualized/ sense. It characterizes the Bulgarian in general. And Konstantin Mihailov-Stoyan has reason to use it in such a context.

continues in the next issue


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