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For more than two years, Mike Richter and Frank Fischer have been working to develop this comprehensive overview of Opera from Bulgaia. Thanks to The Values Foundation, Bulgarian National Radio and many other institutions and individuals, they have been able to cover far more than any previous disc. In addition to performances of many individual artists, it includes complete operas both from the standard repertoire and from Bulgarian composers; histories of the development of Bulgarian opera and of Bulgarian National Radio and Balkanton recordings; and information on the Boris Christoff International Competition and on Bulgarian composers and opera houses.
Many of the artists heard on the disc will be familiar, from sopranos such as Ghena Dimitrova, Stefka Evstatieva, Raina Kabaivanska, Anna Tomowa-Sintow, and Ljuba Welitsch; through basses including Rafael Arie, Nicolai Ghiaurov and Nicola Ghiuselev. Comparably fine voices will be heard from artists whose careers were largely confined to Bulgaria and who are therefore little known in the world at large. In addition to Un ballo in maschera and Lohengrin recordings, the disc offers three Bulgarian national operas almost certain to be new to you.

Title Composer Selected cast members
Gergana Georgi Atanassov Tinka Skolufanova, Stanka Nikolova , Sofia Bozjilova
Lud Gidiya Hadjiev Nadia Sharkova, Dimiter Tzolov, Dimiter Kozhouharov, Jordanka Dimcheva
Siromachkinya Manolov Sonia Marinova, Ivan Bechev, Nikolai Bikov
Un ballo in maschera Verdi Liliana Anastasova, Todor Kostov, Michail Zidarov, Stanka Nikolova
Lohengrin Wagner Liubomir Bodurov, Julia Wiener, Nadia Afejan, Stoyan Popov

Clips with Descriptions

Not a bit of it! Bulgaria came late to opera and many of its artists are thought of as Russian - but don't suggest that in Sofia! In fact, such basses as Boris Christoff, Nicolai Ghiaurov and Nicolai Ghiuselev came from Bulgaria. Among the women whose names are familiar to you we find Ghena Dimitrova, Stefka Evstatieva, Raina Kabaivanska, Vesselina Kasarova and Elena Nicolai. These and more than one hundred other singers are on the disc. 

There are three Bulgarian operas on the disc and both Lohengrin and Un ballo in maschera. All are sung in Bulgarian, which may seem odd until you hear the performance and the singing here. There are pages on the history of Bulgarian opera, on the Boris Christoff Young Artists Competition, on recording and broadcast, and on the principal opera companies. In short, the disc approaches a goal for the Audio Encyclopedia: a comprehensive review of the state of opera in the country. 

Like this sample page for Mariana Paunova, most pages offer a photograph, summary biography, pronunciation of the artist's name (click the name for that), and several selections.

Mariana Paunova, mezzo-soprano The mezzo, Mariana Paunova, was born near Veliko Turnovo on 13 June 1954. She began her career as a concert pianist receiving her diploma form the State Music Academy in Sofia. An additional diploma was earned at the Warsaw Academy where her teacher was Jan Ekier. She attended the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome and the Accademia Chigiana in Siena were she studied with Arturo Benedetti-Michelangelo. She won a Silver Medal at the International Piano Competition in Italy. 

After joining the piano faculty of McGill University in Canada she began vocal studies with Dina Maria Narici and obtained a Diploma in Vocal Art with Grand Distinction from L'Academie de Musique de Quebec. Many prizes were won in Canada and France. Her debut was singing Pauline in a production of Pique Dame in Charleston, South Carolina in 1977. International appearances were with the Staatsoper, Teatro San Carlos - Lisbon, Opera del Teatro Municipal - Santiago, Chile, with additional appearances in Rome, South Africa, Puerto Rico and Canada. 

Her Met. debut in the United States was on 11 April 1979 singing Olga in Eugene Onegin. She appeared again at the Met. in 1986 as Eboli. Additional appearances in the United States included San Francisco, Houston, Philadelphia, Dallas, New Orleans, Washington, DC, San Diego and Baltimore. 

She experienced a great success as a concert singer appearing with the National Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal and the Toronto Symphony. 

Major roles in her career include Dalila, Ulrica, Marina, Marfa, Erda, Laura, Amneris, Eboli, Adalgisa, Carmen, Santuzza and Fricka. 

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