Actress Ana Papadopulu: I discovered the magic of classical music

Sofia Philharmonic and conductor Maxim Eshkenazy are part of it

To me, the Fortissimo programmes are among the few truly meaningful initiatives aimed at promoting classical music among children and adults, says actress Ana Papadopulu in an interview to Europost.

Ana, tell us a bit about Fortissimo Family's educational project for adults. How long have you been a part of it?

Fortissimo Academy, for four years now, has been welcoming viewers above the age of 16 with the aim of introducing fans of classical music not only to works of a composer but the way they were created. The concert is divided into two parts - in the first one, with the help of multimedia, viewers are transported back in time to the era during which a particular composer lived and worked, while the presented music pieces are played after the intermission. The goal is to provide in-depth knowledge about the creation of a specific work.

You recently presented Gershwin's works. Are you moved by his music, and in what way? Do you have a personal or professional memory that you associate with this master in the history of American music?

The Fortissimo event was my first time gaining a true insight into his life and some of his signature works such as Rhapsody in Blue, which was performed by the brilliant pianist Lyudmil Angelov. Also on the programme were Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess, arias from which were performed by Vera Girginova and Valeri Turmanov, as well as the wonderful orchestral piece An American in Paris, performed by the Sofia Philharmonic under the conduction of Maxim Eshkenazy.

I know that you care deeply about the music projects you are a part of. Where does your passion for music come from? Perhaps you have been playing an instrument and singing since childhood?

On the contrary, the fact that I have never had the chance to experience classical music in the viewer-friendly, intriguing and captivating way that Maestro Eshkenazy and his team offer, is the reason why I can appreciate how important and valuable what they are doing is. To me, the Fortissimo programmes are among the few truly meaningful initiatives aimed at promoting classical music among children and adults. In addition to educating, they strive to make the audience return to Bulgaria Hall again and again, to help them fall in love with classical music and develop the necessary sensitivity to appreciate it. The fact that the Sofia Philharmonic is involved in the project is a big part of the magic. The orchestra is made up of exceptional musicians, absolute masters of their craft!

Tell us about your friendship with the man whose brainchild is Fortissimo - Maestro Maxim Eshkenazy. How was it born and nurtured?

We met six years ago, when I was invited to become part of the family of Fortissimo, and since then we have not stopped working together. The pleasure of eventually becoming friends is a big bonus.

The famous conductor accompanied you at last year's Askeer Awards, when you won for best actress in a supporting role. Surely he is a fan of your acting. What is the biggest compliment he has given you in that regard?

The night I got the Askeer Award for supporting role, he went around telling people that I had won for best actress in a lead role. After several attempts to correct him, he finally turned to me and said, “What do you mean 'supporting role'? In my eyes, you are always the lead! That means you won for a lead role.” I burst out laughing. And I never did manage to convince him otherwise.

Does music in general help you prepare for a role or wind down after an emotionally taxing night in the theatre, and what kind of music in particular?

It depends on a lot of things, really. There is no concrete music that I listen to all the time. I go by my mood at the moment.

You are currently rehearsing for an upcoming production of The Brothers Karamazov put up by Macedonian director Dejan Projkovski. Who do you play in it? This is not your first time appearing on stage as one of Dostoevsky's heroines. Do you feel close to this great author's characters in some way; what makes them fascinating to you?

It is the depth and complexity of his characters, the human beings' constant and eternal state of agony and search that they represent, the demons that haunted people in those days and continue to do so in the modern times, our drive to make the journey to ourselves - a drive with the destructive force of hurricanes.

Have there been any curious or entertaining moments during the show's rehearsal process so far?

New challenges constantly come up. The premiere is on 3 and 4 April on the main stage of the Ivan Vazov National Theatre. We are taking the play to my favourite city, Plovdiv, on 6 and 7 April to have its local premiere. The rest of the dates can be checked in the theatre's official calendar.

Can we expect some other new projects for theatre, cinema or TV with your participation soon?

I have a small but to me a very special part in Kamen Donev's directorial debut Cosiness (Uyut), which is now in cinemas. Next year I'll be eager to see Marius Kurkinski's new film, where I play the lead female character - his on-screen wife. Working with Marius was indeed a pleasure. And that is all, for now.

Close-up

Ana Papadopulu was born on 31 December 1978 in Sofia. In 2000 she graduated from the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts, where she studied art. Three years earlier she made her debut at the National Theatre in the role of Anna in Maxim Gorky's play The Lower Depths. Following her graduation, Ana was invited to permanently join the theatre's cast, and she is still a member of it. She has appeared in numerous films and TV series, including Letter to America, The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner, Mission London, Fourth Estate, Stolen Life, etc.

She is a favourite not only of theatre-goers and cinema fans but also music-lovers. On 24 March the charismatic actress once again served as an invaluable guide into the world of music for the audience in Bulgaria Hall, taking it to a journey into the world of the great American composer George Gershwin. The concert was part of the educational project Fortissimo Academy.

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