Queen of Verdi conquers Sofia Opera

Photo: Sofia Opera and Ballet Maria Guleghina on stage.

I have sung at almost all of the big opera theatres around the world. Now I come to Sofia Opera to pay my tribute to the memory of Bulgaria's greatest voices - Gena Dimitrova and Nicolai Ghiaurov, with whom I not only worked together, made friends, but whom I feel as my parents. Every theatre is a temple and now I bow to the glory of the Bulgarian singers, said opera diva Maria Guleghina upon arrival in Sofia where she was to sing in Parsifal by Richard Wagner staged by maestro Plamen Kartaloff and performed on 30 January and 1 February.

Maria Guleghina is often called “the Queen of Verdi” for her triumphant participation in the project of the same name and for her excellent impersonations of all the greatest characters of the Italian composer at the most prestigious global musical venues. She is the only Russian singer who appeared in over 160 performances of Metropolitan Opera and starred in 17 operas staged in La Scala. “Before coming to Sofia to take part in Parsifal I saw the production of maestro Kartaloff. I liked it very much and this is the reason why I accepted the invitation,” Maria Guleghina said before journalists. “The most important thing in this production is to convey the idea of the composer. Wagner calls for high-level spirituality,” she added.

“Kartaloff has visualised Wagner's music in a brilliant way. All those big intervals in the vocal parts are very difficult for singing. There are also acrobatic challenges which I have to perform on stage. To sing Wagner you have to boast a very strong vocal apparatus. I think of Wagner's music as of something like entering a typhoon where I start to surf,” Guleghina explained.

Parsifal, staged by maestro Kartaloff, which lasts for three and a half hours, encodes elements of esoterica and metaphysics, it is a kind of spiritual liberation. Spiritual brotherhood - this is the image of Parsifal. The performance is a feast of senses, because opera is to be seen, heard and even read, thanks to the subtitles. The composer called his work a “gala mythical mystery”. But it is also a show and heartfelt art.

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