Academician Professor Plamen Kartaloff
Stage director, opera manager and pedagogue
Bulgarian State Conservatory, today “Pancho Vladigerov” National Academy of Music
Specialization in opera directing in Berlin
Film directing at the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts, Sofia
Activities as Stage director and Manager
1972-76 – he founded, managed and staged operas in the unique formation “Youth Chamber Opera”
1976-82 – founded, managed and staged at Chamber Opera – Blagoevgrad, (first and only in Bulgaria – till now, theatre of this kind). An institution, which is functioning even to this day
1982-86 – Director and stage director of the Ruse Opera Theatre, one of the most prestigious in Bulgaria
1988-1990 – founder, together with the great Bulgarian bass Boris Christoff, of Academy for Vocal Art in Rome, where he was teaching dramatic art to post-graduate students – opera singers
1990-1994 – Director of the “Stefan Makedonski” State Music Theatre, Sofia
1994-2000 and from 2008 to this day – Director and stage director of the National Opera and Ballet – Sofia
He has staged over 180 productions – since the beginning of the 70s, when started his activity as opera stage director.
Operas from different ages of the development of the genre – baroque, classicism, romantic to the modern art. Chamber and big opuses, buffo and serial operas.
Characteristic is also his interest to rarely produced or unknown/forgotten operas like “Die Pilgrime von Mekka” – Gluck, “Lakmé” – Delibes, “Feodora” – Giordano, “La gazza ladra” – Rossini, “Don Quichotte” – Massenet, “Mavra”, “Renard”, “Rake’s Progress” – Stravinsky, “Zar und Zimmermann” – Lortzing, “Il Guarany”, “Fosca” and “Maria Tudor” – by the Brazilian composer Gomes, the musical “Fiddler on the Roof” – Stein and others.
Together with the classical opera repertoire he has a special affinity to the Russian and Bulgarian opera work – Mussorgsky, Borodin, Vladigerov, Pipkov, Goleminov and others.
He has participated with his productions at prestigious festivals – national and European.
In the enormous artistic production of Acad. Kartaloff there are many Bulgarian premieres of Baroque works – by Monteverdi, Purcell, Galuppi, from the classicism – by Gluck, Haydn, from the 19th century – by Rossini, Donizetti, Puccini, from the 20th century – Stravinsky, Kholminov and others.
A unique fact in the newest history of the music and stage art in Bulgaria is his remarkable realization of Wagner’s most innovative works of largest scale – “Der Ring des Nibelungen” (2010-13), “Tristan und Isolde” (2015) and “Parsifal” (2017), presented with only Bulgarian opera singers for the first time in Bulgaria and on the Balkans!
In 2012 “Siegfried” from Wagner’s tetralogy was performed with success at the Third International Christmas Opera Forum in Minsk, Belarus.
Since 2014, at the end of each opera season the National Opera was presenting the cycle “Der Ring des Nibelungen” and Sofia has turned into a preferred destination – Wagner Festival, for the admirers of Wagner’s work of art from dozens of countries from all over the world.
Since 1994 Kartaloff teaches Acting mastery at the National Academy of Music, succeeding in this discipline some of the most eminent Bulgarian stage directors and pedagogues.
He created an individual methodology for his work with the young singers and has realized a series of productions at the Training Opera Theatre of the Academy. Many students, who have passed through Plamen Kartaloff’s school today are outstanding opera singers – in Bulgaria and abroad.
In 2009 he organized a unique international co-production of the opera “La vera Constanza” by Haydn – with Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Germany and the Sofia Opera, in which took part students from the National Academy of Music.
Musically educative activity
Since 2014 in the repertoire of the National Opera are included “CONCERTS FOR BABIES”, an idea of the director Kartaloff – a wonderful form for integration of the youngest ones and their parents to the operatic art. A model, after which other Bulgarian opera theatres started with their educative activity too.
He created and realized also the musically educative programme “Opera for Children” – with operas for children and adaptations of big opera titles, which invariably provoke enormous interest among the youngest audience.
IDEAS FOR POPULARISATION OF THE ART OF THE OPERA
In the 80s of the 20th century, in the old capital Veliko Tarnovo for the first time in Bulgaria he founded the “Stage of the Ages” Summer Opera Festival. Here on the Tsarevets Hill, in the open air, he realized a series of super productions, with some pauses, till 2015 – his attractive super productions of classical opera opuses like “Prince Igor” – Borodin, “Don Carlo”, “Attila”– Verdi and many others also by Bulgarian composers – “Tsar Kaloyan” – Vladigerov, “Ivaylo” – Goleminov and others.
He is creator of “Opera in the Park” and “Opera in the Square” – opera festivals in the capital Sofia with his mega productions of operas like “Aida”, “Tsar Kaloyan”, “Prince Igor” and others.
In 2014 in the square in front of the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was performed his grandiose production of “Boris Godunov”, and in Summer 2016 – “Nabucco”.
In 2016 to his idea was opened a summer festival in Belogradchik – “Opera of the Peaks – Belogradchik Rocks” (among the natural sets of the fortress).
In 2017 he founded the “Fortress of the Ages” Summer Festival – in the Baba Vida’s Fortress in the town Vidin, which lays along the Danube River – with operas, ballets and spectacles for children. In the festival’s programme was also Puccini’s one-act opera „Il tabarro”, which Kartaloff staged in the original place of action – a barge, laid alongside of the Danube.
Kartaloff was guest-performer at opera theatres and on stages on the five continents – in Europe, America (the USA and Brazil), Japan, Australia and in Egypt – Cairo.
He was invited many times in all Bulgarian opera theatres and at prestigious festivals.
In 2015 the Sofia Opera presented “Der Ring des Nibelungen” at the Festival Theatre in Füssen, Bavaria, not far from Ludwig II’s Neuschwanstein Castle. The German music critique estimated very highly and enthusiastically Kartaloff’s productions, respectively – the Bulgarian interpretation of the four operas.
From 2000 to 2015 the National Opera had guest-performances in Japan – Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and other cities with “Turandot”, “La Gioconda”, “Don Carlo”, “Rigoletto”, “Un ballo in maschera”, “Prince Igor”, “Tosca”, “Cavalleria rusticana”, “Gianni Schicchi” and other productions by Plamen Kartaloff, estimated by the Japanese critique and audience as some of the brightest guest-performing casts and productions.
In October 2018 again upcoming is a guest-performance of the theatre with “Turandot” and “Carmen” for the seventh time in Japan and for the first time in China.
Many times, he was invited in the jury of renowned international competitions for young opera singers.
He took part in European conferences with reports on artistic, organizational and management issues of the opera theatre.
He is author of the book “Yana’s 9 Brothers by Lyubomir Pipkov – Director’s Projections” – a large scale development of a marking work in the Bulgarian operatic art, which he produced at the Ruse Opera in 1984 and once again with premiere on 22 March 2018 at the National Opera.
AWARDS AND TITLES
“Paisiy Hilendarski” State Award for his exceptional contribution for the development of the national cultural identity and spiritual values; Cyril and Methodius State Order, First class; the highest governmental order of Brazil – the South Cross Order; “Crystal Lyre” of the Union of Bulgarian Musicians and Dancers; the awards of the Bulgarian National Radio and Sofia Municipality; “Golden Book” of the European Forum of Experts; Award for best directing – his production of “L’elisir d’amore” by Donizetti, handed out by the Belgrade National Theatre.
Since 2012 Plamen Kartaloff is member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
The artistic path of Academician Plamen Kartaloff is marked by many unique and innovative projects, realized with ambition, persistence, with devotion and work. A reflection of talent, erudition, mastery, experience and charisma.
His versatile artistic and organizational activity was always successful, thanks to his invariably successful preparation, his skill to create an orderly organization of the preparation and to an overall mastering of the creative process, to clear goals and long-term planning. But to his ability to fascinate and convince the hundreds of engaged artists, technical associates and sponsors too. Without compromise in his work, Kartaloff is looking for innovative solutions, in order to overcome successfully all kind of difficulties in the name of the goals and the contemporary tasks of the art of the opera. This was synthesized also in the esteem of the director of the international organization “Opera Europa” – on the occasion of the held international united forum in Sofia in March 2018: “At the Sofia Opera there is something, which in most Western theatres was lost. The feeling of ensemble, of a team. The Sofia Opera has identity.”