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Bulgarians and World celebrate Rajna Kabaivanska’s Birthday on Dec 15

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With Maria Radkova, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

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Spread all over the world, Bulgarians have icons of culture which connect them in a network of people who keep the national identity through the good examples.

Rajna Kabanska as many is a world Bulgarian. She had left the country first for long-lasting tours and later to have performed on the world stage for living as a professional and one if the best opera singers.

1961 is the start of her big career when she gave her first performance at La Scala in Milan. She was invited to have performed at the most prestige opera stages in the world.

View Rajna Kabaivanska

International opera awards: Bellini (1965), Viotti d'Oro (1970), Puccini (1978), Illica (1979), Monteverdi (1980), the Award of Accademia 'Medici' - Lorenzo il Magnifico, Florence (1990), the Grand Prix 'A Life, Dedicated to the Music', Venice (2000).

From the interview of Rajna Kabaivanska published at her home page:

“You need to know that in 1959 — as soon as I arrived in Italy to study at the Liceo Musi-cale di Viotti in Vercelli, at the age of twenty-five — my teacher, Zita Fumagalli, right from the beginning gave me roles in Italian to study. Almost immediately I sang in a production of Puccini's II Tabarro, at the Teatro Vercelli…

When I was beginning my studies in Italy, I won a vocal competition in the central, Emilia-Romagna part of the country, where eventually I made my home — in Modena. The winners of these competitions would then be given roles in productions that would travel throughout the region in many theaters…

While doing my first Tosca, I met a young stage director [Franco Guandalini] who would in time be my husband. It was he who first told me, "You must sing Francesca da Rimini." So began my affection for both the opera and the role of Francesca, and as before, I made my debut in the role in Modena and toured it in the other theaters in the area…
Today, young talent is often judged in a superficial manner. If a young singer can sing a loud high note, or a long high note softly, he or she is immediately judged as a talent…

… with Herbert von Karajan, I had an incredible adventure. I was very young, and I was asked to do at La Scala Nedda in Pagliacci, with Jon Vickers. And, as was my stage temperament, I moved around a lot, and I was, let's say, "active." My Nedda was one who was young, energetic and very much in love. Karajan was always telling me, "Enough! You're moving around too much. Stand still every now and then." In hindsight, I believe he was telling me this because he was already thinking of how it would look on film, but back then, since I was very young and naive, I said, "Maestro, this is my temperament — this is how I act," and I left the theater.

As soon as I got home, the phone rang. It was the general director of La Scala, Antonio Ghiringhelli,
and he said to me, "Don't you know who Karajan is?" I, being very young, had no idea who he was, as a young girl coming from a world of communism. We, as young artists in these countries, knew nothing of the Western world outside of ours. I honestly had no idea who Herbert von Karajan was. The next day I returned to rehearsal, after having apologized to Karajan, and I did the film as he requested. After this silly, youthful gesture on my part, it was more than ten years until I worked with him again…

… Unfortunately, … the theaters .. are being run by people who aren't truly qualified for the position. Often, they don't even have the love and the passion for the music. They lack the musical qualifications to understand the operas, the singers or the productions. They are political appointees who don't understand anything, so that when someone like Carlo Fontana gets the opportunity to work artistically in Parma, then, "Finally — someone understands the opera!" But unfortunately, that's just one — the exception. There you have it. It's ironic that I was born in Bulgaria and that I am here in Italy fighting for the great Italian vocal tradition.”


Channel Rajna Kabaivanska at



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