Opera Diva Krassimira Stoyanova:
It is the audience, who crowns the artists
My singing started off as a hobby to become the love of my life I would never part with
19 May, 2012Close-up: Krassimira Stoyanova was born on 16 August 1962 in Veliko Tarnovo. She graduated in singing and violin from the Plovdiv Music Academy. She started her career as a violinist with the Plovdiv Symphony Orchestra and made her professional debut in 1995 at the Sofia National Opera as Gilda (Rigoletto). Since 1998 Krassimira Stoyanova has been engaged at the Wiener Staatsoper. Her international career took her to the following opera houses: Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Salzburger Festspiele, Konzerthaus Berlin, Nationaloper Helsinki among others. Upon special request of Placido Domingo, she participated in his gala concert in Vienna on 19 May 2007. The same year she took part in the concert on the occasion the 80th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican. In 2009 Krassimira Stoyanova was nominated Kammersangerin by the Vienna State Opera. In 2008 she released her second solo CD recording, Slavic Opera Arias, which received the International Classical Music Award 2012. Recently, she was decorated with the Golden Age Order in Bulgaria.- Recently you received the International Classical Music Award 2012 and the Golden Age Order of Bulgaria's Ministry of Culture. What do these distinctions mean to you?- Each of them means a lot to me. The former is in appreciation of my CD, while the latter is in recognition on the part of our country of my work. I am very happy with them.- You started off a career of a violinist and singing came in somewhat later. How come?- As often happens, it seemed to be just a stroke of good luck on the face of it. But amassing experience in life, I'd know better than think that things would happen for no reason at all. My singing started off as a hobby at the Academy to become the love of my life I would never part with.- Do you still suffer from the stage-fright as it has been before your debut?- It is still there and I think it would be there until the end of my career. It would even build up, as over the years, with experience comes increased responsibility before the composer and his work, before art in general and, of course, before the audiences.- What guides you in your choice of roles? When would you refuse a role?- I am guided only by whether the role suits my voice, whether I'd be able to perform it, to impersonate the character. Every singer happens to refuse a part now and then, arguing that it is not his or her cup of tea. So, I refused three new productions of Madam Butterfly believing that this role does not suit me for the time being.- There are a lot of stumbling blocks in your profession: What do you steer clear of?- Along with the purely professional difficulties to spare my voice, I select very carefully the works I sing. I take care of my health and I am wary in the choice of food. I do my best to steer clear of such purely human temptations like taking myself too seriously or to put it simply, getting above myself. Being artists, we are very close to this feeling either because of the applauses or the rave reviews about our performance. I deem this feeling to be really dangerous as it may thoroughly distort our good judgement.- Some of the opera stagings these days are ultramodern. Which was the queerest thing you had to do onstage alongside singing?- I am happy to have built my parts in a more or less normal way, though singing in many bleeding-edge productions.- You belong to the world opera elite. Do you feel like enjoying an opera diva status?- No, not at all. I think that it is the audiences, who create the diva image, who 'crown' artists with such titles.- You have performed many times on American stages. Is the US audience different from the one in Europe?- I'd say that American audiences are very kind and affectionate. The difference perhaps lies in the fact that in Europe traditions are of quite a longer standing than those in America. I can't help but notice how very interested Americans are in music and theatre.- Are there many opera singers, who have gained popularity owing to strong publicity campaigns?- Yes, unfortunately, quite a lot of them. Well, everyone is free to choose one's walk of life. The worst thing about it is that the audiences are strongly manipulated.- You have sung under the baton of the greatest contemporary conductors such as Sir Colin Davis, Riccardo Muti, Georges Pretre, Myung-Whun Chung. Where does the charisma of these persons come from? What does it feel like to work with these luminaries?- You named just a few of the great conductors with whom I was only lucky to work in the realm of opera. Each of them is different and enormously interesting both as a person and a conductor. But it could not have been otherwise, because it takes much more to be one of them than just a common man. What strongly unites them is their devotion to the world of art.- Some time ago you sang spirituals at the Apollonia Jazz Festival, Sozopol. Do you feel tempted to experiment in other non-operatic genres?- Oh, yes, very much! Though I could not come up with too many ideas. But I'd be glad to give another concert of spirituals. I even talked with great Bulgarian composer and jazzman Lubomir Denev to this effect.- How do you relax from your busy days?- I love silence, I am fond of being in the open, reading, drawing, cooking, doing quiet things like that.- Do you happen to play the violin again?- Yes, I do. When I have the time at home, I play with greatest pleasure.- Do you want to coach?- Oh, yes, I do and I have been coaching for quite a while now. Being helpful to someone is the most rewarding part of it.- What is in store for you in the months to come?- Concerts with Vesselina Katsarova and Rossen Milanov in Vienna and Munich. Then I will start rehearsals for the new production of Verdi's Don Carlo in Vienna. In the meanwhile, I will receive the International Classical Music Award in Nantes, France. My season ends with concerts conducted by Zubin Mehta and Riccardo Muti.