Vladimir Stoyanov: Someone said that theatre and life are not the same thing but I think life is better when art makes you think how to improve yourself and the society.

Vladimir Stoyanov was born in Pernik (Bulgaria). He studied singing at The Academy of Music of Sofia, and he later perfected himself at the Academy Boris Christoff at Rome under the guidance of famous opera singer Nicola Ghiuselev, who was his mentor and source of inspiration in his youth years. Praised by the New York Times for his warm, attractive voice and by Opera News for his “gorgeous legato sound and remarkable breath control”, Vladimir Stoyanov has gained international recognition as one of the leading baritone in the nowadays opera scene. Theatres and festivals he has appeared at include the Opéra de Paris, Wiener Staatsoper, Teatro alla Scala, Metropolitan New York, Baden Baden Festival, Teatro Real de Madrid, Liceu de Barcelona, Bayerische Staatsoper of Munich, Deutsche Oper and Staatsoper Berlin, San Francisco Opera, New National Theatre Tokyo, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and the Arena of Verona and many others. Here are some of his more frequented roles: Rigoletto (Bregenz Festspiele, ROH Muscat, NCPA Beijing, Palau de les Arts Valencia, Maggio Musicale fiorentino Florence, Sofia Opera House, Terme di Caracalla Rome, Center of Performing Arts, Macerata Sferisterio, Teatro Comunale in Bologna) Iago in Otello (New National Theatre of Tokyo, Royal Opera of Stockholm, Arena di Verona-Philharmonic Theatre, Baden-Baden Festival with Berliner Philharmoniker) Macbeth (San Carlo in Naples, Festival Verdi in Parma, Berlin State Opera, Teatro Colon in Bogotà, ABAO Bilbao) Giorgio Germont in La traviata (la Scala Milan, Wien State Opera, San Carlo in Naples, Bavarian State Opera, Arena di Verona, Hamburg State Opera, San Francisco Opera, La Fenice in Venice) Marquise Posa (Verdi Festival Parma, Zurich Opera House, Bunka Kaikan Tokyo, Municipal de Sant Jago Chile, Macerata Sferisterio, ABAO Bilbao) Don Carlo di Vargas in La forza del destino (Paris Opèra, Israeli Opera Tel Aviv, Liceu de Barcelona) Renato in Un ballo in maschera  (La Fenice Venice, Zurich Opera House, Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Teatro Regio Parma) Ezio in Attila (Hungarian State Opera Budapest, Festival Verdi Parma) Prince Yeletsky in the Queen of Spades (ROH in London, Met Opera House New York, Dutch National Opera Amsterdam) Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor (Metropolitan of New York, Palau des les Artes of Valencia, Deutch Opera of Berlin).

Hello, Vladimir! Thank you very much for accepting our invitation! It’s a pleasure. Where are you right now, in the moment of our conversation? What about the production that is taking place there and the role, the opera that you’re performing?

At the moment I’m in Los Angeles for my debut at the LA Opera with Il Trovatore. I’m really happy to be here, to take part with this production to the renaissance of the opera world in the USA. I have the pleasure to sing conducted by the great Maestro James Conlon, with whom is a great joy working with, wonderful colleagues, and in a brilliant production by Francesco Negrin. The Count of Luna is a fascinating character, a man in love with a dark side. He is so mysterious and passionate…I really love to give him my voice. 

In the main cultural centres of Europe, things seem to be turning back to normal, but we can’t forget the fact that culture & the arts have been extremely hurt by the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. What was this year and a half for you, professionally, but also psychologically? Besides that, are you optimistic about the future of opera? How do you see opera industry in 15 years from now, considering the most recent changes and the tendency towards digitalisation?

Personally and professionally was a difficult period, but I think It was like that for all of us. I experienced in first person the COVID-19, with my family, but luckily we didn’t take it in the most serious way. From a professional point of view It was really difficult to remain “positive”, but I always tried to study, to improve myself, to be ready for this moment, when theatre are gradually reopening  and we’re finally back at our work with a live audience. About your question, I can say that I try to be always optimistic about the future of our world and I think the digitalization is an important process also for us (our Trovatore from LA was live streamed for all the people that couldn’t came to the theatre), but I also think that opera is a live show and only live It’s possibile to feel all the energies and emotions of the music. 

Let’s go a bit backwards: when do you decided that you wanted to become an opera singer? Was it love at the first sight? Who guided your first steps on this path?

For as long as I can remember I have been singing and playing music. From a very young age It was clear I had a talent, I was very musical. Wherever I found a piano I would start playing, inventing melodies and then adding my left hand. My parents felt that there was something to develop and my mother encouraged me to take piano lessons. Then I was accepted into the school choir and later into a larger choir in my home town. So slowly, slowly I got closer to music.

Read the entire interview here, in the 6th/2021 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.

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