90 years State Opera Stara Zagora
Opening of the new building of the opera
The 14th of March 1971 is a significant date in the history of the State Opera – Stara Zagora. On this date, 22 years ago, the new building of the opera was opened. During the opening ceremony the deputy prime minister and president of the State Planning Committee Tano Tsolov gave a speech and cut the ribbon.
In the section “Curious facts from the world of the State Opera Stara Zagora” we publish extracts from the introductory article of R. Yovtchev, “Septemvri” journal, issue 18, March 20th 1971 – “The opening of the new building for opera and theatre lies ahead. BEAUTIFUL, MODERN, ELEGANT. Wonderful gift for the people of Stara Zagora before the 10th congress!”
“It is the newest cultural monument in the ancient city. It had been just a project, a dream of young and old, an aspiration of many actors and opera singers which at last became reality.
The new home of Melpomene is finished and soon will open its doors for the admirers of the opera and theatre art. The members of the orchestra will take their places, dressing-rooms will be busy, the audience will grow quiet, stage lights will shine. But before that the audience will experience the first aesthetic delight from the magnificence of this true temple of culture.
The new opera and theatre hall has 850 seats. However, during the construction works the attention of investors, performers, actors and the audience was focused on the stage layout. Will it be considered modern according to the latest standards?
In each of the two side wings of the stage there are two movable carts (platforms) on which the scenery for the next acts of the play can be set up in advance. There is another movable platform in the back of the stage which can adopt an inclined position. Eight plush curtains (except the main curtain) can be lowered anytime depending on the needs of the play. The orchestra pit has a movable floor, which can be elevated to the level of the ramp, thus extending the stage. It could also be fixed on the front row level of the hall so that it could be occupied by the audience.
The people of Stara Zagora can take pride in having the biggest and most modern opera and theatre building in our country.”
On the 12th of November, that same year, the premiere performance of “Momchil” took place on the stage of the new opera.
More historical facts about the building
The modern building of the Opera of Stara Zagora was designed by the architects Mihail Sokolovski, Boris Kamilarov and Tsanko Hadjistoychev. This was the first building in Bulgaria specially designed to be an opera house. Its stage is one of the biggest and most modern on the Balkan Peninsula. In 1991 the building was destroyed by a fire. The stage, the auditorium, priceless sceneries, costumes and musical instruments were reduced to ashes.
The first performance in the reconstructed building (the premiere of “Carmen”), was on the 5th of October 2010, 19 years after the fire and 85 years after the establishment of the Opera of Stara Zagora. After the reconstruction, the opera house of Stara Zagora is once again in possession of the biggest and most modern rotating stage in the country. Specialists from “SBS-Buhnen Technik” (Dresden, Germany) are in charge of the renewal of the lower stage mechanism and the installation of a unique arrangement – a set of automatic electro-mechanical equipments which ensures the movement of the stage in different directions and planes.
The reconstructed opera house has 599 seats and 6 adapted seats for people with disabilities and special needs (a total of 605 seats). It meets all modern requirements for accessible environment, energy efficiency and fire-resistance. On the east side of the building there is a brand new lift for people with disabilities and special needs. There are also ramps leading to the building and the auditorium.
On the 16th of December 2010, the winners of the 9th edition of the competition “Building of the year” were announced. In the category “Culture, science, religion” the price went to the reconstructed State Opera House – Stara Zagora.