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 Bulgarian Operas

portrait Veselin Stoyanov

20 April 1902, Shumen - 29 June 1969, Sofia

Stoyanov received his first lessons from his father and his brother. In 1922 he enrolled at the State Musical Academy in Sofia, completing his studies at the Vienna Hochschule (1926-30), where Franz Schmidt was his composition teacher. On returning to Bulgaria, Stoyanov worked as a concert pianist, conducted at the operetta and taught at the State Musical Academy, where he was later Rector (1956-62). For one season (1954-55 ) he was also director of the National Opera in Sofia.

Classically balanced forms, an optimistic outlook and a keen awareness of contemporary trends are the prevalent features of his music, resulting from his Viennese studies. The late Romantic style as exemplified in Mussorgsky, Wagner, Debussy and Strauss, which he absorbed into his own writing, was a new departure in Bulgarian opera which had been heavily Italian-influenced.

In Zhensko tsarstvo (1935), the first modern Bulgarian comic opera, the prose libretto makes extensive use of recitative, strongly influenced by patterns of speech.

Stoyanov's next work, Salammbo (1940), was an important contribution to the development of national opera in Bulgaria; the declamatory style and the dramatic as well as musical use of the orchestra were combined with the spectacle and lavishness of late Romantic style.

His later comic opera Hitar Petar (1958) uses the melodic and rhythmic structures of Bulgarian folksong.

Compositions, all performed at the Sofia National Opera: