logo AE 220
 Bulgarian Operas


Atanasov Gergana

Varna Opera - 1959 - Josko Jossifov (c)

Character    Artist
Gergana    Tinka Skolufanova
Christina    Stanka Nikolova
Gorana    Sofia Bojilova
Latina    Liliana Nikolova
Nikola    Jordan Znamenov
Old Nedialko    Stefan Tziganchev
Tsvetan    Valeri Shadura
Zlatan    Georgi Koichev
Granny Tzona    Ana Kostakeva
Selim Bei    Nikola Jordanov
Muhtar Aga    Konstantin Kotzev


The libretto by Lubomir Bobevski derives from a poem by one of the greatest Bulgarian poets from the period of Bulgaria's liberation (1878), Petko Slaveikov. "Izvorut na Belonogata" is based on folk sayings, according to which the base of each bridge or large sanctuary needs to "enclose" the shadow of a loved woman. Even evildoers have been able to measure the shadow of the woman and to "enclose" it. According to legend, there are "enclosed" shadows in several bridges in various places in Bulgaria. Oral tradition includes stories of a noble Turkish ruler who had wanted the Bulgarian woman for his sanctuary, but acknowledged her love for another man and showed his respect for her by erecting a fountain in her name. This opera combines the legend of the Turkish ruler and the belief about the "enclosed shadow."

Premier 6 June 1917 - Balgarska Operna Druzhba, Sofia

The opera as playlist


Scene 1

While the other village boys and girls are having fun, Gergana who sad because her sweetheart Nikola is not there. Finally Nikola arrives with a group of his friends and explains that he had been preparing their new home. Everyone is excited about the upcoming wedding of Nikola and Gergana. Nikola stays after the guests have left so he and Gergana can vow their love. On leaving Nikola asks Gergana to give him a bunch of her flowers. She refuses saying that giving flowers in the evening brings bad luck. Nikola just smiles and leaves taking the flowers against her protests. Gergana worries about the possibilities of bad fortune.

Scene 2

Early Sunday morning Gergana is busy with her housework, happily dreaming of meeting Nikola at the spring, yet still worrying about the threat of bad luck. Unexpectedly, her grandfather Nedialko arrives and prevents her from going to the rendezvous. Responding to her question about his mood, he explains that the bridge across the river was built in his daughter's shadow. Christina, Gergana's mother, arrives to welcome the guest and reminds Gergana that it is time to go to the spring for water. After Gergana leaves, her grandmother Tzona brings the bad news that the Turks were seen along the path to the spring. Christina is terrified that something terrible will happen to Gergana.

Scene 3

Near the spring, the Turk Selim Bei and his followers are at camp. Along the road leading to the spring young village girls carry water jugs followed by teasing village boys. They are heard singing and joking. Selim Bei and his assistant Muhtar Aga admire the beautiful girls from a distance. When the girls see the Turks they run in terror. Selim Bei tells Muhtar Aga that in his colorful harem he has no Bulgarian girl and after seeing the pretty girls he will not leave with out one. Nikola arrives and on seeing the Turks goes to intercept Gergana. Gergana and her girlfriend Gorana pass Nikola, missing him as they head for the spring. Selim Bei is overcome with the Gergana's beauty and orders Muhtar Aga to carry her away. She is captured and Selim Bei tenderly tries to calm her. He promises her a rich and beautiful life with him but she refuses saying she wants neither a beautiful palace nor money. She wants to live here in her village with her sweetheart. Nikola arrives with his friends and begs the Bei to free Gergana. Moved by the resistance of the girl and by her love for Nikola, the Bei makes a noble gesture and frees Gergana. He also orders in her honor to build a fountain in the place of the spring. All of the people joyfully thank the Bei.

Scene 4

On the orders of the Bei a fountain is built in the place of the spring without knowing that it was in Gergana's shadow. She falls ill beyond the healing power of herbs and even the sorceress. Nikola travels to different healers seeking a cure with no success. Returning to the village, he learns from Nedialko that Gergana has died. Nikola loses his senses and returns as a shadow to the fountain searching for Gergana. Visions of nymphs appear around Gergana, playing and dancing the horo. As the vision disappears, Nikola falls to the ground lifeless.