Georgi Atanassov: Gergana

Varna Opera - Josko Jossifov (c)

Libretto by Ljubomir Bobevski after a poem by Petko R. Slaveiko
Premiere: Balgarska Operna Druzhba - 6 June 1917

Character   Description  Artist
Gergana    Village girl engaged to Nikola  Tinka Skolufanova
Christina    Mother of Gergana  Stanka Nikolova
Gorana    Girlfriend of Gergana  Sofia Bozjilova
Latina    Friend of Gergana  Lilyana Nikolova
Nikola    Sweetheart of Gergana  Jordan Znamenov
Old Nedialko    Grandfather of Gergana  Stefan Tsiganchev
Tzvetan    Friend of Nikola  Valeri Shadura
Zlatan    Friend of Nikola  Georgi Koinchev
Granny Tzona    Grandmother of Gergana  Ana Kostakeva
Selim Bei    Turkish ruler  Nikola Jordanov
Muhtar Aga    Assistant to Selim Bei  Konstantin Kotzev

Act I

While working in the village, the boys and girls are having fun except Gergana who is sad because her sweetheart Nikola is not there. Nikola arrives with a group of his friends and explains that the reason for his being late was because he was preparing their new home. Everyone is excited about the upcoming wedding of Nikola and Gergana. Nikola stays after the guests have left and they vow their love to one another.

As he leaves, Nikola asks Gergana for a bunch of her flowers. She refuses saying that giving flowers in the evening brings bad luck. Nikola just smiles and takes the flowers against her protests, leaving Gergana worried about the possibilities of bad fortune.

Act II

It is early Sunday morning and Gergana is busy with her chores. She anticipates meeting Nikola at the nearby spring while still being concerned about the bad fortune that might come of Nikola taking the flowers. Unexpectedly, her grandfather arrives and prevents her from going to the spring. She questions him about his sorrow in the death of his daughter. He explains that when the bridge was built across the river it was built in her shadow. Christina arrives, greeting Nedialko and reminding Gergana that it is time to go to the spring for water. After Gergana leaves for the spring. her grandmother Tzona arrives bringing the bad news that the Turks were seen along the path to the spring. Christina is terrified that something terrible will happen to Gergana.

Act III

Not far from the spring in the shadow of the trees, 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 by Nikola to collect water from the spring. Selim Bei is overcome with the beauty of Gergana 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. Just then 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 a fountain to be built in her honor in place of the spring. All of the people joyfully thank the Bei.

Act IV

The fountain ordered by the Bei has been built in the shadow of Gergana. Because of this she becomes sick and is confined to bed. Nothing can help her recover, neither herbs nor the sorceress. Nikola travels to different healers searching for any cure but with no success. When he returns to the village he discovers from Nedialko that Gergana has died. Nikola loses his senses and returns to the fountain as a shadow searching for Gergana. Visions of nymphs appear with Gergana in their midst. They play and dance the horo. When the vision disappears Nikola falls to the ground lifeless.