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A bridge of music between two countries: great Bulgarian soprano Raina Kabaivanska shares her view on Bulgarian-Italian musical traditions.

Legend has it that Orpheus, the mythical singer, was born in the forests of the Bulgarian Rhodope Mountains. Probably this cultural heritage explains the connection between beautiful Bulgarian musical voices and the great tradition of the Italian Bel-Canto.

The cultural exchange of opera singers between Bulgaria and Italy has never stopped. Legendary singers Petar Raichev and Elena Nikolai trained and sung on some of Italy's best stages. From there they moved to world-renowned venues.

This tradition has been retained by recent great names such as Boris Christoff, Nikolai Gyaurov, Gena Dimitrova and Anna-Tomova Sintova.

I have tried my best to maintain the singing connection between our two countries (don't ask me if I feel more Italian than Bulgarian!). I was nurtured and developed as a singer by the old Italian school of music. My teachers were Zita Fumagalli and Rosa Ponselle, pillars of 19th century musical tradition.

With the help of the fund I set up with the New Bulgarian University in Sofia, and with the assistance of a number of Italian ambassadors in Sofia, I managed to bring young Italian singers to Bulgaria, and young Bulgarian singers to Italy. That way, I helped build a musical bridge that will always link our two countries.

It is a wonderful bridge of sound and harmony built from the talent of so many youngsters. We maintain this link in the name of the great Italian vocal tradition and school that serves as witness and protector of a great cultural heritage.

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Title Annotation:Italy and Bulgaria
Author:Kabaivanska, Raina
Publication:The Sofia Echo (Sofia, Bulgaria)
Date:May 28, 2010
Words:250
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