A fundamental value of university education is the establishment and development of schools of followers of the big names in science and the arts. Today, for already 20 years, Raina Kabaivanska has been teaching the new generation of artists the enormous heritage of classical opera theatre, the musical and academic world talk about Kabaivanska School. In its development New Bulgarian University, Vecchi-Tonelli Music Institute in Modena and Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena are identifiable participants.
Master Classes of Raina Kabaivanska in opera singing and actor’s interpretation in Italy, followed by those in Spain, France, Sweden, Bulgaria, Russia, Germany and Japan, have created through the years a network of music academies, theatres and universities devoted to the classical vocal school. In the Master Classes participated young opera singers from Europe, America, Asia, South Africa and Australia. Her first Master Class in Bulgaria, in NBU, Raina Kabaivanska carrued out in 2001 and an year later she established a Donation Fund at the University for scholarships in support of the training of young opera singers in Bulgaria and Italy. During her Master Classes the great opera actress discovers new talents, works with them towards their development and perfection and presents them on the international opera stage. Over the years more than 200 young opera singers from all over the world were trained in the Master Classes at NBU. Raina Kabaivanska Fund has disbursed over 90 scholarships, thus raising the chance of many young opera artists to appear on the biggest opera stages in the world. In 2010, under the auspices of NBU, started a project “Raina Kabaivanska presents her students at the international opera stage” with the production of the opera “La Bohème” involving students of Raina Kabaivanska from Bulgaria and Italy in the lead roles. The performances took place in Sofia Opera and Ballet House and Teatro Comunale “Luciano Pavarotti” in Modena, Italy. The project continues with “Werther” (2012), “Turandot” (2016), “Norma” (2017), “Don Pasquale” (2019) and “Il Trovatore” (2019) on the stage of Sofia Opera and with the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra in the concerts “The Tenors of Raina Kabaivanska ”(2018) and “Requiem” by Leoncavallo (2020).
Nowadays, the students of Raina Kabaivanska School and the scholarship holders trace an outline on the map of the contemporary opera world. Andrea Carè, Veronica Simeoni, Vittoria Yeo, Virginia Tola, Maria Agresta, Simone Lim, Sofia Soloviy, Yasko Sato are stars of the world opera theatres. Important debuts with famous conductors make Chiara Isotton, Maria Radoeva, Marily Santoro, Matteo Desole, Selene Zanetti. Awards from international competitions of Ana Victoria Pitts, Davide Ryu, Eva Kim Maggio, Eva Jeong, Elisa Cho are obviously a sign for coming soon of the next breakthrough success. The youngest participants – Alexandrina Mihailova, Arianna Manganello, Giuseppe Infantino, Reinaldo Droz still build up their vocal and artistic identity. Thus Kabaivanska School writes its own history, creating generations of opera artists who are thought to sing in a recognizable way, with perfect and richer vocal technique and full expression of their artistic liberty. “I’m proud that my students when singing elsewhere in the world can say: “I studied also in Bulgaria” – says Raina Kabaivanska.
George Tekev, PhD
Executive Director and
Member of the Board of Trustees of NBU