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After the albums featuring the tenor Dimitar Uzunov and the soprano Yulia Wiener-Chenisheva, the series FAMOUS OPERA VOICES OF BULGARIA continues with another ‘golden’ voice from the second half of the 20th century – Lyubomir Bodurov, tenor (1925-1992). He began as a singer in the Gusla choir and in 1950 he was admitted to study, after a competition, at the State Music Theatre. His first teacher there was Prof. Georgi Zlatev-Cherkin (1950-1952) and then the famous mezzo-soprano Konstansa Kirova, who for many years taught and guided the singer with her valuable advice. Already in his first year at the Musical Theatre and with his first role as Adam in Der Vogelhändler by Zeller, which was a big and difficult role for a young and inexperienced artist, Lyubomir Bodurov became a favourite of the audience. Even today his Adam is thought to be exceptional! This was followed by impressive interpretations in the roles from the operetta classics, participations in Russian and Bulgarian operettas, where he is an equal partner of the biggest operetta artists of that time, such as Mimi Balkanska.

After his brilliant performance at two international competitions, he received a one-year scholarship for the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow (1955-1956), where on 1 April1956 he debuted as Don José in Carmen by Bizet. The singer Irina Arkhipova, who later conquered the world opera scenes, had her debut with him. As a postgraduate student, he prepared two more opera roles – in Iolanta (Count Vaudémont) and Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades (Herman) – two main roles in the repertoire of every tenor. Upon his return to Bulgaria, he was invited to sing at the Sofia Opera and for 30 years he was one of its leading artists. His roles from the opera classics are still remembered, including Russian and Bulgarian operas: Don José (Carmen), Cavaradossi (Tosca), Don Carlos, Ricardo (Un ballo in maschera), Lohengrin, Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Pierre Bezukhov (War and Peace), Herman (The Queen of Spades), Prince Golitsin (Khovanshchina), his roles in Masters by P. Hadjiev, Ivailo by M. Goleminov, Salambo by V. Stoyanov and many others. His partners on the stage were famous Bulgarian singers: Yulia Wiener-Chenisheva, Katya Popova, Nadya Afeyan, Alexandrina Miltcheva, Raina Kabaivanska, Gena Dimitrova, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Nicola Ghiuzelev, Pavel Gerdjikov, Asen Selimski, Dimitar Petkov, Stefan Elenkov.

Lyubomir Bodurov’s tours in the country and abroad were extremely successful. He was applauded everywhere by the audience, and the music critics wrote about him with enthusiasm. The Neapolitan newspaper Il Matino (January 1963) wrote: “... absorbed in the obsessive game, as well as in the delusion of visions and hallucinations, he interprets the character of Herman in an unmatchable way with his pure and elaborate voice, demonstrating an exceptional style.”

The singer was also highly appreciated in Bulgaria. For his remarkable artistic achievements, Lyubomir Bodurov was awarded with the highest state awards, orders and titles.


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