Aristocrats and celebrities applaud the “Great Voices of Bulgaria” choir

by Maria De Brabendere

Princess Claire de Gibon de Boisanger, Count Gilles-de-Nazil, Earl Emmanuel de Mortemar, Polish Princesses Sonia and Sarah Poniatowski, Alain Cartier – heirs of famous fashion empire, the top model Irène Salvador, Monsignor Francisco Follo – the Vatican representative at UNESCO, Catherine Lalumiere – Secretary General of the Council of Europe (1989-1994), Fabian Edelstam – a painter and famous art collector, producers, filmmakers and composers, were among the long list of distinguished guests who attended a concert given by the “The Great Voices of Bulgaria” choir at the Bulgarian Embassy in Paris. This significant event was part of a tour in the French capital, due to an invitation of Université Paris 8. This is the university where the famous psychologist, linguist, semiotics and philosopher Julia Krasteva shares the professorial chair of semiology with Umberto Eco and Tsvetan Todorov. The occasion was the traditional Choral Meetings organized in the French capital.

Europe’s Crème de la Crème was assembled in Paris to experience the sonority of the Bulgarian orthodox and traditional folklore music. Most of the noble and aristocratic guests did not know much about Bulgaria prior the event. They went to the concert without prejudice, “unprepared for what they were about to experience”, says the conductor Ilia Mihaylov. They were amazed by the brilliant singing performances of the 14 female and 4 male singers, who stroke them with their power, vocal purity and the crystal sound of the tones that sprung from the depths of the Bulgarian ecclesiastical and folkloristic traditions.

The preparation for the spectacular concerts took over six months, and was orientated to the Choral Meetings as well. During the preparation period, about 100 local choristers were learning Bulgarian songs. Together with their Bulgarian colleagues, they amazed the French audience.

“Our guests were people who have had the chance to see all the beauty in the world. We managed to surprise them pleasantly. We have exceeded their high aesthetic criteria. The tour was a great and successful test for us”, says the conductor Ilia Mihaylov. His words are confirmed by the favorable material for our singers and their performances published in Le Point by Patrick Besson, one of the influential French journalists of today.

Mrs.Veneta Galabova, the main producer of the event in the Bulgarian Embassy in Paris decorated it with an exceptional style and chic and turned the concert into a superior and tasteful celebration. “Culture is our best way to make politics”, said the Bulgarian Ambassador to France His Excellency Mr. Angel Tcholakov at the opening of the concert. Our diplomat is from the new generation of ambassadors who embraces culture. “He was very cooperative and gave us a warm reception”, remember the artists with gratitude.

The pragmatic part of the preparation of the tour was undertaken by the Bulgarian Music Society (BMS) with its President Mr. Stefan Galabov. In fact, BMS was established in 2005 with a goal to support the Bulgarian culture nationally and internationally. Mr. Galabov’s leadership makes this non-for profit organization successful. He supports it unreservedly, with his own resources, energy and connections. During my meeting with Stefan Galabov in Abu Dhabi, the young man impressed me with the great fervor and love when he was talking about the future projects of the Society and the “Great Voices of Bulgaria” choir. Here is one of them: The conductor of the choir will lead a team of specialists; together they will research and record Byzantine music from the Balkans. The chants range from the 9th up to the 19th century, and were used in the Bulgarian Holly Mass. The Great Voices of Bulgaria’s recording will be a world premiere. Thus, our contemporaries will have the opportunity to return centuries back and immerse themselves in the authentic melodies of the past.

BMS is an association of Bulgarian individuals, who not only love their culture, but try to make a real contribution to its future development. Famous names are affiliated with the projects of the choir. For example, the world-famous Bulgarian musician Theodosii Spassov composes original pieces especially for them. The contemporary Bulgarian composer Yavor Rousinoff, who has worked with Grammy-Award winners like Jose Feliciano and Chaka Kahn, and other musicians such as Supermax, Bonnie M, Falco and the Vienna Boys Choir, wrote a piece for triple choir. The premiere of his composition was performed by all 100 French – Bulgarian singers during the Choral Meeting in France.

Another affiliation is the album cover of the CD “Anthology” – an artwork and donation by the Swedish painter, Fabian Edelstam. He is also a collector of Bulgarian art, and possesses some fine examples of Early 20th-Century Bulgarian painters that resided in Paris such as Jules Pascin a Georges Papazoff. A curious fact is that Edelstam’s grandmother was a muse and a model of the great artist Amedeo Modigliani.

Sunday, July 23rd, 2017 News