Opera is the new black

Macbeth takes over the Sofia National Opera and Ballet

Written by Marta Valverde Rios and Anastasiia Dehtiarova, edited by Scott Green, photo by Sofia National Opera and Ballet


On its 130th anniversary, Sofia National Opera and Ballet is on fire. Re-opening after being closed due to Covid-19, now with a fantastic lineup of shows for the 2021 season. The Open Sofia team could not miss such an event and we had the privilege of attending its concert performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Macbeth”, with Kiril Manolov and Alexandrina Pendatchanska in the lead roles.

We hope to not spoil your experience with this recap: But, three witches tell the Scottish general Macbeth that he will be King of Scotland. Encouraged by his wife, Macbeth kills the king, becomes the new king, and kills more people out of paranoia. Civil war erupts to overthrow Macbeth, resulting in only more death. A captivating story about human nature and the dangers of power.

First of all, we would like to emphasize that it is a foreigner-friendly event. While the opera is in Italian, there is a big screen on the stage with English and Bulgarian subtitles, which makes it much easier to follow the story. Secondly, we would say this show was the perfect length. Two and a half hours are enough for someone who enjoys classical music but is not a perfect connoisseur of the matter, as is our case. The magnificent artists, along with a very coordinated choir and a nice play of lights make it a sensory and awakening experience.

The engaging performance of the singers and orchestra was paired with the unique artistic move to wrap the opera into a concert. We experienced a new way of watching opera. The action was only in the singers’ performance. The choir and the orchestra were on the stage right beside them, their omnipresent witnesses. We could focus on the talents of each performer, and it brought us closer to them as if we were participating in a big rehearsal. This makes it a not-so-common cultural activity to spice up your week!

As for the Opera House, it is magnificent! 

The team takes great care to follow the necessary COVID-19 measures. The venue is thoroughly disinfected and prepared. A charming touch of flower bouquets on seats to ensure social distancing adds a layer of elegance. Our team was fascinated by the experience, so expect more reviews in our cultural column!

If you too want to witness what the Sofia National Opera and Ballet is preparing for the upcoming months, take a look at their rich and exciting program.