The mezzo-soprano, Ressa Koleva, was born in Innsbruck in Austria, but grew up and followed her studies in Bulgaria. She did not consider a singing career at first, and graduated a vocational high school in construction. But before long she made the decision to enroll the Vocal Department of the Bulgarian Academy of Music in Sofia. There she had the rare chance to study under the renowned professors Tsvetana Dyakovic, the most devout follower of the German tradition in Bulgaria, and Lyubomir Pipkov, one of Bulgaria’s best-loved composers, who cultivated in her a sophisticated taste for chamber music. She graduated the Academy and stayed on a PhD course to become a teacher herself. Fate presented her with a chance one too many: she went on specialization courses to Moscow, Bucarest and Leipzig.
In 1964, Ressa Koleva began her soloist career, and soon made a name for herself in the chamber and cantata oratorio genre. She has made recordings of dozens of Baroque masters’ works.
Ever since she set her foot on stage, Ressa Koleva has been performing Bulgarian compositions. She even promoted the work of Bulgarian composers in the Land of the Rising Sun:
"The history of my ties with Japan goes back to 1976, when the first Japanese student came to study under me. The first four of them made a group of their own and names it Ressa, after me, and decided to do only Bulgarian repertoire. And then I went on a concert tour to Japan, and worked later for two years as a vocal pedagogue at a private university. It has become a tradition now that every year I go to Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka to teach master classes."
“No matter where, I have always been working for Bulgaria”, this is the credo of professor Ressa Koleva. Her personality blends the amazing chamber music performer, one of Bulgaria’s best loved vocal pedagogues, and member of national and international judging panels of opera singers’ contests, and a most wonderful person, all at once.
Ressa Koleva has educated nearly 70 opera singers, and a great many of them pursue soloist careers in opera houses across Europe, Australia, the USA, Japan. Svetla Vassileva, Evgeny Dermendzhiev and Vesselina Katzarova, declared number one world mezzo-soprano for 2003 in Salzburg, to name but a few, have begun their successful international careers. She has a gallery of photographs of all her students at her place. The students are very fond of their teacher, and they always ring her to keep her in track with their latest achievement, and she is always so loving and so caring, and extremely happy for them.