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Alexandrina Milcheva (Mezzo-soprano)

Born: November 27, 1936 - Smiadovo, Bulgaria

The Bulgarian mezzo-soprano, Alexandrina [Aleksandrina] Milcheva-Nonova, was born in Smiadovo, Bulgaria, as the youngest of three sisters in the family of an orthodox priest. As a young child, her family moved to the town of Shoumen, where she completes her high school studies. In this period she sang in the school choir. Her initiation in the art of singing was a complete failure, despite her beautiful voice - she applied to the Conservatory of Sofia, but was not admited due to 'a lack of voice characteristics and a career perspective'. Although she had another dream - archeology, she did not give up the necessity of singing and the first obstacles failed to discourage her. Her goal was to become a professional musician, and she commenced to accomplish it with a pedantic staunchness and discipline: first as a member of the choir at the Opera of Varna, and later as a soloist of the Singing Society of Mr. Michael Milkov with the National Radio. During this period, she started her education of singing technique with Professor Georgi Zlatev-Cherkin, with whom she worked for 5 years.

The following stage in her development as a performer was again linked to the Opera of Varna. In 1960, Alexandrina Milcheva was invited to become a soloist at the opera house. On this stage, she prepared numerous leading roles, some of which are to become leading for her repertoire. She made her debut in the role of Dorabella from the opera Cosi fan Tutte by W.A. Mozart. In 1966 she received her first acknowledgement, while still singing in Varna - the Premier Grand Prix at the International Singing Competition in Toulouse, France. This prize had an enormous influence in her entire professional and private life. On one hand this led to her first appearances on international opera stages, but furthermore it created a lifetime link with this city. She appeared in numerous productions on the stage of Theatre du Capitole and has gradually become one of it's trademarks. Furthermore she was a member of the jury in the very same competition, which launched her career in the past. Today many of the students appear both in the competition, as well as on stage in Toulouse.

In 1968, Alexandrina Milcheva was invited to join the ensemble of the National Opera of Sofia. She made her debut on that stage with the extremely difficult virtuoso role of Angelina in Gioacchino Rossini's La Cenerentola. On that stage she appeared in some of her most memorable roles - Amneris in Aida, Azucena in Il Trovatore, Marina in Boris Godounov, and above all as Carmen.

1976 is a year of remarkable significance for Alexandrina Milcheva. She was invited by the former director of the Opera in Plovdid - Maestro Borislav Ivanov, to perform the role of Marina in the great russian opera by Modest Moussorgski Boris Godounov. One of the spectators of this performance was Professor Egon Seefehlner - director of the Wiener Staatsoper. Fascinated by her class and vocal abilities, he invited her as a soloist in his theatre. She signed a contract with Wiener Staatsoper the same year, and for over a decade, became one of the leading stars of this prestigious opera house. Two years later she was invited by Maestro Herbert von Karajan to appear in the role of Azucena in Verdi's Il Trovatore at the Salzburger Festspiele. What followed were great success and brilliant reviews. But the partnership with the great conducter was broken, when she refused to appear as Eboli in Don Carlos. Herbert von Karajan never forgave her act of disobedience and never worked with her again. She performed this role many years later on the Stage of Grand Opera in Paris, when she was confident enough in her own vocal technique.

The career of Alexandrina Milcheva led her to all major opera stages and concert halls in the world. She was expected and hence excitedly applauded on the stages of La Scala, Arena di Verona, Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Teatro Communale in Florence, Teatro Communale in Bologna, Teatro dell'Opera in Rome, Grand Opera in Paris, Covent Garden in London, The Bolshoi, The Metropolitan Opera in New York, San Francisco Opera House, the operas in Dallas, Cincinati, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Teatro Colon of Buenos Aires, the opera houses of Barcelona, Madrid, Zurich, Geneva, Lausanne, Munich, Hamburg, Bonn, and many others. She has appeared with conductors, such as - Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, Gianandrea Gavazzeni, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, George Pretre, Herbert von Karajan, Olivero de Fabbritis, Eugene Ormandy, Michel Plasson.

Despite her numerous engagements on opera stages of the world, Alexandrina Milcheva has never given up the chamber music - her secret love. She is one of the most notable performers of Lieder and romances by Moussorgski, Riccardo Muti, Tchaikovski, Richard Strauss, Robert Schumann, Franz Schubert, Claude Debussy, Antonio Vivaldii, J.S. Bach. She performs this chamber music with orchestra, but mainly as a duet with Svetla Protich, a remarkable pianist and professor at the Conservatory of Osaka. The two ladies appear together over 30 years. Due to the perfect harmony and symbiosis between them, they are the only chamber duet, which was invited to make two recitals at La Scala.

Parallel to her career as an opera and conert performer, Alexandrina Milcheva is one of the leading musical pedagogues with her own unique methods of teaching and thus with remarkably high results. For 13 years she presents on the world stages young singers, graduates from her International Opera Academy SACRA. Tsvetelina Maldzhanska is one of her most talented students.

Source: Alexandrina Milcheva Website; Varna Opera Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (December 2010)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Under her name


BWV 508, BWV 509, BWV 515a, BWV 519, BWV 520, BWV 521, BWV 522, BWV 523 [w/ pianist Svetla Protich]

Links to other Sites

Alexandrina Miulcheva (Official Website) [English/Bulgarian]
Russian Opera from Bulgaria: Alexandrina Milcheva) (UCIS)
Alexandrina Milcheva (Opera Glotz)

Aleksandrina Milcheva comes for Mozartís Requiem on 6 April (Varna Opera)
Alexandrina Milcheva Opens the 9th Easter Festival at the Sofia National Opera (Opera Today) [Apr 2005]

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 14:55