Nikolai Zdravkov

10 February 1923 Brusartsi – 7 January 1990 Ruse

Nikolai Zdravkov was born in the Lom region of Bulgaria. Until 1939, he was a factory worker. He began his musical activity in 1948 as a member of the chorus "Kaval" and as a member of an ensemble for folk singing and dancing. During this time, he studied privately with Ilija Josifov. In 1953, he joined the Ruse Opera as a soloist and made his debut on May 2nd of that year as Cavaradossi. In 1955/56, he continued his studies at the Bolshoj Theater in Moscow, at the same time appearing with opera companies throughout the USSR. After 1954, in addition to singing throughout Bulgaria, he appeared as a guest on many European opera stages. He traveled to China on a concert tour in 1959.

Nikolai Zdravkov received many international awards including Bucharest in 1953, Paris in 1954 and Belgium in 1957. Major roles in his career included the Duke in Rigoletto, Alfredo, Nadir, and Pinkerton.

Ruse would always remain his artistic homebase; his sang there until being pensioned off by the management in late 1989; one month later, Zdravkov was dead.

A remarkable episode from his career took place in 1973: he was touring Latin America. On September 11th, he was due to fly from Lima (Peru) into Santiago de Chile. The plane was heavily delayed. In the end, it never took off: had it been on time, Zdravkov would have arrived exactly in time for the bloody coup d'état staged by Augusto Pinochet.

Nikolai Zdravkov singsRigoletto: Bella figlia dell'amore, with Kiril Krastev, Penka Marinova, and Liliana Tocheva in Bulgarian
In RA format

Nikolai Zdravkov singsEvgenij Onegin: Kuda, kuda vy udalilis
In RA format
I would like to thank Vladimir Efimenko for the above notes and recordings; source: University of Pittsburgh.
Nikolai Zdravkov singsLucia di Lammermoor: Tu che a Dio, in Bulgarian
In RA format
I would like to thank Daniele Godor for the picture and the above recording.

Nikolai Zdravkov studied with Ilija Josifov and Katja Spiridonova; 1948–1953 soloist of the ensemble of the Ministry of Interior, Bulgaria; 1953 soloist at the Ruse National Opera, debut as Cavaradossi; gold medal at the Bucharest festival; 1957 first price at the competition in Verviers; 1959 Dimitrov Prize for the interpretation of the roles of Nadir, the Duke and Pinkerton. From 1957 guest performances in the SU, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Poland, the GDR, Hungary, Cuba. Concerts in Austria, Finland, Yugoslavia, Belgium, Turkey, China, Peru etc. Repertoire: 50 leading roles, which he has performed for over 1500 times, out of which: 150 guest performances in Sofia, 60 in Varna and 200 performances in other opera theatres in Bulgaria.
From the LP "Nikolai Zdravkov Opera Recital", Balkanton BOA 10585, by Ognjan Stamboliev

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