Todor Bonev

28 January 1932 Haskovo – 15 August 1982

Todor Bonev singsLa bohème: Che gelida manina, in Bulgarian
In RA format
Already as a boy, he sang in the school choir, and when he served in the army, and sang in a choir again, his voice was discovered, and he studied with Hristo Brambarov in Sofia – only briefly, as he was soon considered a "complete" singer.

In communist Bulgaria, singers couldn't decide on their own careers. Bonev was assigned to the opera theater of Ruse, which was the second-best Bulgarian address after Sofia. He made his debut in 1955 as Gastone in La traviata. His next role was already Rodolfo, and he was a big success. He went on to sing Don José, Cavaradossi (his signature role), Calaf, Dick Johnson and Radames. He became quickly a star in Bulgaria, and outdid Ruse's first tenor Ivan Dimov; he made guest appearances in Sofia, Stara Zagora and Gabrovo, and also abroad (once he made a six-month tour to China). In 1965, he was offered a contract with the opera theater in Bern.

But it was not meant to be. He had to sing very much in Bulgaria, often two performances a day, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, so he was constantly overstressed. Before leaving for Bern, he suffered a stroke on stage in Ruse during a performance of Turandot, and that put an end to his promising career: he never fully recovered, although he came back several years later in two-sentence parts like Giuseppe in La traviata.

Reference and picture source

I wish to thank Vladimir Efimenko for the recording.

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