26 years old Vesselina Kasarova 1991 - Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia "Una voce poco fa" Geneva Opera House
Early life and education
Vesselina Kasarova (pronounced ka-TSA-ro-va) was born in the central Bulgarian town of Stara Zagora in July 1965. Under the communist regime that supported the arts, she studied Russian as a second language and began her music education in early childhood, taking her first piano lesson when she was only 4 years old. She gave her first stage performance as a 16 yrs old pianist performing Mozart sonatas in 1981 in her home town. As she studied piano and worked as accompanist at recitals, Kasarova became drawn to the voice as musical instrument.
After earning her concert pianist diploma in 1987, Kasarova switched to study singing under the watchful eyes of Ressa Koleva at Sofia's Music Academy. A stroke of luck, since Madame Koleva protected her from the prevailing Verdi singing culture that might have ruined her voice early and steering her toward Mozart and Rossini instead. She gave her first singing performance in Stara Zagora singing "Habanera" from Bizet's Carmen. The prodigious Bulgarian also performed at Sofia National Opera while still a student. She performed the part of Rosina in the Barber of Seville for her graduation exam.
 Singing career
In 1988, while still a student, a demo tape recording of her performance was given to the renown conductor Herbert von Karajan, who, upon hearing it, asked her to sing for him at the Vienna State Opera. Though Karajan died a week later, upon hearing this engaging singer his successor offered her 2 annual contracts starting in 1991.
Vesselina Kasarova graduated from the Conservatoire of Sofia in 1989; spending her 2 years gap engaged by the Zurich Opera. There she soon became a favorite with audiences appreciative of her intense characterization of all the roles she plays, her expressive clarinet-ish voice, and virtuosic vocal agility. Her first role being two minor parts (2nd Norn and Wellgunde) in Wagner's Götterdämmerung. In the same year she won first prize in the "Neue Stimmen (New Voices)" international singing competition in Gütersloh, Germany, sponsored by Bertelsmann, owner of BMG Classics. In 1991, she made her debut at the Salzburg Festival singing 2 concerts in commemoration of Mozart's 200th death anniversary and as Annio in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito under Sir Colin Davis. In that same year she left Zurich to fulfill her contract at the Vienna State Opera debuting in the role of Rosina in Rossini's The Barber of Seville, and remained with company for 2 years. There she married her Swiss husband.
Watch videos with other singers performing Una voce poco fa:
ROSINA con una lettera in mano Una voce poco fa qui nel cor mi risuonò; il mio cor ferito è già, e Lindor fu che il piagò. Sì, Lindoro mio sarà; lo giurai, la vincerò. Il tutor ricuserà, io l'ingegno aguzzerò. Alla fin s'accheterà. e contenta io resterò Sì, Lindoro mio sarà; lo giurai, la vincerò. Io sono docile, - son rispettosa, sono ubbediente, - dolce, amorosa; mi lascio reggere, - mi fo guidar. Ma se mi toccano - dov'è il mio debole, sarò una vipera - e cento trappole prima di cedere - farò giocar.
English Libretto or Translation:
ROSINA a letter in her hand The voice I heard just now has thrilled my very heart. My heart already is pierced and it was Lindoro who hurled the dart. Yes, Lindoro shall be mine, I've sworn it, I'll succeed. My guardian won't consent, but I will sharpen my wits, and at last, he will relent, And I shall be content. Yes, Lindoro etc.
I am docile, I am respectful, I am obedient, sweet and loving. I can be ruled, I can be guided. But if crossed in love, I can be a viper, and a hundred tricks I shall play before they have their way. I am docile, etc.