|Year of Birth:||1965|
Vesselina Katsarova (Bulgarian: Веселина Кацарова) (born July 18, 1965) is a Bulgarian mezzo-soprano opera singer.
Vesselina Katsarova was born in the central Bulgarian town of Stara Zagora. Under the communist regime she studied Russian as a second language and had an early start in music education. She started taking piano lessons at the Pionerski Dom at age 4 (in 1970) and enrolled at Stara Zagora's Hristina Morfova School of Music and Performing Arts (normal studies in the morning, and music in the afternoon) in 1979. As she studied piano and worked as accompanist at recitals, Kasarova became so drawn to the voice as a musical instrument that upon earning her concert pianist diploma in 1987, she switched to study singing under Ressa Koleva at Sofia's Music Academy—focusing on the works of Mozart and Rossini. Kasarova gave her first singing performance in Stara Zagora singing "Habanera" from Bizet's Carmen. She performed at Sofia National Opera while still a student. She performed the part of Rosina in the Barber of Seville for her graduation exam.
In 1989, her final year at the Sofia Conservatory, she and 5 other students were sent to a month-long concert tour of France. The artist agent Luisa Lasser-Petrov made a recording of one of her performances which she sent to Herbert von Karajan, who immediately requested to see her in Salzburg and then in Vienna. They met in Salzburg where she was asked to sing Agnus Dei from Bach’s B minor mass. Karajan wanted to engage her to sing Bach’s mass with him at the Salzburg Festival the following year, but died shortly after. The Impresario of the Vienna State Opera, Ioan Holender (then jointly directing with Eberhard Wächter) was persuaded by Lasser-Petrov to hear her auditions and immediately offered her a 2 yrs contract at that house to start in 1991-92 season. When she returned to Bulgaria, she took part in another audition at Stara Zagora Opera where she was heard by Christoph Groszer, the impresario of the Zurich Opera. He also immediately engaged her for his company.