Vania - In Memoriam

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Vania lost her battle with breast cancer in 2017 at the age of 43 in the prime of her professional career. She will be missed dearly and always be remembered in our hearts.

Described by critics as having ‘a lyric voice, but one which has a richness and depth to it’ the soprano followed in the tradition of the famous Bulgarian operatic voices with international recognition. 

Vania lost her battle with breast cancer in 2017 at the age of 43 in the prime of her professional career. She will be missed dearly and always be remembered in our hearts.

Vania’s performances on the opera and concert stage have been celebrated by both the critics and the audiences. ‘Opera Magazine’ praised her performance of Ana Bolena’s role stating that she ‘sang with the kind of determination that defies categorization’. On the opera stage Vania has recently performed at the Varna State Opera in Bulgaria the title roles in Rigoletto, La Traviata, and Carmen. She has performed as well for Swansea City Opera in theatres in Wales such as Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury, Taliesen Arts Centre in Swansea, Theatre Brycheiniog (Brecon), and the Adelina Patti Theatre (Craig-Y-Nos). In addition Vania has appeared in the title roles in La Traviata, Rusalka, and Ana Bolena, with the Welsh National Opera School as well as Donna Ana (Don Giovanni), Fiordeligi (Cosi Fan Tutte), and Michaela (Carmen), with the Royal Opera School in Madrid.

She has given recitals at Belcanto Dordrecht Festival (Holland), Peralada Festival (Barcelona), and at major International Festivals in Bulgaria such as Sofia Music Weeks, Varna Summer, and Sofia Winter. Vania has sung the mainstream oratorio, concert and operatic repertoire in Bulgaria, Spain and the UK, in venues such as Palau De La Musica (Valencia), Cadogan Hall (London), Bulgarian National Hall, the National Palace of Culture (NDK), and Plovdiv Ancient Amphitheatre amongst others. She has performed with orchestras such as Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Sofia Philharmonic, Sofia Soloists Chamber Orchestra and Orquestra da Camera della Sardegna, under the baton of Alexander Kantorov, Alex Ingram, Rossen Milanov, Yordan Kamdzhalov, Martin Panteleev, and Stephano Seghedoni, to name a few.

Vania has taken Master Classes with Renata Scotto, Montserrat Caballé, and Mirella Freni. She was a finalist in the Premio Caruso Competition in Italy and the Logroño International Competition in Spain, where she was also awarded the competition’s only scholarship. The Bulgarian soprano is a recipient of numerous scholarships and awards, including awards from the Spanish Ministry of Education, the Donizetti Award from the Welsh National Opera School for two consecutive years, and an award from the Belcanto Festival in Doodrecht (Holland).

Vania graduated in Bulgaria and Spain with the highest qualifications in both violin and singing, and completed her postgraduate opera course at the Royal Opera School in Madrid with Professor Ana Fernaud. At the age of twenty she was appointed assistant leader at the City of Elche Chamber Orchestra, playing as a soloist on numerous occasions. Later she decided to relinquish her position in the orchestra in order to fully pursue her singing career.

Equally interested in chamber music Vania formed “Stankov Ensemble” with her husband the violinist Ivo Stankov. The duo has performed with English Chamber Orchestra and Sofia Soloists, a number of world premieres dedicated especially to them by composers such as Gheorghi Arnaoudov, Dobrinka Tabakova, Martin Georgiev and Gwyn Pritchard. Stankov Ensemble recently participated to critical acclaim in a number of International Festivals in Bulgaria and recorded their first CD at the Bulgarian National Radio.

Vania has also recorded for the major Bulgarian and Spanish Television and Radio Channels - BNR, RTVE, Antena 3, Canal 9, and TV3. As well as her numerous recordings for TV and Radio Vania recorded on CD the music to ‘Misterio de Elche’ (Mystery of Elche) – a spectacle declared by UNESCO as Patrimony of the Humanity Treasure. Her debut CD album ‘Operatic Favourites’ was also critically acclaimed by ‘Music and Vision’ - "...she seems to have a lyric voice, but one which has a richness and depth to it... Here (in Turandot) Vatralova-Stankov sounds a little like Caballé in the role…”. Her last performances on stage were with Sofia Simfonics orchestra at NDK (Sofia) and Plovdiv Ancient Amphitheatre, and with Philharmonia orchestra at the Barbican where Vania shared the stage with Nigel  Kennedy.