Russlan Raycheff

He was born in Milan on 5/5/1924 and died in 2006. He studied piano in Milan under Carolo Onati, and in Bulgaria under Panka Pelisek and Andrey Stoyanov. He continued studies at the Vienna Music Academy under Leopold Raichwein, Emil Sauer and Karl Böhm. He began his career as assistant conductor at the Vienna State Opera (1942/43) and continued as conductor at the Opera of Königsberg/Kaliningrad (1943/44). After the war, he was actively involved in invigorating the Bulgarian musical life. He was hired as conductor with the newly established opera of Varna (1946-1948), while he then successively served as conductor (1948), principal conductor and artistic general director at the Sofia National Opera and Ballet (1978-1981). In 1954 he founded and inaugurated the State Opera of Plovdiv (Philippoupolis). In 1968 he was appointed artistic director with the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra, while from 1974 to 1978 he was general manager with the Schleswig-Holstein Opera (Germany). He was music director at the Opera of Sofia for seven years (1981-1989), while at the same time he regularly conducted in the operas of Paris and Vienna, as well as La Scala Milan. He has conducted in Europe and the US. In 1993 he was appointed head of the Orchestra of the Bulgarian National Radio. He has a very extensive repertory of lyric works. In 1982 he was declared Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters in France. He conducted recordings of operas in Bulgaria (War and Peace, National Opera of Sofia), France (Boris Godunov, Paris Opera, 1980), US (Aida, DELTA, 1994), Canada and Japan. At the GNO he conducted the operas The Queen of Spades [Dame Pique] (Olympia Theater, 1979/80) and The troubadour [Il trovatore] (Olympia Theater, 1981/82).