M. Košir, P. Bedjanič: VALERIJA HEYBAL, THE FORGOTTEN SLOVENE PRIMA DONNA
17.00–18.00: Presentation of the monograph „Valerija Heybal – Slovenia‘s forgotten prima donna”
18.00–18.30: Presentation of Marko Košir‘s exhibition on Valerija Heybal
More than half a century has passed since the last performance by Valerija Heybal (1918–1994) on the operatic stage in Slovenia. None of the excellent Slovene sopranos since then has been as popular with audiences and as esteemed by critics as Valerija Heybal. At the age of just 20 she debuted as Djula in the opera Ero z onega sveta (literally “Ero from the Other World”, sometimes translated as “Ero the Joker”), and immediately afterwards, on 15 August 1938, signed an engagement with the Ljubljana Opera. In her very first season she appeared in 13 different roles. She continued to sing in Ljubljana until the end of 1947, after which she departed for Belgrade, where she remained until her retirement. In the mid-1950s she recorded the principal soprano roles in the operas Eugene Onegin, The Queen of Spades, Prince Igor and The Snow Maiden for the Decca label; still highly prized today, these recordings brought her fame and took her around the world. In the years 1952–1954 she appeared regularly in Berne. She also performed in Israel, Austria, Germany, Poland, Egypt, Italy, Switzerland, London, Brussels and elsewhere. She sang almost the entire repertoire for dramatic soprano. The legendary conductor Samo Hubad once described her in a radio broadcast as “the Slovene Maria Callas”.
The book focuses on Valerija Heybal’s artistic journey. As well as an exact chronological description of her career, this artistic biography contains notes on all her important colleagues, portraits, a discography, descriptions of opera houses at home and around Europe where she had longer engagements or was a frequent guest, either alone or with opera companies from Ljubljana, Zagreb, Belgrade and Maribor. The book also contains a list of all her performances in operas, concerts and recitals.
The exhibition illustrates all the significant events in the life of the famous Kamnik-born soprano.
Marko Košir, co-author of the book and exhibition