Elena Nicolai

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Stoyanka Savova Nikolova (Bulgarian: Стоянка Савова Николова), best known by her stage name Elena Nicolai (Bulgarian: Елена Николай) (24 January 1905 – 23 October 1993), was a Bulgarian operatic mezzo-soprano.

Early Life and training[edit]

Nicolai was born in the village of Tzerovo, Pazardzhik, Bulgaria. She spent her childhood in another Bulgarian town, Panagurishte. At the age of 19, she moved to Milan to study opera, first with Vincenzo Pintorno and later with Ettore Pozzoli.[1]

Operatic career[edit]

She made her operatic debut as Maddalena in Verdi's Rigoletto in 1932. She spent 20 seasons as a leading mezzo-soprano at Milan's Teatro alla Scala. After her retirement from opera, she became an actress and had a short film career, starring in seven movies in the period between 1963-68.[citation needed]

She recorded complete operas for RAI and EMI: Eboli in Don Carlos with Antonietta Stella, Boris Christoff, and Tito Gobbi stands out among the others, which include the Grand Vestale in La vestale and Cuniza in Oberto, both with Maria Vitale, Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana with Mario del Monaco, the Principessa in Adriana Lecouvreur with Mafalda Favero, and Preziosilla in La forza del destino with Callas. She sang Wagnerian roles, including Brünnhilde in 'Die Walküre' at the Verona Arena.[citation needed]

Roles Sung[edit]




Nicolai Peak in Antarctica is named after Elena Nicolai.


  • Nicolai, Elena (1993). La mia vita fra i grandi del melodramma. Parma: Azzali. p. 200.


  1. ^ Rasponi, Lanfranco (1982). The Last Prima Donnas. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 44. ISBN 0-394-52153-6.

External links[edit]