Memorial plaque – relief of Elena Nikolay
Village of Tserovo, Pazardzhik region
Elena Nikolay was born in 1905 in the village of Tserovo, the native village of my father. The real name of Elena Nikolay (artistic pseudonym) is Stoyanka Nikolova. Her life is full of obstacles, but in the end, the world defines her as one of the greatest opera singers of the 20th century. She sang at Milan’s La Scala, and acted in Italian cinema in the 60s.
The families of Todorov and that of Elena Nikolay were close, Viktor Todorov’s grandmother (and my great-grandmother) assisted her birth. I remember that in 2006, my father shared that the relatives of Elena Nikolay wanted him to make a relief in her honor and that they had the approval of the administration and the mayor of the village. My father agreed and started the concept project. I received photos that I needed to enlarge. After some time the project in clay and in real size was ready. Elena Nikolay’s relatives came to the studio and approved it.
After that, the relief was cast from the so-called polymer-concrete – a mixture of mosaic powder, white cement and special glue. A product with such mixture becomes stronger than stone. We went to the village of Tserovo with my father and installed the relief. The next day was the official opening. It passed with great success and approval, as by guarantors as well as the public.
A few years passed and my father said that some people suggested to Elena Nikolay’s relatives that the relief had no resemblance to the model. My father was quite indignant, but nevertheless he made a new relief and mounted it in the place of the first one. With that, the complaints stopped. This relief still stands in the native village of Elena Nikolay.
See all zoomable photos here: