Manca Izmajlova (mezzo-soprano) and Benjamin Izmajlov (producer, composer, conductor and violin soloist) began working on the project in 2006. It was then they recorded the very first Slavic Soul album, titled Slovanska duša (in Slovenia) Славянская душа (in Russia) and Far Away (in South Korea for Asian market). The songs were recorded at the Grand Hall of the Moscow Philharmonic Society, accompanied by Russsian State Symphony Cinema Orchestra. The insightful idea to re-orchestrate a selection of the most beautiful songs from Slavic nations, for voice, violin and symphonic orchestra and sing them in original languages, has become the first symphonic operatic project with Slavic music in the world - The Slavic Soul.
The resulting album was immediately sold out in Slovenia, achieving platinum sales and was later released in Russia and South Korea. This album included songs from eight Slavic countries; with compositions ranging from Tchaikovsky and Chopin to traditional, movie and popular songs of the 20th Century. The public was quick to demand live performances, and here the story really began.
Fans from across Europe and around the world demanded live performances based on the original project, but additional songs were needed for a gala concert. So Manca & Benjamin developed more songs and melodies from the grand musical heritage of Slavic countries, representing a musical aesthetic that has taken shape over centuries. To be able to share even more emotions and enrich the concerts, a choir was added to the new orchestrations creating performances of more than 150 musicians on stage. This move has allowed the public to fully grasp the immense beauty of historic Slavic music.
Concerts in Ljubljana, Slovenia at the Gallus Hall of Cankar Centre, and in Belgrade, Serbia at the Grand Hall of Sava Centre were sold out. The public rewarded the artists with standing ovations and national TV stations in both countries recorded them and broadcasted the show as prime time programing. Shortly afterwards, the artists returned to the place where it all began - The Grand Hall of the Moscow Philharmonic Society. This concert ended with standing ovations and was broadcasted live to the whole world!
"The usual Moscow carefulness and coldness to the new soloists has melted away at the third song, the applauses were getting stronger and stronger and - true ovations in the end. The concert was long, it lasted 3 hours together with encores. The spoiled and unpredictable audience in Moscow is used to getting up and many people leave the hall before the long concerts are completely over. This time, it was maybe 3 or 4 people out of 1.500. It was a complete success, a triumph that many would give their life for..."
- Russian Press covering the Moscow concert of The Slavic Soul
Benjamin Izmajlov is an artist with an international career as a violinist. He is also a guest solist of the Moscow Philharmonic society, performing with many acknowledged musicians and orchestras. As a producer he has confirmed himself with many successful projects. He also the founder of the Slovenian Diplomatic concert and the International Music Academy Giuseppe Tartini. Benjamin Izmajlov has conducted several orchestras and has written, orchestrated and arranged pieces for it.
Manca Izmajlova is an extremely versatile singer. Mezzo-soprano, known for the beauty of her voice, combined with a strong emotional performance. In her career she has performed all around the world, in more than 1000 performances. She often performs infront of heads of states, aristocracy and diplomats. Manca Izmajlova sings in several genres and in 25 languages
and is the brand ambassador of Viennese jewellery house FREYWILLE.