The Bulgarian bass-baritone Nicolai Ghiaurov, best known for his King Philipp (Don Carlos), was born in Velingrad on 13 September 1929.
His career was launched by a competition win in 1955, and in 1957 he made his début at the Vienna Opera and soon became one of the biggest opera stars of his time. Legendary were also his performances with Italian soprano Mirella Freni, who became his second wife. In 1985, Ghiaruov became an Austrian citizen.
Ghiaurov's last home was in Modena, where he unexpectedly died at the age of seventy four on 2 June 2004.