Emil Ivanov was born in Rom, Italy. He studied at the Music Academy of Sofia, and his operatic debut as Foresto in Verdi’s Attila was in Sofia.
He started his international career after winning the Belvedere Competition in Vienna (1986), singing in Don Carlo, Ernani,Tosca in different theaters in Germany and Swiss (Essen, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, St.Gallen,Zürich, etc).
In 1989 his Italian debut as Radames in Aida took place at the Arena Sferisterio in Macerata, where he returned with Il Trovatore and Tosca. In 1990 he sang for the first time at the Arena di Verona, where in the next years he would sing in Aida.
In 1991 started his cooperation with Wiener Staatsoper where for many years he has performed in Tosca, Il Trovatore, Carmen, Aida, Traviata, Madama Butterfly, Boris Godunov, Chowanchtina, Rusalka and other titles.
In 1992 was his debut at New York’s Metropolitan Opera as Cavaradossi in Puccini’s Tosca, where he would return for the next few seasons.
In the period 1994 – 1997 he sang in many major Italian theatres such as Roma, Florence, Bologna,Verona, Macerata, Palermo, Cagliari a.o.
In February 1997 he sang for the first time on the stage of Milan’s Teatro alla Scala as Enzo in Ponchielli’s La Gioconda. Again with Teatro alla Scala in Milano he played the title role in Giordano’s Andrea Chenier.
In 2002 he made his debut as Carlo in Verdi’s I Masnadieri at the London’s Covent Garden. The Ivanov’s huge repertoire includes more than 45 operatic titles of Verdi, Puccini, Leoncavallo, Mascagni, Bellini, Giordano, Catalani, Bizet, Dvorak, Mussorgski and more.
The tenor presents himself often as a concert and oratorical singer.
In his long career Ivanov has sung with most of the biggest opera names such as Fiorenza Cossotto, Mirella Freni, Agnes Baltsa, Ghena Dimitrova, Raina Kabaivanska, Maria Guleghina, Pierro Cappuccilli,Renato Bruson, Matteo Manuguerra, Leo Nucci, Nikolaj Ghiaurov, Ruggiero Raimondi, etc. He performed under such great conductors as Claudio Abbado, Nello Santi, Anton Guadagno, Fabio Luisi, Vaclav Neumann, Gustav Kuhn, Vladimir Fedossejev and many others.