The Yoruba Opera’s “World Opera Day” is held every year on October 25, but the 2022 version has a very special effect and resonates with the revival and replay of a Ukrainian opera from 1929, celebrating the resistance and the nation. On this occasion, artistic forces from across the singing planet gathered:
La Couronne d’Or was composed in 1929 by Boris Liatochinski and has never been performed outside of Ukraine by artists from opera houses around the world: Helsinki, London, Rome, San Francisco, Warsaw, Washington, D.C. as well as Lviv.
Galyna Grygorenko, consultant of this wonderful show, co-founder of Open Opera Ukraine and Deputy Minister of Culture and Information of Ukraine, presents this work and this exceptional production/broadcasting at mondovision, at the following large cultural forum:
The fight for freedom
Composer Boris Latushinsky is to some extent an artistic father of Ukrainian and symphonic composers. He was a wonderful teacher at the conservatory, and he formed a new wave of leading composers in Ukraine.
this opera, golden crown (Золотий обруч) was created in 1929. It was an order of the State of the Ukrainian Socialist Republic, during the policy of korenizatsiya (Localization) which supported a return to the roots of various Soviet satellites. During this short period, it was all about promoting the grassroots roots of many of the Union Socialist Republics, but unfortunately it all ended badly.
This state commission was based on a text written by Ivan Franko, the Ukrainian poet of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, one of the three most important poets/writers of Ukraine along with Taras Shevchenko and Lysia Ukranka. the new Zakhar Barkoot By Ivan Franco deals with the struggle for freedom. This is an existential question for Ukraine, which led this battle for 300 years, because Ukraine depends on other empires (Russian and Austro-Hungarian).
The music composed by Boris Lyatushinsky is very impressive with a huge orchestra, great music. It was organized the year after its formation, almost simultaneously in Odessa, Kharkiv and Kiev. [orthographes correspondant à l’appellation ukrainienne de ces villes, ndlr]. But unfortunately it was banned the following year (while the premiere in Moscow, with Russian subtitles, was planned but with a sudden ideological change, it never happened there). These first three were also the last. Lyatochinsky was accused of “musical formalism” (the major crime in aesthetic matters according to the Soviets), and his music was removed from programs, even in Ukraine. During the Soviet Union, nothing that was not created in Moscow did not work. In order to be promoted in professional life, you had to go to Moscow, work there, and move away from folklore, as Russian culture became dominant.
This opera experienced a resurrection in the 1970s in Lviv and then in 1989 in Kyiv, still during the Soviet era, but the work was not shown after that. Boris Lituchinsky’s symphonic music is back on the shows, and this golden crown It is sometimes performed in excerpts and in concerts but without theatrical performance. So it is an important opportunity for us to highlight and raise awareness of this opera, and through it about Ukrainian composers. Many measures were taken to commemorate this composer: an award bearing his name, the apartment in which he lived became a museum.
The theme of this play is the struggle for one’s land, for one’s freedom: not to surrender in the face of invaders. The script mixes the love of the young couple with the love of the motherland (a traditional way of constructing an opera). Like the question it asks that Ukraine has its own country, its own culture, its own art is always capital, that is what makes the importance of this golden crown through the centuries.
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we and Opera Europa have been discussing how to support Ukrainian opera houses and Ukrainian artists. The idea came from director Nicholas Payne and general manager Audrey Gingers to present a Ukrainian opera. When it came to choosing a work of art for World Opera Day, there was no doubt in my mind. There are very melodious and powerful melodies in this work. The opera was written according to the Ukrainian tradition with very rich vocals (known for its clarity and proportions). Singing culture is widespread in Ukraine, it can be seen on our national holidays. The chorus of this opera is of course also very important, it is also the protagonist and an energetic group, very beautiful and also interesting.
Opera in unison
Opera Europa brought together the participants in this project, and every house in every city would record an episode of this opera, with piano accompaniment (the orchestral version that required massive training). Each participant in each house learned to sing in Ukrainian (which allowed Ukrainian singers to do vocal training, work on songs, translate texts to fully understand feelings). Each theater chose its singers, willing to learn a new play in a new language for them. We are very grateful to them for their participation in this project, and for fulfilling this challenge for an original project.
At the Lviv Opera, the soloist will be Taras Berezansky, whom I met at the Royal Opera of Versailles where Hercules sang in a productionIL JASON Written by Francesco Cavalli with Leonardo Garcia Alarcon. I found him in kyiv and now he is a permanent soloist in Lviv, while in Europe he has many contracts: his young career is already very fruitful.
A narrative was built to connect excerpts and recreate the story: we decided to release this broadcast as an exclusively original and experimental artwork on October 25, 2022, thus bringing together these different venues, from these different theaters, with their artistic strengths.
It will be a great show and experience that will also interest the professionals and the public.
Launching this on World Opera Day is great, it is a great honor to support Ukraine (and at the same time we will launch a donation campaign for the Ukrainian cultural sector, so that we can continue to support the reception of refugees in companies around the world).
Many Ukrainian artists have gained worldwide fame, but we can also support young artists, soloists and craftsmen as well. We are in contact with many of them who are currently welcome across Europe and the world, but we are eagerly awaiting their return when the situation returns to normal. Returning, they will bring us valuable experience (in Ukraine we have a system of ammunition houses, different from working in stagione).
In these trying times, Ukrainian conservatories operate in a hybrid format, with all the theoretical work on video but some practical lessons “on site”, in the academy buildings only if they are equipped with anti-bomb shelters. In Kharkiv, this is simply not possible, with the destruction of buildings and the bombing of the city. We’ve brought Covid back for distances, but musicians also need access, physical, to instruments (particularly for pianists, bassists, and double guitarists).
According to surveys, 70-80% of Ukrainian artists are still in Ukraine and work as much as possible. Our museums have placed all the precious pieces in the sanctuary but are carrying out contemporary art projects. When you enter the empty halls of a huge museum to see an exhibition that of course resonates with war, it is a special feeling but one that allows the art to continue. Dwellings and creations go on, and artistic life too.
World-renowned artists also contributed to the war effort by mobilizing troops and doing humanitarian and charitable work across the country. Artistic life never stops. She lives, even in shelters, shelters, and subway stations where children’s art classes continue.
Ukrainians around the world support our cause with their work. The Ukrainian institutes are also implementing several projects (particularly at the moment with the UK where a cultural year is planned via exchanges, which has become a Ukrainian season in the UK).
The Ukrainian cultural sector is a source of inspiration for everyone: artists continue their work and show what is the essence of life, what we fight for, our culture (the Russians bombed and destroyed even the museum dedicated to the philosopher Grigory Skovoroda, whose 300th anniversary we celebrate: this place is in the center of ” Nowhere”, so we Ukrainians see this as a deliberate attack, exclusively on our culture).
The enemy is attacking our very identity, denying our right to an independent state, an independent future, and an independent culture. So culture is our support and goal. These initiatives and these times are also an opportunity to continue promoting Ukrainian artistic culture that has long been considered marginal, folkloric, dependent on other civilizations.
The opera is a symbol of the life of the nation and the life of the city.”
golden crown It airs via OperaVision on October 25, 2022 at 7 PM (and will be available until April 25, 2023 at 12 PM), thanks to the following posts:
From the Finnish National Opera, Mina Lena Lahti will play Myroslava, Tuomas Miettola will be Maxim Berkut and Arttu Kataja Tugar Vovk accompanied by Hans-Otto Ehrström on piano.
At the Lviv National Opera, Taras Berezansky will be Zakhar Berkut with the men’s house choir and Mariana Rusak on the piano.
At the Polish National Opera, Justina Gil will be Myroslava, Adrian Domarecki Maxim Berkut and Adrian Janus Tugar Vovk accompanied by Clara Janus on piano.
At the San Francisco Opera, Stefan Egerström plays with pianist Ksenia Poltiankina Barad, Zakhar Berkut.
The Royal College of Music will bring together Michael Gibson and Jimmy Woolard (Maxim Berkut and Togar Vovk) with Paul Mackenzie on piano.
At the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Agnieszka Jadwiga Grochala, Rodrigo Ortiz and Arturo Espinosa will play Myroslava, Maxim and Zakhar Berkut with Elena Gurina on piano.
Presenter Ella Marshman and narrators Ilya Kozlov, Marina Duan, Irina Horodnica from Shenandoah University in the US will speak.
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