All About Opera and Classical Music News in 2011

In attempting to discover “what is opera”, we look at opera meaning and how to define opera.

If and when we decide to purchase opera house tickets, we want to get the best seats in order to enjoy the live performance at the opera house theatre. And, after all, the Pagliacci opera is a favourite among opera lovers. For most of us, opera singers are those who perform at the opera house and include tenors and soprano singing.

Among classical composers, Tchaikovsky is a favourite. [Tchaikovsky music](includes opera, ballet and symphonies). But, did you know that Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky had deep Ukrainian roots?

In 2011, there was much to share in all about opera music, as well as, all about classical music.

All About Opera and Classical Music in 2011
All About Opera and Classical Music in 2011

Read to Discover News in 2011

December 30, 2011

A Music Conductor Reviews, Contemplates, Ponders…..

A young opera singer fills in at the last minute. The results are unexpected. Continue reading about how new opera singers got their chance.

A young Belgian opera singer, Karen Vermeiren entranced the audience in Lviv. Continue reading about a young female opera singer.

Modern and contemporary classical music can be appreciated by a classical audience. However, it takes a great deal of work to ensure that an audience is not scared away by new composer names on concert announcements. Continue reading about modern classical music and the audience.

During the Soviet period many operas, symphonies, oratorio and cantatas were written. Why are so many of them unknown in the West? What kind of honoraria did the composers receive? Which types of music were the most respected? Continue reading about Soviet Opera.

Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) composed short Intermezzo’s for his operas instead of the classic Overture. View a video clip of a LIVE performance of Puccini’s Intermezzo from Madame Butterfly.

Opera tenors hold an esteemed position in the world of opera music. Why are audiences drawn to this particular voice? Continue reading about opera tenors.

Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857) and Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) – two composers compared. View a video clip of a LIVE performance of the Overture of the opera Ruslan and Ludmilla.

The education of young conductors is rooted in various traditions and compares to an iceberg – “wave the arms” is only the visible surface of what actually goes on. Continue reading about the traditions of training young conductors.

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky – a composer with deep Ukrainian roots. Considered to be a Russian composer, Tchaikovsky’s style of music is very different from other Russian composers. Continue reading about what makes Tchaikovsky a unique composer.

Have we no National Pride? Why are we not acknowledging, promoting and appreciating out own? Continue reading about national pride in music.

December 15, 2011

Secrets of Choosing the Best Seats from an Opera House Seating Chart

Have you ever looked at an opera house seating chart and wondered where the best seat is?

Perhaps, you are a regular opera enthusiast. And, you are planning to attend an opera performance in an house of opera you have never been to. What are the points you need to consider?

Perhaps, you are a newbie to the world of opera. Would you like some insight on where to start trying out the various seating options?

Listen to opera music online from Georges Bizet’s Carmen as you discover how to choose the best seat in the house from an opera house seating chart.
Continue reading about choosing seats from an opera house seating chart.

Opera House Seating Chart
Opera House Seating Chart

December 8, 2011

A Concert of Ukrainian Music at the Lviv Philharmonia

«Ukrainians possess a huge quantity of classical music. Unfortunately, this music is rarely performed and, as a result, is not well known. Around the world, many countries establish airtime quotas; for example, Canada, Australia, France… Experience in these and other countries has shown that such quotas encourage young performers, composers and authors to create, produce and grow, which subsequently enables the development of high-quality products» – said Myron Yusypovych.

Ukrainian Music in Lviv, Ukraine
Ukrainian Music in Lviv, Ukraine

November 26, 2011

A Day of Mourning in Memory of the Victims of the Holodomor

Flags will be lowered to half-mast on all government buildings tomorrow. A black ribbon, a sign of mourning, will be tied to all flags on residential buildings… Symbolic candles will be lit in memory of the innocent victims in the square in front of the Taras Shevchenko Monument at 4:00pm. On this day, a Special Commemorative Concert-Requiem to the memory of the victims of the Holodomor took place at the Lviv Opera … «As we remember the victims of the Holodomor, we remind ourselves of this monstrous occurrence in our history and ponder the inadmissibility of it ever happening again the future. I am a musician – a conductor. Consequently, on this day I will be standing on the conductor's podium and will be conducting a Concert-Requiem. From time immemorial, music inspired, pacified and united. I invite everyone to join us at the Opera House as we remember the victims of the Holodomor» – said conductor Myron Yusypovych at the press conference.

Holodomor – A Day of Mourning
Holodomor – A Day of Mourning

October 30, 2011

The First Belgian Soprano Performs at the Lviv Opera

On the occasion of the 180th Anniversary of the Belgian monarchy, Karen Vermeiren charmed the audience with her vocal mastery….

This soloist has Ukrainian roots. Her grandmother was from the village of Oleksandrivka in the Zaporizhia region of Ukraine. During WWII she emigrated to Germany, and subsequently to Belgium. Nevertheless, for Karen, this was her first trip to her ancestral homeland.

The Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of Belgium in the City of Lviv, Mr. Yaroslav Hartsula, addressed the audience with official greetings…

The evening was By Royal Command – Celebrating Belgium. The opera singer was accompanied by the Lviv Opera Orchetra. Myron Yusypovych conducted…

Under Karen Vermeiren's soprano, the audience immersed itself first, into the humorous motif's of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro and Don Juan and then, into the lyrico-tragic arias, where the singer transformed herself into the various heroines. In her voice, we sensed Cio-Cio San from the opera Madama Butterfly by Puccini, Elisabeth from Wagner's Tannhäuser and Rusalka from Dvorzak's opera. With bated breath, the audience experienced the incredible musical tension present in the performance by the orchestra of a ballet suite fragment from the opera Faust by Gounod and The Stolen Happiness by Mejtus. At the end of the eveing, Karen Vermeiren delighted and surprised the Lviv audience, when she performed On a moonlight night in Ukrainian.

180 Years of the Belgian Monarchy with Soprano Karen Vermeiren
180 Years of the Belgian Monarchy with Soprano Karen Vermeiren

October 15, 2011

Definition of Opera

What is a simple definition of opera? A dictionary definition of opera? Opera defined from an Italian perspective? Opera defined from a contemporary opera organization’s point of view? An opera conductor’s perspective on the definition of opera?

Listen to the famous Toreador Song and March from the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet
Discover the many definitions of opera
Continue reading about what is The Opera?
We recommend - 6 Reasons to Attend Open Air Concerts

Opera is Music
Opera is Music

October 5, 2011

Interesting Fun Facts About the House of Opera in Lviv, Ukraine

The Lviv House of Opera is a unique cultural, historical, architectural and social institution.

Situated in the Western regions of Ukraine, the Lviv Opera House celebrated its 110th Anniversary in 2010.

Continue reading to discover the interesting features of the Solomija Kruszelnicka House of Opera and Ballet in Lviv, Ukraine.

We recommend:

House of Opera in Lviv, Ukraine
House of Opera in Lviv, Ukraine

July 28, 2011

Did Leoncavallo Lie About Where He Got the Idea for the Clown Opera Pagliacci?

Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857-1919) was slapped with a lawsuit for plagiarizing the plot for the opera Pagliacci. In his defense, Leoncavallo claimed that the opera plot was based on a childhood experience.

But, evidence seems to suggest that Leoncavallo lied. There are a lot of similarities between the works of:

Continue reading Tonio is the Evil Clown in the Opera Pagliacci

The Leoncavallo Opera in Lviv, Ukraine
The Leoncavallo Opera in Lviv, Ukraine

June 18, 2011

The Citizens of Lviv Remember the Victims of 1941

…exactly 70 years ago, between May and July 1941, two totalitarian ideologies, communism and fascism, battled for supremacy. The citizens of Lviv had the misfortune to experience the full brutality of each regime. The local population, people of many different nationalities, became the victims of this ideological battle. And so, it is the responsibility of every one of us, who is alive today, to honour their memory and to remind ourselves about potential current threats – emphasized M.Yusypovych.

He explained why he specifically chose Symphony №14 by Dmitri Shostokovich. In this piece, the composer was able to to express the feelings of an individual, who had personally experienced the horrors of the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century through a synthesis of words and music…. (Ninel Kysilevska UKRINFORM)

Lviv Remembers the Victims of 1941
Lviv Remembers the Victims of 1941

June 10, 2011

Young Opera Stars

On June 10, 2011, at the Lviv Philharmonia, we experienced a concert of young opera singers that, without exaggeration, can be called an event of high artistic merit.

Five young opera singers, winners of various international vocal competitions, performed a solid program from the classical opera repertoire.

Every member of this brilliant group of five presented a clear and full opera voice. Each had a unique vocal timbre. But, it wasn't just their voices. In addition to demonstating an extremely high level of vocal mastery, clarity and expression, they portrayed extraordinary elegance and stage presence. When you consider that these young performers are in their early 20s, it becomes even more incredible.

I fully appreciated all five: Medet Chotabaev (tenor), Amartuvshin Enkhbat (bass-baritone), Maria Kublashvili (coloratura soprano), Alexei Lavrov (baritone), Anne Derouard (dramatic soprano). However, the singer from Mongolia deserves special mention.

The performance by 24 year old Amartuvshin of Rigoletto's aria «Cortigiani, vil razza dannata» from G.Verdi's opera was a revelation and a bombshell. And, I mean this as an experienced conductor. For me, it was that rare occurrence when all nuances of the opera character's portrayal were met. The young bass-baritone fulfilled all of the norms and requirements of classical opera, while maintaining a true Verdi style of vocal performance.

I predict that no matter how much Amartuvshin may love the great expanses of his homeland, he will not remain in Ulaanbaatar for long. There is a great world waiting to discover him.

My hope is that, in the not too distant future, when he travels from Mongolia to some Staatsoper or Teatro Dell'Opera, he makes a small detour and, once again, visits Lviv.

Amartuvshin, Battumur, Kublashvili, Yusypovych, Derouard, Deleu. Lavrov, Molchanov, Chotabaev.
back l-r: Amartuvshin, S.Battumur, M.Kublashvili, M.Yusypovych, A.Derouard, E.Deleu. front l-r: A.Lavrov, S.Molchanov, M.Chotabaev.

May 30, 2011

What About Opera Tenors?

In the opera world, opera tenors hold an esteemed position. Many would agree that the opera tenor (or, at least those tenors, who truly sparkle) are «the icing on the cake» in any opera performance.

Since The Three Tenors in Concert project propelled the opera tenor to international fame, the popularity of opera tenors has skyrocketed around the world. Suddenly, people who had never previously listened to opera music, decided they like it and wanted to attend a performance.

I have had the opportunity to entertain an audience wanting to listen and see the tenor perform in concert. The success of such shows was practically guaranteed. In my experience, this phenomenon is the same everywhere – Canada, Poland, Germany and Ukraine.

Continue reading MusicNotes on Opera Tenors
Discover the Europejski Festiwal im. Jana Kiepury with 6 Tenors – Trzebinia, Poland

6 Opera Tenors in Poland
6 Opera Tenors in Poland

May 6, 2011

Combining the Baroque Period, Holy Week and a Music Concert

Visit the Johann Georg Pinzel Museum and view the art of the baroque period. Go to St. George's Cathedral or the Church of the Blessed Sacrament (Dominican Church and Monastery) and get a sense of baroque architecture. Come to the Lviv Philharmonia for a baroque period music concerts.

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741), Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713), George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736) – baroque music composers.

During the baroque period, the audience sat on stools or benches. Chairs, as we know them today, were not invented until the late baroque period. Of course, audiences today, as compared to our ancestors of yesterday, can sit comfortably on the new seats at the Lviv Philharmonia and enjoy our concert of baroque period composers and music», said conductor Myron Yusypovych.

During the Season of Lent, the well-known liturgical hymn «A Mother's Sorrow» (Stradalna maty) is sung in our churches.

Baroque Music Concerts
Baroque Music Concerts

April 4, 2011

Famous Italian Operas Everyone Ought to Know

Many of us, when we hear the word “opera”, instantly think of famous Italian operas.

Where did opera originate? In Italy. Who wrote the first opera? An Italian. Who invented opera? The Italians. Who started opera? The Italians.

What do the names Amilcare, Giuseppe, Gioachino, Gaetano, Giacomo, Pietro, Ruggero, Vincenzo have in common? Do the titles Pagliacci, Cavalleria Rusticana and Va, pensiero from Nabucco sound familiar?

Continue reading about the fascinating world of famous Italian operas

Famous Italian Operas
Famous Italian Operas

March 29, 2011

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky – a Russian Musical Phenomenon? {Peter-Ilyich-Tchaikovsky}

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky would have been 170 years old on May 7, 2010.

Curiously, this purely Russian form of addressing someone by their name, patronymic and surname is applied to this particular composer mostly in the West. Alexander Borodin, Sergei Rachmaninoff or Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov are known by their names and surnames. And yet, there is an insistence on using Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Obviously, this tendency comes from a desire to emphasize the Russian tradition of addressing someone.

And so, I, once again, thought about the Ukrainian roots of this musical genius and composer.

Continue reading Classical MusicNotes on Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

March 21, 2011

Famous Female Opera Singers

Mezzo soprano Ira Malaniuk (1919 – 2009) was:

  • awarded the prestigious Kammersängerin award twice
  • performed as resident soloist in Zurich, Bayreuth, Munich and Vienna
  • toured North America, South America and Australia.

Malaniuk performed with the Swiss soprano Lisa della Casa:

  • in the world premiere performance of Die Schwarze Spinne (The Black Spider) Zurich Opera House (Stadttheater) – composer Willy Burkhard, librettist Robert Faesi in 1949
  • at the season premiere, opera theatre in Zurich in Erwin und Elmire – composer Othmar Schoeck in 1949-1950
  • at the innaugural orchestra concert, Salzburger Festspiele under the musical direction of Bruno Walter in 1956.

According to her personal autobiographical calculations, during her opera career Ira Malaniuk performed:

  • 270 times as a soloist at the Volksoper Wien
  • 212 times as a soloist at the Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper).

Listen to the voice of Ira Malaniuk – a great among female opera singers.

Female Opera Singers Ira Malaniuk, Lisa della Casa
Female Opera Singers Ira Malaniuk, Lisa della Casa

March 18, 2011

Myron Yusypovych Presents Young Opera Singers

15 young opera artists (13 singers and 2 conductors) will perform a unique concert program at the Lviv Opera House on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 6:00pm. The evening's artistic direction is in the hands of the experienced conductor, Myron Yusypovych.

«Famous opera houses around the world, such as the Metropolitan Opera and the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto, have special programs that nurture, stimulate and engage young performers. Ukraine has some incredible voices. If we want opera in Ukraine to develop and grow, it is imperative that we create a variety of opportunities for audiences to get to know and love our talented young people» – said Myron Yusypovych.

13 young opera singers will participate in the concert: sopranos Tetiana Olenych, Lyubov Kachala and Veronika Kolomishcheva; mezzosopranos Marfa Shumkova, Yana Voytyuk and Lyubov Dika; tenor Vasyl Sadovskyy; baritones Yuriy Shevchuk, Ruslan Ferants, Peter Radejko, Andriy Benyuk and Vitaliy Zahorbenskyy, bass Ihor Nazarov. Additionally, Andriy Savka, an experienced tenor has agreed to help out.

The first part of the concert will be conducted by young conductors Oleksandr Slobodyan and Roland Marchuk. In the second half, Maestro Myron Yusypovych will be on the conductor's podium.

«For the Lviv audience, this is a unique opportunity to hear and experience 14 different opera singers over the course of 2 hours. Everything will be staged according to the traditions of the house of opera – full orchestra, lights, costumes» – explained Myron Yusypovych and invited everyone to the concert.

Discover more:

Young Opera Singers
Young Opera Singers

March 12, 2011

An Enchanted Evening from Lviv at the Cultural Centre in Lancut

On Saturday, at 6:00pm, there was a concert in the Lancut Cultural Centre. Lviv Opera and Lviv Philharmonia soloists and musicians performed An Enchanted Evening from Lviv.

This evening, well-known artists of the Lviv Opera and Lviv Philharmonia performed before the Lancut audience: the orchestra under the direction of Myron Jusypowicz and opera singers – Natalia Dytiuk, Piotr Radejko and Vasyl Sadovski.

The evening included works by famous composers Johann Strauss, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Franz Lehar. The audience had the opportunity to listen to the arias «A Lively Spirit» (Als flotter Geist) and «Lips Stay Silent» (Lippen schweigen). Also included were songs from the popular Lviv repertoire were included. The audience reacted enthusiatically to Hej Sokoly (O, Falcons!), a favourite and widely appreciated song on both sides of the Polish-Ukrainian border. The commentary, that accompanied the pieces, added considerably to the audience's music appreciation.

«It was an absolutely wonderful evening. I feel uplifted and I'm sure this feeling will stay with me for a long time,» – commented a member of that evening's audience.

Lancut partook in a cultural experience today. During the 2 hour concert, the audience had the opportunity to immerse itself in the world of opera and operetta, to listen to the sound of this extraordinary music. For the audience that filled the hall, An Enchanted Evening from Lviv became an opportunity, albeit for a short time, to disengage from daily cares and blissfully float along with the instrumental melodies.

Wiadomości Gabriela Blajer

View a music video clip and report from Polish TV of the concert in Lancut, Poland. (a new window will open)

Continue reading about performances in Poland

Enchanted Evening from Lviv, Ukraine in Lancut, Poland
Enchanted Evening from Lviv, Ukraine in Lancut, Poland

March 10, 2011

Myron Yusypovych Discusses the Job of the Opera Prompter

For the past 50 years, it has become traditional in our opera theatre that the job of the prompter is a jump-off point for future conductors. It is good for a conductor to spend time in the promoter's box. This is excellent experience. Personally, I spent 4 years there while a student at the Conservatory…

The job of the prompter in an opera theatre involves not just sitting and prompting. If we compare the opera singer to a dramatic actor, then in an opera the singer finds himself in stressful situations much more frequently. A dramatic actor has more freedom since he or she is not bound by the music. An actor can pause, stop, stretch out or speed up the text. In an opera, on the other hand, everything depends on the score. The prompter guides the entry and the words for the opera singer, allowing the singer the freedom to concentrate on portraying the character….

The timbre of the prompt has to be between a whisper and a regular voice. Interestingly, on some old recordings of Italian productions at La Scala, the work of the prompter is very audible. Indeed, as a conductor standing on the conductor's podium, I can hear who is working in the prompter's shell.…

When I worked in the prompter's box, I felt like a flight dispatcher. For, when an extreme situation occurs on stage, a good prompter can save the entire performance…

Valeriya Radziyevska, Krajina (The Nation)

Continue reading: Opera Characteristics. What is The Opera?

Job of the Opera Prompter
Job of the Opera Prompter

March 1, 2011

Tenors BEL'CANTO – Sold Out Performance

…Myron Yusypovych brought in a sold-out crowd for the Tenors BEL'CANTO concert… Vasyl Ponayda, Roman Trokymuk, Taras Hloba and Roman Antonyuk performed…

Under the direction of conductor Yusypovych, the orchestra performed the J.Strauss Tritsch-Tratsch Polka absolutely brilliantly and the audience was exhuberant.

«It is thrilling to be able to conduct such concerts and to showcase Lviv talent. And most importantly, the Lviv audience appreciates it» – said Myron Yusypovych.

Tenors BEL’CANTO in Lviv, Ukraine
Tenors BEL’CANTO in Lviv, Ukraine

February 27, 2011

Serenade Music of Spring

Serenade Music of Spring will be presented on February 27 in Lviv. This concert will take place at the Lviv Oblast Philharmonia. The Chamber Orchestra Lviv Virtuosos will perform. Myron Yusypovych will conduct. The concert program includes pieces by Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart, Antonin Leopold Dvorak and Valentin Silvestrov. The Serenade Music of Spring concert will begin at 6:00pm.

Serenade Music
Serenade Music

February 21, 2011

A Poetry Forum Held in Lviv

On the occasion of «International Mother Language Day», Myron Yusypovych participated in a National Poetry Forum «Ukrainian Mother Language», which took place in Lviv, Ukraine on February 21, 2011. About 70 community activists from different cities of Ukraine travelled to Lviv for the event.

For 6 hours, participants could listen to poetry and literary works, singing and music by authors, poets and musicians from all of Ukraine in the Great Hall at Lviv City Hall.Myron Yusypovych read his poems that have been published in two anthologies: Why Bother Picking up a Violin? and It's Not Just Love…

The organizors posted the presentations on YouTube (a new window will open). Myron Yusypovych can be seen at the 3:31 mark.

Poetry Forum
Poetry Forum

February 28, 2011

Lviv Cultural Events' (December 2010 – January 2011)

An absolutely brilliant idea where one project combines music, scenic design and lights. Our respects to Myron Yusypovych, idea creator! Of all the «spheres», the most harmonically joined were music and Yevhen Lysyk's scenic designs… On the whole, a rare project that is extremely interesting and worth persuing, hopefully making it into a yearly tradition. This would allow for a more complete performance, as well as a wonderful opportunity to see the unique canvases of a wonderful theatre artist, to listen to beautiful music and to enjoy the play of lights. In short, to become immersed in the «harmony of the spheres».

Natalka Kosmolinska, Bozhena Horodnytska, Taras Fedorchak, Kateryna Slipchenko, Lida Melnyk Centre for Cultural Management

The Ukrainian conductor, Myron Yusypovych, has produced an art project, Harmony of the Spheres, on the stage of the Lviv National Solomiya Kruszelnicka Opera and Ballet Theatre. The artistic vision of this opera and symphony conductor is to present classical music to people who believe that, because they are not sufficiently musically educated, they don't understand opera or symphonies and, as a result, don't make it a point to frequent the theatre. The production is a unique world premiere of musical-art theatre – the visual in sound. A grand spectacle is created through the combination of three artistic spheres: music, art and light.….

Larysa Marchuk, Viche – A Journal of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

Lviv Cultural Events
Lviv Cultural Events

February 4, 2011

Open Air Music and Fireworks Concert

A fireworks concert on an open air stage is very popular with audiences during the summer months of July and August.

The most popular classical music pieces for a fireworks display are:

  • Music for the Royal Fireworks by Georg Frideric Handel
  • The Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa
  • The 1812 Overture by Piotr Tchaikovsky
  • Ride of the Valkyries by Richard Wagner
  • Polovetsian Dances by Alexander Borodin

The first recorded performance of fireworks and music was in the 18th century. It was an expensive undertaking. Today, purchasing fireworks is easy. And so, local festivals and celebrations often include fireworks at the end or finale of free outdoor concerts.

View a music video clip of the finale of a fireworks concert.

Fireworks Concert
Fireworks Concert

January 4, 2011

Singers Sing Opera in Ukraine at Open Air Concerts

Opera and classical music are part of the popular culture in Ukraine.

The opera Zaporozhian Cossack Beyond the Danube by the Ukrainian opera composer Semen Hulak-Artemovsky (1813 – 1873) is considered to be the first opera with a Ukrainian language libretto.

See a video performance of the duet between the wife-husband duo of Odarka – mezzosoprano and Karas – bass – one of the most famous and popular parts of the opera.

Opera in Ukraine
Opera in Ukraine