Singers Sing Opera in Ukraine at Open Air Music Concerts

Opera and classical music are part of the popular culture in Ukraine. Some of the more popular Ukrainian songs and melodies have been immortalized in opera and classical music.

When Ukrainians gather anywhere in the world, there will inevitably be a group of singers that will begin to sing. If the group is really enthusiastic, they will get others to clap, hum or sing the song’s refrains.

Any wedding, birthday or anniversary celebration can attest to this love of singing by Ukraine’s people. If they’ve had too much to drink, the singers might get off key or sing too loudly. But, in most cases, these lovers of music will harmonize and do it well!!!

The video above is of an opera duet performed in Ivano-Frankivsk, on May 7, 2009. It is an excerpt from the opera Zaporozhian Cossack Beyond the Danube. Mezzo soprano singer Nataliya Datsko as Odarka and bass singer Yuriy Trytsetskyy as the Kozak Karas are featured. The INSO-Lviv Orchestra is conducted by Myron Yusypovych.

What is Going On in this Opera Duet sung by singers in Ukraine?

Opera Singers from Ukraine
Opera Singers from Ukraine

The Kozak Karas has returned home from a night of drinking. He is met by his wife Odarka and an argument develops.

Odarka wants to know where her husband has been and accuses him of lying to her. Karas tries to weasel his way out of a bad situation and to placate his wife.

Odarka threatens to leave him and live independently. Karas begs her to stay and promises to be good.

Odarka and Karas express their frustration with each other.

In the end, a type of married truce is reached.

What Opera is Associated With Ukraine?

Opera in Ukraine
Opera in Ukraine

The opera Zaporozhian Cossack Beyong the Danube by the Ukrainian opera composer Semen Hulak-Artemovsky (1813 – 1873) is considered to be the first opera with a Ukrainian language libretto. In Ukrainian, the opera is called Запорожець за Дунаєм – transliterated from Cyrillic as Zaporozhets za Dunajem.

The staged opera features colourful costumes of the Cossack era. The story line deals with a period of history when in the 18th century, the Kozak’s emigrated en mass from the Russian Empire and settled in present day Romania in the Danube Valley by the River Danube (Donau).

Where in Ukraine Was This Opera Duet Performed?

Gala Symphony Concert in Ivano-Frankivsk
Gala Symphony Concert in Ivano-Frankivsk

Two years ago, I spent quite a bit of time and effort to revive the tradition of open-air classical music concerts in Lviv. In 2007, we started to perform such concerts with a full symphony orchestra and opera singers in Lviv’s city center on Rynok Square. Now, it appears, that this venture is gaining popularity in Ukraine

During the past two years (2007 and 2008), we had a very active open-air concert season in Lviv. There were 5 concerts performed by various symphony orchestras and different opera singers, as well as a number of similar concerts performed by chamber orchestras. Now the trend has moved to Ivano-Frankivsk.

On May 7, 2009, a grand Gala-Concert took place at Ivano-Frankivsk’s central square, Sheptytsky Place (A. Sheptytsky Majdan), on the occasion of the city’s 347th Anniversary.

The INSO (International New Symphony Orchestra) of Lviv performed. Soloists from the Lviv, Kyiv and Wroclaw opera theatres sang popular fragments from the operas of Wagner, Verdi, Mozart, Bizet, Lysenko, as well as Neopolitan and Ukrainian songs.

It was an incredibly gratifying feeling to see the faces of listeners, who in spite of the cold evening air, listened eagerly not only to the popular Ukrainian and Neopolitan songs or the well known duet by Odarka and Karas from the popular Zaporozhian Kozak Beyond the Danube by S. Hulak-Artymovsky, but also to the brilliant overtures from The Marriage of Figaro by M.A. Mozart, Ruslan and Ludmilla by M.Glinka or even Lohengrin by R. Wagner.

(Myron Yusypovych blog entry – May 7, 2009)