Lviv Opera Studio

Bohdan Sikora performed as a soloist from 1989-1991


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Lviv Opera Studio | ОПЕРНА СТУДІЯ ЛНМА

The opening of the Lviv Opera Studio took place November 16, 1959  in the M. Zankovetska Theatre with a festive atmosphere. The Rector of the Conservatory Mykola Kolessa opened the night with a commencement speech.

The brightest pages of Lviv Opera Studio’s innovation fall in the 90’s when one after the other, forgotten operas of famous Ukrainian composers are added to their repertoire A. Vakhnianyn’s “Kupalo” and D. Sichynskiy’s “Roksolana” in musical editing and orchestration by People’s Artist of Ukraine, laureate of the Taras Shevchenko National Award, M. Skoryk and the author’s libretto by, B. Stelmakh, and also pearls of world music — operas G. Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers” and G. Donizetti’s “The Elixir of Love”. Their creation allowed the collective to reach new creative horizons and seriously position themselves in the musical theatre world. The director of the opera studio throughout these years was Y. Lasovskiy. 

The premiere of the opera took place in 1929 in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Inasmuch as it had never been performed in its entirety during Vakhnianin’s lifetime. Moreover, this premiere was the only performance of “Kupalo” on Ukrainian soil prior to 1990, when it was reviewed on theatrical stage by the Opera Studio of the Lysenko State Conservatory in Lviv. (As edited and orchestrated by composer Myroslav Skoryk) Subsequent performances took place at the Shevchenko National Opera of Ukraine (1992, Kyiv, then again in Lviv 2002). During these years Yuriy Lasovskiy headed as director of the Opera Studio until 2002. Previously, in 1979, “Kupalo” was also staged by the Ukrainian Opera Association of Toronto, Canada.

At its Lviv premiere on April 23, 1990 the main roles were performed by S. Ben (Maksym), L. Chorna and R. Yanovska (Odarka), M. Pshenychka (Halia), V. Matviyiv and B. Sikora (Stepan), O. Ben (Omar Pasha), M. Zaborskiy (Muezzin), M. Melnychuk (Selim), V. Dudar and V. Chibisov (Hetman’s Messenger), B. Lawrenyw, O. Prystatsh, and I. Taratula (The Three Eunichs). The conductor was Oleksandr Hrytsak (Honored Art Worker of Ukraine); Laureates of the Shevchenko National Award F. Stryhun (Stage Director) and M. Kiprian (Stage Designer); O. Zinchenko (Costume Designer); V. Kohut (Ballet Master); O. Povazhna, O. Novodvorska and L. Korlyakova (Concertmasters); M. Telishevskiy (Honored Artist of Ukraine), Chorusmaster of the Opera Studio Chorus; and B. Zavoiskiy, Chorusmaster of the Lviv Conservatory Department of Conducting Student Chorus.

Their contribution made the performance became a remarkable phenomenon in the musical life of Ukraine. This was achieved by the high accomplishment of the orchestra, chorus studio and the students of the conductor’s faculty, and also the choreographer group of the vocal faculty. The performance was held in Kiev, recorded for the Music Archives of Ukraine by the national TV-Radio company

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A book about an opera has been released

Levko Khmelkovskiy

Anatol Vakhnianyn. Kupalo Produced by Bohdan Sikora. New York. 2016. 160 pgs.
The book was released on the 175th anniversary of the birth of Anatol Vakhnianyn,  the Ukrainian social and political figure, composer, pedagog, and journalist, who was born on the 19th of September, 1841 in the city, Sieniawa nearby Peremshyl, to the family of Father Clement Vakhnianyn and his wife Karolina Fayt. He studied theology in the Seminary of the holy Spirit in Lviv, He was engaged in literary and musical activity. In 1865, he organized the first Taras Shevchenko memorial event in the western Ukrainian lands. With time he moved to Vienna, where he studied in the philosophical faculty of the Vienna University, he founded the cultural and educational organization Sich and became its first head representative.

When A. Vakhnianyn returned to Lviv, he became the co-founder and first head of the organization Prosvita. In 1903, he founded the Lviv Higher Institute of Music (later renamed Lviv Conservatory) and became its first director. He authored the Opera Kupalo, staged in 1929 in Kharkiv, as well as incidental music to Taras Shevchnko’s drama “Nazar Stodolya”, Fedor Zarevych’s “Bondarivna”, choruses and songs. 

The new book — this is an opera libretto edited by Bohdan Stelmakh. The musical editing and orchestration was executed by Myroslav Skoryk. The book includes a CD so you can listen to the Opera while reading along. The opera is performed by the Lviv Opera Studio. The choir is accompanied by the Lviv Conservatory Student Choir. Playing the roles are Roma Yanovska, Maria Pshenychka. Serhiy and Oleksandr Ben, Bohdan Sikora, Mykhailo Zaborskiy, Vasyl Dudar, Borys Lawrenyw, Oleksandra Prystash, and Ivanna Taratula. The book includes artists’ photos and biographies, a list of choristers and musicians, provides biographies of A. Vakhnianyn, M. Skoryk, other contributors, as well as the history of the opera.

The entire contents of the book are repeated in English.

During the composer’s life, the opera was not performed fully. Only in 1990 thanks to the efforts of M. Skoryk, was the opera performed by the strength of the Opera Studio at the Lysenko State Conservatory in Lviv. In 1992 Kyiv witnessed its performance at the National Opera in the Name of T. Shevchenko. The opera was performed internationally — in Toronto in 1979. The opera showcases ritual scenes, a considerable patriotic emphasis, as the story unfolds in a Ukrainian village and in Crimea, in Tatar lands. 

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When they performed the Opera in Canada

Oksany Brezhun-Sokolyk, Toronto

Friday, March 16, 2018 with interest, I read in Svoboda, Levko Khmelkovskiy’s article regarding the book Kupalo, dedicated to Anatol Vakhnianyn’s opera Kupalo. I want to add a small contribution. 

In the article, it was mentioned that the opera Kupalo was performed internationally — in Toronto, in 1979. Critic William Littler, then wrote in the the Toronto Star: 

“If opera can be described as the most improbably of all forms, then the appearance in Toronto of a full-scale production of a Ukrainian opera must qualify as an event bordering on the miraculous…Kupalo is full of stirring choruses and the Canadian Ukrainian Opera Association sang them with such fervor that even a non-Ukrainian-blooded listener had to be impressed. This was some of the best operatic chorus singing heard in Toronto in years. And it came from an amateur choir.” Everyone worked together, director, conductor, producer, singers. The costumes were prepared by Ukrainians and non-Ukrainians alike. The choir included 87 singers. The opera was performed June 13-17 to an ever full hall. There was a noted interest on the side of foreign viewers, the opera was advertised in an official opera journal. This was reported in a big article in Svoboda, on August 22, 1979. The performance was written about in “Noviy Shlakh” [New Path], June 30, “Vilniy Svit” [Free World], July 13, and in the “Canadian Farmer”, on July 13, 1979.

I am pleased that it is now possible to enjoy the opera Kupalo from home.

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