Operas of Heorhiy Maiboroda

Revolution and the history of the Soviet people, the urgent issues of our times, the worldwide struggle for peace, freedom and independence, and international workers’ solidarity — these are probably the most popular themes in Soviet Ukrainian drama, opera, ballet and operetta.

An especially great contribution to this theme has been made by the famous composer Heorhiy Maiboroda, People’s Artist of the USSR and winner of a UkrSSR State Shevchenko Prize. Many of his grand operas have been premiered at the Kiev Opera with which lie maintains a strong friendship.

Among his best creations are Milana, Arsenal, Taras Shevchenko and Yaroslav the Wise.

Milana, devoted to the struggle of Transcarpathia’s best sons and daughters for reunification with Soviet Ukraine, was first produced in November 1957 and since then has held a prominent place in the repertoire of the Kiev Opera. One of its characters, Rushchak, an old communist leading the struggle in the underground, was created by Boris Hmirya, People’s Artist of the USSR. It marked a great achievement of this famous operatic singer.

The then budding singer Dmitro Hnatyuk performed the part of Martin, a young communist selflessly defending the people’s cause, with great emotional conviction. To this day it is one of Hnatyuk’s most favoured parts. People’s Artist of the USSR Yevgenia Miroshnichenko, a rare coloratura soprano, created the enchanting character of Jolan, the true love of Martin. The part of Milana, a brave underground resistance fighter, was evocatively sung by Yevdokia Kolesnik, People’s Artist of the UkrSSR.

The whole production was led by chief conductor Stephan Turchak, People’s Artist of the USSR, who subtly grasped the melodic weal th of the score, revealing the intensity and inner dynamism of the musical drama. His interpretation of Mai-boroda’s opera is highly romantic and passionate.

Under his baton the opera breathed vitality sustained by the skilled acting of the principals, and by the staging of the experienced director Volodimir Sklyarenko, People’s Artist of the UkrSSR. The beautiful Carpathian setting with its enchanting blue mountains, flowering orchards and colourful autumnal moods was created by Fedir Nirod, People’s Artist of the USSR.

hi January 1978 the same group of producers staged Maiboroda’s new version of his Arsenal which was presented for the first time at the Kiev Opera in November 1960. Composed to a libretto by playwright Olexand Levada and poet Andriy Malishko, the opera is devoted to the armed uprising of the workers of Kiev’s Arsenal plant against the counterrevolutionary Central Rada in January 1918. The romantically exalted production, which portrayed an exciting episode in the struggle of the Ukrainian working people for Soviet power, was impressive for its epic sweep and grandeur in conveying the workers’ revolutionary feat.

The crowd scenes were the most vivid in the opera, especially the one in which the Arsenal workers manned the barricades to fight the overwhelming enemy troops.

The principal role of Maxim was truthfully and expressively delineated by the composer and famous operatic singer Anatoliy Mokrenko, People’s Artist of the USSR. The vocal and dramatic image of Maxim is many-sided — he is an intrepid and inflexible communist and organizer of the uprising, a considerate son, and a sincere, affable and romantic-minded young man deeply in love. Dmitro Hnatyuk, People’s Artist of llie USSR, has also successfully performed this part.

Yuri Stanishevsky


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