The earliest operatic works by Ukrainian composers were written in the 18th century. Maksym Berezovsky's Demofonte (1773) and Dmytro Bortniansky's Creonte (1776), Alcides (1778), and Quinto Fabio (1779) were written to Italian librettos. Bortniansky also composed two French comic operas--Le Faucon (1786) and Le Fils rival (1787)--that were performed at the Russian imperial court in Saint Petersburg. Notable Ukrainian opera singers of the 18th century include Oleksii Rozumovsky, H. Holovnia, Marko Poltoratsky, and Maksym Berezovsky himself. Among the notable Ukrainian operas of the 19th century is Semen Hulak-Artemovsky’s Zaporozhian Cossack beyond the Danube, the music of which is strongly influenced by Ukrainian folk songs. This opera premiered in Saint Petersburg in 1863 with the composer himself performing the title role of Karas. Since then it has become one of the most popular Ukrainian operas and has been staged by theaters in Ukraine and in the diaspora. Its roles have been sung by some of the finest Ukrainian artists, including Mykola Sadovsky, Panas Saksahansky, Marko Kropyvnytsky, Ivan Patorzhynsky, Mykhailo Donets, Mariia Donets-Tesseir, Mariia Lytvynenko-Volgemut, Mariia Sadovska-Barilotti, and Mariia Zankovetska. Other Ukrainian operas of the late 19th and early 20th centuries include Petro Sokalsky's Mazepa, The Siege of Dubno, and May Night; Mykola Arkas’s Kateryna (1890); Anatol Vakhnianyn's Kupalo (1892); Denys Sichynsky's Roksoliana (1909); and H. Kozachenko's The Noble Captain (1902). In the early 20th-century some Ukrainian opera singers, such as Oleksander Mushuha and Solomiia Krushelnytska, gained international renown... Learn more about the Ukrainian opera and famous Ukrainian opera singers by visiting the following entries:


OPERA. The most significant Ukrainian operatic works of the 19th century were composed by Mykola Lysenko: Christmas Night (1882), The Drowned Maiden (1884), The Black Sea Cossacks (1872), the comic opera Aeneid (1910), the chamber opera Nocturne (1912), the operetta Natalka from Poltava (1889), and children's operas. Outstanding among Lysenko's repertoire is the opera Taras Bulba (1891; based on Nikolai Gogol [Mykola Hohol], libretto by Mykhailo Starytsky). It was premiered, after the composer's death, in the Kharkiv State Opera (1924). In the late 1920s, opera in Ukraine developed rapidly. This was partially because of the significant performing talent centered at the Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odesa opera theaters. Among the works staged were Borys Liatoshynsky's The Golden Ring (1929; based on Ivan Franko's Zakhar Berkut), Valentyn Kostenko's Karmeliuk, and Pylyp Kozytsky's The Unknown Soldiers. This growth did not last, however. With the Stalinist repression of Ukrainian culture, opera was forced to adhere to the principles of socialist realism. It was required that it appeal to a mass audience, reject the influences of Western European modernism, and become a medium for ideology and propaganda. It was not until the 1960s that the Communist party’s ideological pressure somewhat abated. Acclaimed Ukrainian female opera singers of the 20th century included Solomiia Krushelnytska, Yevheniia Miroshnychenko, Bela Rudenko, Zoia Haidai, Mariia Sokil, and Ira Malaniuk. Notable Ukrainian male opera singers included Oleksander Myshuha, Modest Menzinsky, Ivan Kozlovsky, Borys Hmyria, Pavlo Karmaliuk, Dmytro Hnatiuk, Myroslav Starytsky, and Anatolii Solovianenko...



MYSHUHA, OLEKSANDER (stage name: Filippi), b 20 June 1853 in Novyi Vytkiv, Radekhiv county, Galicia, d 9 March 1922 in Freiburg, Germany (buried in Novyi Vytkiv). Opera and concert singer (lyric tenor), teacher, and benefactor. He studied in Nice and Milan and under W. Wysocki at the Lviv Conservatory and made his debut in Lviv (1880) in Stanislaw Moniuszko's The Haunted Castle. Myshuha was highly successful as first tenor of the Warsaw Grand Theater (1884–92), especially in operas by Moniuszko. In 1885 he appeared as a guest performer at the Vienna Imperial Opera. In addition he toured Lviv, Kyiv, Saint Petersburg, Italy, France, Berlin, and London. His recordings of art songs by Felix Mendelssohn and Francesco Tosti and of arias from Moniuszko's and Charles-Francois Gounod’s operas executed for the Gramophone and Zonophone labels (ca 1911-12) are today extremely rare and highly valued collector's items. In later years Myshuha taught at the Lysenko Music and Drama School in Kyiv (1904-11), the Chopin Higher Music School in Warsaw (1911-14), the Moniuszko Music Institute in Warsaw (1912-13), and in Stockholm (from 1919). His students included Mykhailo Mykysha, S. Myrovych, and Mariia Donets-Tesseir. A friend of Ivan Franko, Myshuha assisted in the publication of his collection Ziv'iale lystia (Withered Leaves). Myshuha funded the publication of Ukraïns’ke mystetstvo (Ukrainian Art) in Kyiv, actively supported Sadovsky's Theater, and left his entire estate to the Lysenko Higher Institute of Music in Lviv...

Oleksander Myshuha


KRUSHELNYTSKA, SOLOMIIA, b 23 September 1872 in Biliavyntsi, Buchach county, Galicia, d 16 November 1952 in Lviv. World-famous opera singer (dramatic soprano). Upon graduating from the Lviv Conservatory (1893), where she studied under W. Wysocki, she made her debut with the Lviv Opera and went to Milan to study under Francesco Crespi (1893-6). From 1896 she performed with most of the great opera companies of Europe and South America: Odesa (1896-7), Warsaw (1898-1902), Saint Petersburg (1901-2), Paris (1902), Naples (1902, 1904), Rome (1904-5), Milan (La Scala, 1898, 1904, 1907, 1909, 1915), and Buenos Aires (1906, 1908, 1910-13). Her performance as Aida (1903) was a triumph, and her rendition of the title role in Giacomo Puccini’s Madame Butterfly in 1904 contributed to its admission to the world repertoire. Because of her and Arturo Toscanini, Richard Strauss’s Salome was a great success at La Scala (1906). Her operatic repertoire numbered close to 60 roles. Many of the performances in which she starred were conducted by A. Toscanini. Krushelnytska combined a colorful voice of great range (three octaves) with a fiery temperament and enormous acting ability. In the mid-1920s she turned from opera to concert recitals. Her concert repertoire included works by Claudio Monteverdi, Christoph Gluck, Wolfgand Amadeus Mozart, Modest Mussorgsky, Mykola Lysenko, Denys Sichynsky, and Stanyslav Liudkevych. Returning to Lviv in 1939, she taught solo singing at the Lviv Conservatory (1944-52)...

Solomiia Krushelnytska


KOZLOVSKY, IVAN, b 24 March 1900 in Marianivka, Vasylkiv county, Kyiv gubernia, d 24 December 1993 in Moscow. Opera and concert singer (lyrical tenor). A graduate of the Lysenko Music and Drama Institute in Kyiv (1919), he performed as a soloist in the Poltava Touring Music and Drama Theater, the Kharkiv opera theater (Kharkiv Theater of Opera and Ballet) (1924), the Sverdlovsk opera theater (1925), and the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow (1926-54). His major roles were Lensky in Peter Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, the Fool in Modest Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, Levko in Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's A May Night and Berendei in his Snow Maiden, and the title roles in Richard Wagner's Lohengrin and Jules Massenet's Werther. His Ukrainian repertoire included Levko in Mykola Lysenko's The Drowned Girl and Petro in his Natalka from Poltava, Andrii in Mykola Arkas's Kateryna, and Andrii in Semen Hulak-Artemovsky's Zaporozhian Cossack beyond the Danube. He began giving concerts in 1919, including in them arias from Ukrainian operas and art songs by Ukrainian, Russian, and other composers, such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, and Franz Liszt. His recordings have earned him an outstanding reputation in the United States. He was awarded the Shevchenko Prize in 1990...

Ivan Kozlovsky


MIROSHNICHENKO, YEVHENIIA, b 12 June 1931 in Radianske (now Hrafske), Vovchansk raion, Kharkiv okruha, d 27 April 2009 in Kyiv. Opera singer (lyric-coloratura soprano). She completed her studies at the Kyiv Conservatory (1957, pupil of Mariia Donets-Tesseir), and then, between 1957 and 1997, performed as a soloist with the Kyiv Theater of Opera and Ballet. Her major roles were Violetta in Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata, Rosina in Gioachino Rossini's The Barber of Seville, Venus in Mykola Lysenko's Aeneas, Martha in Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar’s Bride, Iolan in Heorhii Maiboroda's Mylana, and the title role in Gaetano Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. She received an award at the International Vocal Competition in Toulouse, France (1958), and studied at Milan's La Scala. She performed as a concert soloist in the Soviet Union, Ukraine, and abroad, in Poland, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, France, Canada, and Japan. She recorded operatic arias, Ukrainian classical compositions, and folk songs on LPs and in films. She was awarded the Shevchenko Prize in 1972...

Yevheniia Miroshnichenko


SOLOVIANENKO, ANATOLII, b 25 September 1932 in Staline (now Donetsk), d 29 July 1999 in Kozyn, Kyiv oblast. Opera singer (lyric-dramatic tenor). A graduate of the Donetsk Polytechnical Institute (1954), he studied singing under O. Korobeichenko (1952-62), obtained a scholarship to Milan's La Scala, and completed study at the Kyiv Conservatory (1978). From 1965 and he was a soloist of the Kyiv Theater of Opera and Ballet. His operatic roles include Andrii in Semen Hulak-Artemovsky's Zaporozhian Cossack beyond the Danube, Petro in Mykola Lysenko's Natalka from Poltava, Lensky in Peter Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, Edgar in Gaetano Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, Alfredo in Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata, and Rodolfo in Giacomo Puccini's La Boheme. He has concertized abroad, including with the New York Metropolitan Opera (1977-8). In recital he often performed Ukrainian art songs and folk songs. He was awarded the Shevchenko Prize in 1997...

Dmytro Hnatiuk

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