Arkas, Mykola

Image - Mykola Arkas Image - Mykola Arkas with his wife and children.

Arkas, Mykola, b 7 January 1853 in Mykolaiv, d there 26 March 1909. (Photo: Mykola Arkas.) Arkas was an active figure in the areas of culture and education; he was a composer and an amateur historian. After graduating from Odesa University, he worked in the Mykolaiv Naval Office (1875–99). Later he lived on his estate in the villages of Khrystoforivka and Bohdanivka, Kherson gubernia, where he established, at his own cost, a Ukrainian-language elementary school. The school was closed by the authorities after two years of operation. Arkas was one of the founders, and president for life, of the Prosvita society in Mykolaiv. He recorded and arranged about 80 Ukrainian folk songs and composed romances and duets. His major work was the opera Kateryna (1891), with his own libretto, based on the poem by Taras Shevchenko. Kateryna was first staged in Moscow in 1899 by Marko Kropyvnytsky, and the piano score was first published in 1897. Arkas was the author of the popular Istoriia Ukraïny (History of Ukraine, Saint Petersburg 1908) and wrote lyric poetry. His life and activities are described in L. Kaufman's Mykola Arkas (Kyiv 1958).

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]

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