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Porphyry Bazhansky (Ukraine, 1836-1920) - 2 operas

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Author Topic: Porphyry Bazhansky (Ukraine, 1836-1920) - 2 operas  (Read 119 times)
« on: December 29, 2021, 01:47:55 pm »

The Ukrainian Festival Orchestra & Ukrainian Festival Choir conducted by Ivan Ostapovych recorded and posted up two operas in 2021 by Porphyry Bazhansky:

- Dovbush

- Bila Tsyganka (= The White Gypsy Girl)

Wikipedia pages on the composer (none in English)Бажанський_Порфирій_Іванович - UkrainianБаженский,_Порфирий_Иванович - Russian
Bazhansky, Porfyrii [Бажанський, Порфирій; ; Bažans'kyj, Porfyrij], b 24 February 1836 in Beleluia, Sniatyn county, Galicia, d 29 December 1920 in Lviv. Self-taught composer, folklorist, music theorist, and Ukrainian Catholic priest. Bazhansky received his music education at the Greek Catholic Theological Seminary in Lviv. He collected folk songs, some of which he published or used in his compositions. Among his works are ‘folk’ melodramatic operas, church music (1869), music for mixed choirs, and two song collections: Halyts’ko-bukovyns’ki narodni melodiď (Galician-Bukovynian Folk Melodies, 1890–1906) and Rus’ko-halyts’ki narodni melodiď (Ruthenian-Galician Folk Melodies, 1905–12). He wrote articles on melodies and harmony and collected and arranged folk songs, in which he utilized Mykola Dyletsky’s unpublished writings.
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2021, 01:48:19 pm »


Dovbush is Ukraine's answer to Robin Hood (see

Opera written in 1908, in Lviv.

Stepan Drobit (baritone),
Christina Makar (soprano),
Lilia Nikitchuk (mezzo-soprano),
Andriy Stetsky (baritone),
Vitaliy Koval (tenor),
Roman Grabovensky (tenor)

Ukrainian Festival Orchestra & Ukrainian Festival Choir
Ivan Ostapovych - conductor

Dramatis Personae:
OLEKSA DOVBUSH - Montenegrin leader
IVAN, Oleksa's brother, is Yugas
Fly brother Oleksi - yugas
DANILKO glacier - Oleksa's believer
VASYLKO Ledin-Yugas is Oleksa's treasurer
LEDINI - YUGASI - OLEKSY BOYS (Hutsuls-Volokhs-Ugrians)
PARASKA girl, Grandpa's daughter
STEFAN ZVINKA is an old leader
SENYA his young woman
SEMAN Ataman, janitor from Kosmach
ERINA is a girl, his daughter
MORTKO tenant from Zhebya
YANKEL lost tenant from Zhebya

Synopsis (using google translate from the youtube page:)

Action I
Picture I. In the lower Zhebyu

Due to his incredible strength, Dovbush disperses Pushkars and Lavnyk, Posesor and Mortko in the inn, who collect money from Hutsuls and arrest opryshki. Opryshky takes Oleksa in.

Picture II. By year in Kosmach
A year later we see Dovbush and Senya in Kosmach. She meets him after the campaign, calls him a lover and worries that he will not be killed. Dovbush reveals to her a secret that has a bullet from the devil - as long as she is with him, he will not be killed.
Senya persuades her lover to be with her. Dovbush refuses, citing the fact that he has to give orders to the boys. Senya suspects that Dovbush fell out of love with her and avoids her. When she directly asks Oleksa if he loves her or not, Dovbush answers that he would love her if she didn't know the gentlemen and Semyon. Senya assures that she is loyal only to Dovbush.

Action II
Picture I. In the lower Zhebyu
In Nizhny Zheby, someone from the yard is shooting at a tavern in Dovbush, but he catches a bullet with his hand.

Picture II. In Montenegro for 2 years
Two years later. Dovbush with Paraska. She knows that Dovbush has other women, persuades him to give up his career and be alone with her.

Dovbush with Erina, his prisoner. He caresses the girl, saying that he is the King of the mountains and foothills, everyone loves him, but she does not. Yerina swears at Dovbush with all the Hutsul curses and says that she gave her heart to another - Mikhan.
While walking in an inn, Senya steals a ball from Dovbush that the devil gave him and puts a simple tin one in its place.
Danilko helps Erina to escape.
Dovbush kills Danilko. Legions are dissatisfied with this act, they say that Dovbush only plays with girls. A riot is brewing. Mikhas announces himself the new leader of the opryshki.
Oleksa's mother appears. She asks her son to stop. "Are you walking with the girls, son? Are you killing your brothers? Are you shedding your own blood?" Dovbush's mother pulls him to him, the devil draws him to himself. Oleksa dumps her mother and runs away with the devil. She falls and dies with the words "Kletiy".

Action III
In Kosmach near Gregot
In Kosmach, Dovbush comes to Seni's house and asks to let him go. She says to return to Paraska. Dovbush goes with nothing.
In the next scene, Oleksa dances with the girls and the legions. Stefan shoots him from a rock. Before Alex's death, the devil calls for his soul to return, the unclean man replies: "Ha, ha, I'm walking." Dovbush checks the bullet and realizes that it is not real. Before his death, he tells his comrades to take revenge on Seni, and bury him in Montenegro, so that no more blood is shed, they share silver and gold and go home. Senya runs in and says: "Did you do six?" She is killed by a knife to the lungs.
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2021, 01:48:43 pm »

Bila Tsyganka (= The White Gypsy Girl)

Opera written 1908, in Lviv.

Stepan Drobit (baritone),
Christina Makar (soprano),
Lilia Nikitchuk (mezzo-soprano),
Andriy Stetsky (baritone),
Vitaliy Koval (tenor),
Roman Grabovensky (tenor)

Ukrainian Festival Orchestra & Ukrainian Festival Choir
Ivan Ostapovych - conductor

Synopsis and Dramatis Personae (using google translate from the youtube page):

Set in the time of the Boyars.

Sandra - a white gypsy
Bogdan Boyarin
Elena is his sister
Vasilko is his brother
Yuri Boyarin
Les is his son
Vaida is the leader of the gypsies
Klutza is his wife
Malka is his daughter

Act I
In the foothills

The events take place in the Carpathians. Boyar Bohdan's wife recently died, leaving his daughter Oleksandra an orphan. She is rocked by Olena, Bohdan's sister.
His brother Vasilko asks for money, but Bohdan refuses to borrow, saying: "Father gave, where did you go?", And adds that he will give all the money to the orphan - his daughter. Offended, Vasilko persuades the gypsies who set up camp nearby in the mountains to kidnap little Alexandra.
Olena fell asleep for a moment and did not notice how the girl was abducted by gypsies led by Vaida and his wife Klutse.

Act II
12 years in the mountains

12 years have passed. We see Sandra in the woods - a gypsy girl. She ran away from Vaida's father, who beats her for not being able to learn to steal. The girl got lost and went out on the bears. She is saved from the beasts by accurate shots fired by a young boyar Les, who was just on the hunt. Les falls in love with Sandra at first sight and invites her to go with him. But Sandra confesses to her rescuer that she is a gypsy and refuses to go with him, although she also liked the guy.
Sandra tells about Lesya to her mother, an old gypsy Kluca, but here comes her father Vaida with company. Vaida puts Sandra's head on the anvil and sharpens the ax. The girl says she'd better die, but she won't steal. The gypsy choir stops Vaida and enters because they got food.
Sandra stays with her younger sister. Here she is met by Bogdan, who wonders why one sister is "white" and the other "black". He also notes that Sandra is very similar to his late wife: "This gypsy woman is my vicana woman, one drop." Bohdan talks to Klutza, who assures that both girls are her own daughters, and one is white, because "you were born that way". Bogdan wants to buy a white gypsy Sandra, but Klutza refuses. Bogdan gives the gypsies bread, promises to come tomorrow.

Bogdan is looking for gypsies in the forest, Sandra doesn't get out of his head. Tired, he sits down to rest and falls asleep. It turns out Vasilko with a knife. He wants revenge on his brother for calling him a windmill and not borrowing money. Already brings a knife, but does not dare to strike. At that moment, he is stopped by Les, who went hunting with his father Yuri and his comrades.
They meet Sandra and Klutz. An old gypsy woman is dying. Klutza admits that once a gentleman gave Weidi money to kidnap Sandra. She was then 4 years old and her name was Alexander. Bogdan recognizes his daughter: “Oh! you are my dear ”.
Immediately, Bohdan and Yuri bless Lesya and Oleksandra for marriage. The Hutsul choir reports that Vasilko drowned: "Drowned, Mr. Gypsy Company." Klutza died. Sandra cries because she loved her sincerely as a mother. The Hutsul choir sings: "We went to the bear, and burned the girl."
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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2021, 06:06:09 pm »

Thanks for alerting us to these performances! All very welcome and just illustrating how narrow the conventional repertoire is.

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"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)

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