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Kupalo - opera by Natal Vakhnianyn (1841-1908, Ukraine)

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Author Topic: Kupalo - opera by Natal Vakhnianyn (1841-1908, Ukraine)  (Read 116 times)
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« on: January 27, 2021, 12:17:33 am »

Natal Vakhnianyn: 1841-1908

I was reading the Ukraine Live website where they have an article about Romantic composers from Ukraine.  I came to a paragraph which read "Among the wide genre variety of folk art, Ukrainian romantics were especially attracted to the epic and Ukrainian lyrical songs. The fascination with the heroic past was a characteristic feature of the romantic worldview, but for Ukrainian romantics' aesthetics, the national epic gained particular importance. Cossack themes became the basis of M.Lysenko's operas" "Taras Bulba" and "Aeneid" A. Vakhnyanyn's opera "Kupalo" is embodied in several cantatas and choirs by M. Lysenko, romances and choirs by K. Stetsenko and S. Lyudkevych."

While Lysenko, Stetsenko and Lyudkevych have been covered elsewhere on this forum, I had never heard of Vakhnyanyn.  Search for his name on this forum revealed he had never been mentioned by anyone else here.  Naturally I was curious to learn more and particularly to find out whether anything by him has been recorded.  I put his name, in Ukrainian (Вахнянин) into youtube, and sure enough his entire opera Kupalo is there, performed by the Lviv opera in 2003:

- Act I
- Act II
- Act III
- Act IV

Vakhnianyn (or Vakhnyanyn) also has a wikipedia page - - apparently his first name was actually Anatol but he wrote under the pen name Natal.

Kupalo (the name of his opera) is a Slavic deity:  "God representing the mighty sun of summer solstice, but also goddess of joy and water. He is celebrated on Kupala Night with rituals of purification through water and fire. He is seldom represented as male, and the name Kupala or Kupalo is etymologically related to the verb kupati, "to wet". Solntse (simply "Sun", but often translated Phoebus) is another name of the goddess of the fully bright sun. The cult of Kupala was Christianised as that of John the Baptist.

Ukraine Live, by the way, have an app that I would recommend: every time they upload a new piece of Ukrainian classical music, you get a notification on your can't-tell-you. Rather clever.
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« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2021, 12:43:04 pm »

Amazing performance in these videos! These videos are so old and priceless. I am so happy to see it.
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