Natalka Poltavka (opera)
|Opera by Mykola Lysenko|
The heroine on a 2011 stamp of Ukraine
|Based on||Natalka Poltavka
by Ivan Kotlyarevsky
|Premiere||24 November 1889
Odessa (in Russian)
The original version of Kotlyarevsky's play in 1819 contained a number of Ukrainian folk songs which were sung at different points throughout the work. The first known musical adaptation of the play was made by Kharkiv musician A. Barsytsky and was published in 1833. Simultaneously the play starring M. Shchepkin as Vyborny was premiered in Moscow in the 1830s with music arranged by the head violinist and later conductor A. Gurianov. Later arrangements were made by A. Yedlichka, M. Vasyliev and others.
Lysenko began to work on the opera in 1864 but put it aside, lacking experience in writing for the opera stage. His eventual 1889 version upstaged all the previous versions of the work. Lysenko took the original songs from the play, which were lengthened, and wrote orchestral accompaniments to the folk songs and dances in the play. He enlarged the musical tapestry, producing background music to some parts. The songs were transformed into arias, and an overture and musical entracts were added which stayed true to the spirit of Kotlyarevsky's play. Although Lysenko's version is usually categorised as an opera, it is more comparable to an opera-comique, containing as it does long stretches of spoken dialogue.
Attempts were made to transform the work into "Grand Opera" with the addition of music by V. Iorish were not successful. The Kiev State Opera returned to Lysenko's original version.
The opera has been performed by the Ukrainian State Opera since 1925, and also by the Opera Studio of the Kiev Conservatory since World War II. During this period the parts have been performed by leading Ukrainian singers including M. Shchepkin, M. Kropivnytsky, P. Saksahansky, M. Zankovetsky, I. Patorzhynsky, M. Lytvynenko-Volhemut, M. Donets and O. Petrusenko.
In 2007 a variant was produced at the Kiev Opera with the orchestra supplemented by Ukrainian folk instruments. This version received moderate acclaim.
Natalka awaits the return of her fiance Petro, who is working abroad. She is noted by the elderly landowner Vozniy, who persuades Viborniy to intercede with her on his behalf.
Viborniy persuades Natalka's mother, Terpilikha, that her daughter should marry the wealthy Vozniy, rather than await the uncertain return of Petro. The village maidens prepare Natalka for her wedding, although she is in despair.
Petro returns: Mykola informs him of Natalka's engagement. Natalka appears and tells Petro she loves only him. Terpilikha objects, and Petro undertakes to leave the village if it will prevent bad feeling. Touched by this gesture, Vozniy relents and all ends happily.
Lysenko's opera was made into a film that was released in Ukraine on 24 December 1936. The film was directed by Ivan Kavaleridze. This film was the first adaptation of an opera produced in the former Soviet Union.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Natalka Poltavka.|
- e.g. in Oxford Music Online, Lysenko, Mykola
- Natalka Poltavka (1936) at the Internet Movie Database
- Shevchuk, Yuri (October 19, 2003). "Harvard Film Archive acquires unique collection of Ukrainian films". The Ukrainian Weekly. Archived from the original on June 2, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-24.
- Egorova, Tatiana (1997). Soviet Film Music: An Historical Survey. Routledge. p. 59. ISBN 978-3-7186-5911-1.