Saint Sophia Squareturned into an opera stage! The director of the program Anatolii Solovianenko told The Day that last year the international project “I will Return to Ukraine” changed its residence and for the first time was held at a large site – Saint Sophia Square. The experiment was a success, thousands of opera fans were able to listen to the concert of the opera stars. This time the organizers prepared a surprise for opera lovers: in addition to local celebrities, who represent Ukrainian opera school in the most prestigious theaters of the world with great success, the special guest of the event was an Italian opera singer Francesco Anile – winner of many prestigious competitions, including Mario Del Monaco Vocal Competition, and “The Best Voice of Tuscany.” The singer performs both in Italy and abroad, he takes part in productions of the famous theaters like La Scala (Milan), Teatro Massimo (Palermo), and Teatro di San Carlo (Naples).
Anile demonstrated to the Ukrainian audience masterly vocal and artistic performance singing his best pieces – arias from the operas Pagliacci and Tosca. When the popular Neapolitan song “O Sole Mio” (My Sun – music by Eduardo di Capua, lyrics by Giovanni Kapurro; by the way, this song was written and performed for the first time in Odesa in 1898) the audience burst into crying Bravo!
“I am amazed with hospitality and warm welcome of people in Kyiv,” Francesco ANILE told The Day. “We quickly found common language with the orchestra and maestro Mykola Diadiura. I am convinced that today concert on large venues (squares, stadiums) are extremely important because they popularize opera among the audience of all ages. During my short stay in Kyiv I visited the National Opera and Philharmonic Society and I would like to note the high level of culture of your artists. I will keep the most wonderful memories of your country and of the people I met here. I dream to come to Kyiv again to participate in new joint projects of the Italian Institute of Culture in Ukraine and the National Opera.”
“This concert became a great holiday for a wide audience,” said Anatolii Solovianenko. “The central square became an opera hall. Those, who came early and took the places in the ‘pit’ (4,000 seats were pre installed), were able to listen to the concert sitting on a chair, and those who did not get a seat welcomed artists standing on their feet. But no one complained because the program was really gorgeous! Soloist of the Ukraine’s National Opera Liudmyla Monastyrska (soprano) gave a marvelous performance on stage. That day she celebrated her birthday and received greetings right on the stage – she was presented with a luxurious bouquets from the Head of Kyiv City Administration Oleksandr Popov and the Minister of Culture Leonid Novokhatko, who were present at the concert in person. This year has become a landmark for the singer. Monastyrska debuted at the Metropolitan Opera singing the part of Aida with great success. The halls of La Scala and Covent Garden applauded her. Today, the singer is rightly considered prima donna number one in the world! By the way, the General Director of Metropolitan Opera Peter Gelb said: ‘There was no such Aida as Liudmyla Monastyrska on our stage for over 60 years already!’ [At the concert in Kyiv Monastyrska performed the aria of Leonora from the opera La Forza del Destino by Giuseppe Verdi and Tosca from Giacomo Puccini’s opera of the same name.– Author].
“Bolshoi Theater was presented at the concert by Oleg Kulko (Moscow). Kulko studied at the Kyiv Concervatory, his teacher was the legendary singer and pedagogue Kostiantyn Ohnievy and he began his career in the Ukrainian capital. Marian Talaba came from Vienna, Valery Murga (student of a famous Ukrainian baritone Viktor Kurin and a protege of an opera diva Yevhenia Miroshnychenko) came from Zurich. Murha is a winner of many international competitions, and presently he is a leading soloist of the famous theater. Singers performances were accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra of the National Philharmonic Society conducted by Mykola Diadiura.
“For the first time on an open-air stage a new creative alliance – bass trio was introduced to the audience. Joint debut of the leading soloists of the National Opera Serhii Mahera, Taras Shtonda, and Serhii Kovnir took place in February during the jubilee concert dedicated to the 200th anniversary of Hulak-Artemovsky. The audience especially loved the aria of Don Basilio from Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini and Gremin from Eugene Onegin by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, and the special sensation and ovations were caused by the ‘Song of Karas’ from Zaporozhian Cossack Beyond the Danube by Semen Hulak-Artemovsky. By the way, solo concert of the Bass Trio will be held on their home stage – at the Ukraine’s National Opera on July 3.
“The night was held under a motto ‘Classics to the masses!’ It is nice that people of all ages (there were many young people and children at the concert) listened to the opera singers with great pleasure, only the street noises were somewhat upsetting because they interfered with the sound of the great art (St. Sophia Square with its heavy traffic was not blocked for the time of the concert, thus, the symphony orchestra musicians could not drown out the trills of the cars and howling of the fire trucks sirens).
“The program ended with a popular song by Ihor Shamo ‘Kyieve Mii’ (My Kyiv) – unofficial anthem of the Ukrainian capital, that was performed by all the participants of the concert. The laser show can be called a prelude to the upcoming July celebration of the 1,025th anniversary of the Baptism of Kyivan Rus’.”