news Archive


summer 2011

Pavlo Returns to Continue the UASP Work

Following a series of operatic engagements in Europe, the celebrated British bass-baritone Pavlo Hunka has returned to Toronto for the summer of 2011 to continue his work on the Ukrainian Art Song Project (UASP), founded by him in 2004 to acquire, record, and promote some 1,000 art songs by 26 of Ukraine's classical composers.

Hunka is currently rehearsing Phase 4 of the Project, titled The Galicians: The Art Songs, which will culminate in the recording of over 200 classical treasures–eight hours of sublime music representing the entire repertoire of 11 composers from Halychyna (Galicia) in Western Ukraine. This phase is scheduled to take three years to complete and will be launched in the autumn of 2014 at the Royal Conservatory's Koerner Hall in Toronto. By then, 421 art songs will have been recorded in the Glenn Gould Studio at the Canadian Broadcasting Centre in Toronto, placing the Project almost halfway to its goal.

Joining Hunka on The Galicians: The Art Songs is a cast of performers drawn from Canada's finest classical musicians, including sopranos Nathalie Paulin (who joins the project for the first time) and Monica Whicher, mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó, tenors Colin Ainsworth and Benjamin Butterfield, baritone Russell Braun, pianists Albert Krywolt, Serouj Kradjian, and Carolyn Maule (also new to the project), and violinist Annalee Patipatanakoon of the renowned Gryphon Trio.

Once again, Canada's Roman Hurko will return from New York to produce the recordings. Hurko has most recently been composing his third Liturgy, this time to an English text.

Since the triumphant launch of Mykola Lysenko: The Art Songs, at the Royal Conservatory's Koerner Hall in Toronto in December 2010, and of Yakiv Stepovyi: The Art Songs at the Winspear Centre in Edmonton in February 2011–celebrated with a 17-minute standing ovation–Pavlo Hunka's operatic commitments have taken him to La Monnaie in Brussels to sing the role of Dikoj in Janacek's Katya Kabanova, to the Gulbenkian Arts Festival in Lisbon where he performed the role of Šiškov in Janacek's From the House of the Dead, and to the Berlin Staatsoper for a new production of Wozzeck, which he performed under the baton of Daniel Barenboim. He will return to Berlin in the autumn of 2011 for a new production of Smetana's The Bartered Bride.

Hunka has been invited to perform a recital of Lysenko art songs on July 8, 2012 at the Passau Kultur Wochen, marking the first time that Ukrainian art songs will take centre stage at one of the most prominent classical music festivals in Europe, fittingly in Germany, the centre of the classical art song.

The composers whose works are showcased in The Galicians: The Art Songs are Denys Sichynsky (1865–1909), Stanyslav Liudkevych (1879–1979), Vasyl Barvinsky (1888–1963), Stefania Turkewich (1898–1977), Ostap Nyzhankivsky (1862-1919), Yaroslav Lopatynsky (1871–1936), Nestor Nyzhankivsky (1893–1940), Ihor Sonevytsky (1926-2006), Myroslav Skoryk (1938–), Yevhen Stankovych (1942–), and Myroslav Volynsky (1955–).

Their music reflects the diverse artistic movements prevalent in 19th and 20th century Europe–Romanticism, Verismo, Impressionism, Avant-garde, and Modern–allowing them to be positioned seamlessly amongst composers of other western European nations. Many of these composers studied in Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Paris, and London, adopting an array of styles to blend with their Ukrainian influences. All deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as other world famous European composers.

Ukraine's first female classical composer, Stefania Turkewich, is included in the group of 11. After years of research, Hunka finally located her works when Zoya Nyzhankivskiy, the daughter of Turkewich, attended an operatic performance of his in Geneva in 2010. They became acquainted and Nyzhankivskiy introduced Hunka to her younger sister, Maria, a psychology professor retired from Cambridge University in England. It was Maria who made available the 19 exquisite art songs composed by her mother. Now, the artists recording The Galicians: The Art Songs have the privilege of performing these songs from handwritten original manuscripts of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

According to Hunka, "As Lesia Ukrainka is the first daughter of Ukrainian poetry, so Stefania Turkewich is the first daughter of Ukrainian classical music. All Ukrainians and, indeed, the whole world must hear of this unique woman who has made a massive contribution to classical music culture."

Turkewich's music reflects influences of Claude Debussy, Arnold Schoenberg, early Alban Berg, Benjamin Britten, and Kurt Weill. She studied in Lviv and Vienna, and in Berlin with Arnold Schoenberg. The artists recording her music have been enchanted by the unique voice found within the music of this avant-garde composer, with its fragility, intimacy, and exquisite melodic line.

The Ukrainian Art Song Project continues to attract supporters and admirers internationally, as word of its accomplishments spreads and as music lovers learn more about Ukraine's world-class composers and the invaluable legacy the Project is creating.

Joseph So
Thursday, July 28, 2011

 http://newswire.scena.org/2011_07_01_archive.html


World Premiere Yakiv Stepovyi The Art Songs

We are proud to inform you of the approaching successful completion of the Ukrainian Art Song Project's Alberta-sponsored endeavour, presenting the 55 Art Songs of Yakiv Stepovyi, one of Ukraine's first modernist composers. We invite you to join us for the premiere of this comprehensive collection, recorded on 2 CDs by today's finest classical musicians.


YAKIV STEPOVYI THE ART SONGS
World Premiere Concert and CD Launch
Sunday February 6th, 2011 7pm

Including performances by British bass-baritone Pavlo Hunka, UASP Artistic Director, and Renowned Canadian Opera Stars at the Winspear Centre


Spend a Special Day at the ROM and Koerner Hall

On Sunday, December 5, 2010, come to the Royal Ontario Museum's Ukrainian Heritage Day during the day. Top up the day at the Royal Conservatory's Koerner Hall with Pavlo Hunka and friends in concert at 4 p.m.


Be sure to listen to Classical 96.3 FM for more information about the upcoming concert.

On Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 3:30 p.m., Pavlo Hunka will be interviewed live on the Classical 96.3FM program Alexa's Oasis with Alexa Petrenko. Hunka will discuss the Ukrainian Art Song Project and the world premiere concert and CD launch of Mykola Lysenko The Art Songs. This is your chance to get a sneak preview of the five-star recording as Alexa's shares selections from it.


Hot off the Press! Mykola Lysenko The Art Songs gets 5 Stars!

The very soon to be released six-CD compilation of Mykola Lysenko The Art Songs has received a five-star rating.

"Lavishly, beautifully illustrated six-disc box set"
"Exceptional is the melodic inspiration of Lysenko--many songs have melodies that linger with the listener."
"The recorded sound is exemplary."


The Music Scene

Pick up the Fall/Winter 2011 edition of The MusicScene and read more about the recording and Joseph So's interview with Pavlo Hunka.


Tickets Going Fast Mykola Lysenko The Art Songs, Don't Miss this Star-Studded Concert Premiering Mykola Lysenko The Art Songs

Sunday December 5th 2010 4:00pm, At the Royal Conservatory's Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor Street West Toronto, Ontario

Featuring

  • Monica Whicher – Soprano
  • Krisztina Szabó – Mezzo-soprano
  • Russell Braun – Baritone
  • Pavlo Hunka – Bass-baritone
  • Julie Ranti – Flute
  • Roman Borys – Cello
  • Albert Krywolt – Piano
  • Roman Hurko – Producer

Please join us in celebrating the launch of the six CD compilation of Mykola Lysenko's art songs along with the posting of the musical scores for free distribution on the worldwide web. Purchase your tickets today at The Royal Conservatory box office.


Opera Star Taras Kulish related to Ukraine's Poet

Opera Star Taras Kulish related to Ukraine’s great Poet Panteliemon Kulish

Ukrainian-Canadian bass-baritone Taras Kulish stars in the Canadian Premiere of Glinka’s great opera RUSLAN I LYUDMILA on Sunday, Oct. 24, at the St. Lawrence Centre.  Kulish can trace his ancestry back to Ukraine through his kinship with one of Ukraine’s greatest poets, Panteleimon Kulish.  The renowned poet was a close friend of composer Mykola Lysenko, whose works have been captured on disc by a group of Ukrainian and Canadian artists led by opera star Pavlo Hunka. Taras Kulish has made a name for himself in YEVGHENY ONEGIN in the Czech Repbulic, as DON GIOVANNI in France and Belgium and IOLANTA, in performances led by conductors including Kent Nagano and Yannick Nezet-Seguin. 

Opera in Concert – Toronto’s most daring opera company - is presenting a single concert performance of RUSLAN I LYUDMILA, which is set in Kyiv in ancient times.  This magnificent work is based a poem by Pushkin and is one of the most beloved of Glinka’s operas.  The overture is extremely popular and several of the arias appear frequently in programmes of opera’s greatest hits.

Ukrainian soprano Lara Ciekiewicz appears as Lyudmila and the cast features Luiza Zhuleva, Igor Emilianov, and Slava Serebrianik, with Raisa Nakhmanovich as music director and pianist. 


Pavlo Performing in Edmonton

From an article in the most recent edition of The King's Connection, a magazine with North America-wide exposure (used with permission):

"On Monday, April 19, 2010, The King's University College Choirs will perform at the Winspear Centre at 8p.m. What makes this concert remarkably different from the rest, and truly a once in a lifetime opportunity, is that King's will be hosting one of Europe's foremost bass-baritones, Pavlo Hunka."

Pavlo will also sing during the 10 a.m. St. Thomas Sunday Liturgy (April 11) at St. Josaphat Cathedral. 


Pavlo Hunka Celebrates Easter in Toronto

Internationally renowned bass-baritone and artistic director of the Ukrainian Art Song Project, Pavlo Hunka, is back in Toronto this weekend to celebrate Easter. You'll hear him on:

  • Good Friday, April 2, 2010, at 7 p.m., singing the Jerusalem Matins at St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, 143 Franklin Avenue
  • Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010 at 8 a.m., singing the Apostol during the Easter Divine Liturgy at St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, 400 Bathurst Street

Come and enjoy this rare opportunity to hear the rich tones of the world-acclaimed opera star in the intimate settings of two of Toronto's exquisite churches.

From Toronto, Hunka departs for Edmonton to continue the production of The Art Songs of Yakiv Stepovyi. The launch of the Stepovyi 2-CD set is planned for Sunday, November 14, 2010 at the Winspear Centre in Edmonton.

The world premiere of the Ukrainian Art Song Project's six-CD compilation of The Art Songs of Mykola Lysenko will follow on Sunday, December 5, 2010 in Toronto at the Royal Conservatory of Music's acclaimed Koerner Hall.


Mykola Lysenko: A Symposium

Saturday, October 31, 2009, 1-5 p.m.
Faculty of Music, Room 330, Edward Johnson Building
80 Queen's Park, University of Toronto

Toronto, ON... The Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine, the Canadian Foundation for Ukrainian Studies, and the Ukrainian Art Song Project are pleased to sponsor "Mykola Lysenko: A Symposium" at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Music on Saturday, October 31, 2009.

The Symposium features an international line-up of invited scholars, including:

  • Dr. Olga Andriewsky (Department of History, Trent University, Peterborough, ON) - "In Search of Mykola Lysenko: A Historian's Exploration"
  • Dr. Taras Filenko (City Music Center of Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA) - "Mykola Lysenko: Founder of Ethnomusicology"
  • Dr. Dagmara Turchyn (independent scholar, Toronto, ON) - "Ukrainian and European Contexts in Lysenko's Art Songs"
  • Dr. Rada Stankovych (Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine, Kyiv) - "Lysenko's Operas"

This focus on Lysenko, an enormously influential and prolific 19th-century composer who is regarded as the founder of the art song genre in Ukraine, will provide an informative background to the world premiere of the Ukrainian Art Song Project's six-CD anthology of Lysenko's art songs, which will take place at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto on Sunday, April 11, 2010.

The symposium is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is appreciated (but not mandatory) at: http://webapp.mcis.utoronto.ca/EventDetails.aspx?eventid=7788

For more information about the Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine, please visit http://www.utoronto.ca/jacyk.

Please visit the Canadian Foundation for Ukrainian Studies at www.cfus.ca


 Ukrainian Art Songs at Rosewood Estates

The Ukrainian Art Song Project invites you to enjoy an evening concert with internationally renowned bass-baritone Pavlo Hunka on Thursday July 23, 2009 in a truly unique concert venue -the Rosewood Estates Winery and Meadery.

Hunka’s extraordinary career has allowed him to reign as one of Europe’s foremost interpreters of bass-baritone operatic repertoire. Yet it is the Ukrainian art song that has captured his heart. His astounding versatility, exceptional musicianship and commanding stage presence allows Hunka to create an intimate and mesmerizing experience for the audience.

The evening is a rare opportunity for both serious opera lovers and Ukrainian art song aficionados to enjoy Hunka perform a selection of Ukrainian art songs and to share his passion for this genre in an informal setting. Guests will also have an opportunity to get up close and personal with the winemaking process. Owners, Renata and Eugene Roman will be available to conduct tours of their facility and to answer questions about their winemaking. This is a fundraising event for the Art Songs of Mykola Lysenko supported by the Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce.
 
The Rosewood Estates Winery and Meadery is one of the newest wineries in the Beamsville bench region of Ontario.  Situated atop a gently rolling hill it enjoys an expansive vista of the surrounding grape groves. This small-batch winery has already won recognition as a prime VQAO quality producer of numerous award winning red and white wines as well as of unique mead (honey wine) offerings.

Background info:
As the artistic director of the Ukrainian Art Song Project, Hunka is in Toronto, Ontario this summer to complete the mastering of the six-CD compilation of the art songs of Mykola Lysenko and to begin recording the art songs of Yakiv Stepovyi at the Glenn Gould Studio. The world premiere of the Ukrainian Art Song Project's six-CD compilation of Lysenko's art songs will take place at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto on Sunday, April 11, 2010.

The Rosewood Estates is located at 4352 Mountainview Rd. in Beamsville, Ontario


Pavlo Hunka Celebrates Easter in Toronto

Internationally renowned bass-baritone and artistic director of the Ukrainian Art Song Project, Pavlo Hunka, is back in Toronto this weekend after a busy Winter on the opera stage in Europe to sing at Easter celebrations (on the Julian calendar) in several parishes.

On Good Friday, April 17, 2009, at 7 p.m., Hunka will be singing the Jerusalem Matins at St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, 143 Franklin Avenue; On Holy Saturday, April 18, 2009, Hunka will be singing the Resurrection Matins at 9 p.m. at St.Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, 4 Bellwoods Avenue; and

On Easter Sunday, Hunka will be at the St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, 400 Bathurst Street, singing the Apostol at around 8 a.m. during the Easter Divine Liturgy.

Come and enjoy this rare opportunity to hear the rich tones of the world acclaimed opera star in the intimate settings of some of the most beautiful churches in Toronto.

Hunka plans a lengthier stay in Toronto in late Spring and Summer 2009 to complete the mastering of the six-CD compilation of the art songs of Mykola Lysenko and to record 56 art songs of Yakiv Stepovyi at the Glenn Gould Studio. The world premiere of the Ukrainian Art Song Project's six-CD compilation of Lysenko's art songs will take place at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto on Sunday, April 11, 2010.


Spotlight Winter 2009 Newsletter

An Interview with Roman Hurko

When Roman Hurko first met world-renowned bass-baritone Pavlo Hunka 5 years ago, the musical chemistry was instant and it became quickly apparent to Hurko that he and Hunka had very similar aspirations about the mission of bringing the Ukrainian classical repertoire to the world of music. The two men became excited about the possibility of working on a project together. "We frst discussed the possibility of starting a new Ukrainian-Canadian opera company, but we decided that it would be much more realistic to focus on Ukrainian art songs...


Where in the World?

A 2009 update on Pavlo Hunka

After beginning a busy opera season in Europe earlier this year, Pavlo Hunka will arrive to Toronto, Ontario in April to continue the mastering and production of the Mykola Lysenko art song CDs and start recording Yakiv Stepovyi's art songs. In February 2009, Hunka starred to great acclaim as Balstrode in Britten's Peter Grimes at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples. Hunka is only the second artist of Ukrainian descent–after Solomiya Krushelnytska–to appear there! Ukraine's Consul General to Italy, Volodymyr Karacentsev attended the premiere and spoke highly of Hunka in a joint television interview. 


Butterfield and Hunka at Timms Centre

Inaugurating the Alberta phase of the Ukrainian Art Song Project and performing the art songs of Mykola Lysenko, Kyrylo Stetsenko, and Yakiv Stepovyi, with piano accompaniment by Dr. Joachim Segger

Sunday 26 April 2009 3:00 p.m. Timms Centre Lobby 87 Ave. & 112 St. hosted by Opera Canada's Bill Rankin and catered by Taste of Ukraine. Admission $50. For tickets please contact Luba at (780) 464-6480 


The Inaugural Issue of Spotlight

The Ukrainian Art Song Project is pleased to raise the curtain on the inaugural issue of "Spotlight," our quarterly e-newsletter. 


Discover the Art Songs of Lysenko

Photos from the successful event Discover the Art Songs of Mykola Lysenko are in our gallery.

On May 26, 2008 Musica Leopolis hosted An Evening with Pavlo Hunka and Friends at The Richard Bradshaw Amphitheater in the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.


Accolades for Pavlo Hunka in Pelléas

Internationally renowned British bass-baritone Pavlo Hunka joins a star-studded cast in the now-playing Canadian Opera Company's production of Pelléas et Mélisande.

Performances take place at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., Toronto, Ontario from May 6 to May 24, 2008.

In this Claude Debussy's only completed opera, Prince Golaud (Pavlo Hunka) discovers the mysterious Mélisande (Isabel Bayrakdarian, soprano) lost in the forest near his castle. Enchanted, he marries her and brings her to his home. There she is drawn to Pelléas, Golaud's half-brother (Russell Braun, baritone), and in time the two fall dangerously in love. Even though they never consummate their love, Golaud is very jealous. Ultimately, Golaud's jealousy leads to tragic consequences.

See the performance of Pelléas et Mélisande: May 6, 9, 14, 17, 20 and 22, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.; May 24 at 4:30 p.m.; and May 11 at 2:00 p.m.


Lysenko Recording in Production

The new recording by The Ukrainian Art Song Project is currently in production. The current efforts are focused on Mykola Lysenko, the father of Ukrainian classical music.

The documentation of Lysenko's art songs is a major endeavour - 124 songs, almost 4 times the size of the Stetsenko recording, almost 6 hours music. For this reason, 14 of Canada's foremost musicians have been invited to join the Lysenko project. Combined with the spearheading efforts of British bass-baritone Pavlo Hunka, we are pleased to welcome back our previous collaborators Albert Krywolt, Russell Braun, Benjamin Butterfield and Roman Borys. In addition, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Allyson McHardy, Monica Whicher, Krisztina Szabó, Michael Colvin, Doug Stewart (flute), Serouj Kradjian (piano), Mia Bach (piano), Elizabeth Turnbull and Robert Gleadow will also be applying their talents to the beauty of Lysenko's music.

Listen now to a preview of 8 tracks of Mykola Lysenko's work being compiled for the production.

The Ukrainian Art Song Project is currently producing the Art Songs of Mykola Lysenko recorded at the Glenn Gould Studios under the recording label Musica Leopolis. The Lysenko recording will be complete by the end of 2008 and will be launched in early 2009.

Check back soon as more information is added.


stetsenko CD launch

The Art Songs of Kyrylo Stetsenko

The world premiere recording of the art songs of one of Ukraine's foremost classical 20th-century composers

Musica Leopolis is proud to announce the release its first CD – The Art Songs of Kyrylo Stetsenko. The Double CD set includes 42 songs composed by Kyrylo Stetsenko, performed by Pavlo Hunka with collaborating artists Albert Krywolt, Russell Braun, Benjamin Butterfield and Roman Borys.

The songs evoke the rich melodic lines of Tchaikovsky and Schumann. This release is highly recommended for all lovers of classical music!