THE RETURN OF THE LOST MASTERPIECE BY DMYTRO BORTNIANSKYI

The evening dedicated to the discovery of the Baroque heritage: an introduction to the Ukrainian composer Dmytro Bortnianskyi

On May 23, 2024, the Ukrainian Institute held an evening dedicated to the discovery of the Baroque heritage: an introduction to the Ukrainian composer Dmytro Bortnianskyi.

Dmytro Bortnianskyi is a renowned Ukrainian composer, conductor, and educator of the 18th and 19th centuries. He was born in the small Ukrainian village of Hlukhiv, which was the residence of Hetman Kyrylo Rozumovskyi. Since childhood, he has been devoted to music. With the support of Baldassare Galuppi, he studied in Italy for 10 years, where he mastered the latest musical trends. That is why his work organically blends Western European elements with Ukrainian authenticity.  

Ukrainian authenticity. "Dmytro Bortnianskyi is a great Ukrainian who significantly contributed to the European musical heritage and occupied an important place on the European music scene. He was more famous back then than he is now. I think he has not yet been appreciated to the extent he deserves. That is why today's discussion is important to learn more new details and facts about Bortnyansky's life and work,"

About the opera Creon

His score of the opera Creon, based on the ancient story of the King of Thebes, became a significant event in the opera world. For a long time, it was considered lost until recently. It was found in the library in Lisbon. The opera score was restored and published with the support of the Ukraine-Austria Office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Austria.

"We Austrians don't know much about Ukrainian art and cultural history. We also know relatively little here in Europe, although Ukraine and the history of Ukrainian art and culture are very important parts of European art and cultural history. For too long, the history of Ukrainian art and culture has been overshadowed by Russian cultural imperialism. Many names of Ukrainian artists and cultural creators are completely unknown to us. Only now, we are discovering many artists, including the baroque composer Bortnianskyi,"

The return of the lost masterpiece by Dmytro Bortnianskiy
The return of the lost masterpiece by Dmytro Bortnianskiy
The return of the lost masterpiece by Dmytro Bortnianskiy
The return of the lost masterpiece by Dmytro Bortnianskiy
The return of the lost masterpiece by Dmytro Bortnianskiy
The return of the lost masterpiece by Dmytro Bortnianskiy
The return of the lost masterpiece by Dmytro Bortnianskiy
The return of the lost masterpiece by Dmytro Bortnianskiy
The return of the lost masterpiece by Dmytro Bortnianskiy

"Ukrainian baroque music must be performed abroad; it is a fact that we in modern Europe occupy a proper place among other European cultures. It’s music that aims to speak, to convey. Unfortunately, even basic knowledge of our musical culture is still lacking in the professional environment. I hope that over time, Ukrainian baroque music will become more popular in Austria,"

The arias from the opera

During the event, opera singer Olena Leser presented arias from the opera, accompanied by musicians from the Orchester Wiener Akademie. It was followed by a panel discussion about the composer. The speakers were 

  • Andreas Wenninger, head of the Ukraine Office Austria at the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who gave the opening remarks.
  • Ilia Korol, the concertmaster and soloist of the Orchester Wiener Akademie, which is planning to stage the opera Creontein in 2025.
  • Anna Gadetska, a musicologist, programme director of Open Opera Ukraine, and an expert on Ukrainian baroque music.
  • Oleksandra Sayenko, a producer, cultural manager, and founder of the UStream Fest of Ukrainian culture in Austria.

Stefan Burianek, editor-in-chief of the music and opera portal Opern.News, moderated the event.

The Ukrainian Institute organised the event with the support of the American government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in cooperation with the Embassy of Ukraine in the Republic of Austria, the Ukraine-Austria Office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Austria and media partner UStream.