The theme of Holodomor of 1932–1933 in Ukraine in the context of postmodern music: on the example of Virko Baley’s opera Cover Image

Тема голодомору 1932–1933 рр. в Україні в контексті музики постмодерну: на прикладі опери Вірко Балея
The theme of Holodomor of 1932–1933 in Ukraine in the context of postmodern music: on the example of Virko Baley’s opera

Author(s): Ganna Karas
Subject(s): Theatre, Dance, Performing Arts, Music, Government/Political systems, Studies in violence and power, Interwar Period (1920 - 1939), Present Times (2010 - today)
Published by: Національна академія керівних кадрів культури і мистецтв
Keywords: Postmodern; music; opera; the Holodomor; composer; Virko Baley;

Summary/Abstract: The article disclosed the topic of Holodomor of 1932–1933 in Ukraine in the context of Postmodern music on the example of opera "Holodomor (Red Earth. Hunger)" by the contemporary American composer of Ukrainian origin Virko Baley. Actuality of research was called forth by 80th anniversary of Holodomor in Ukraine and absence of comprehension of this work in the modern musical science. The research solved the following tasks: was reviewed the concept of "Postmodern", "intercultural communication"; discovered and analyzed the sources that disclose the history of opera writing and staging, its presentation through the contemporary forms of culture art objectification; demonstrated the role of V. Baley’s opera in the development of genre and processes of intercultural communication. Many genres of contemporary music are dependent on V. Baley’s talent as a composer. The author uses the traditions of avantgardism and Postmodern in vocal cycles, productions for chamber orchestras, in the concerts for different instruments. Despite of being in general manifestation of Postmodern, there is a distinctly Ukrainian note of Neofolklorism in the opera "Holodomor (Red Earth. Hunger)". It is not only the first work of the composer in this genre, but also the only opera reflecting the topic of Ukrainian Holodomor. The work on the opera continued for almost three decades (from 1986 to 2011). V. Baley foresees an extensive use of the multimedia elements – broadcasting of fragments from the films of 1930-ies, newsreels, radio programs, authentic records of the then music, and speeches of the leaders and so on – grandiose collage of epoch’s documents that is an outstanding display of Postmodern. In its present form, the opera focuses on complicated relationship between those three who met at the tightest point of misfortune on the solitary crossing and starve – a Woman, her Child and embittered Man. The protagonists of the opera – Man and Woman dying from hunger and the main psychological line is a conflict between them. V. Baley was seeking not only to tell about Holodomor or present it on the stage; his opera ideologically is much more complicated and manysided and talks about general human moral problems that are effective under any circumstances. It discusses the good and evil, mercy, forgiveness, lack of faith, mental emptiness and mental strength, human power and weakness. Therefore, the protagonists are rather symbols, generalized figures. Operatizing "Holodomor (Red Earth. Hunger)", the composer consciously stops on its chamber genre. By virtue of funds donated by the University of Las Vegas, the full concert performance (world premiere) took place on January 26, 2013, and was repeated on February 05 in New York. The principal players were tenor John Duykers and soprano Laura Bohn under conductorship of the author. Writing an opera devoted to the horrors of hunger in Ukraine and the problem of redemption, the composer set to himself not only artistic tasks, but also social and political. As Ukrainian by origin, the author wants the world to know the true information about Ukraine, and Ukrainian music art to occupy the deserving place in the world cultural space. Opera created during the epoch of Postmodern cannot remain the event of local significance. Modern art is an important form of culture art objectification in the context of development of information technologies. The new forms of culture art objectification used in the opera "Holodomor (Red Earth. Hunger)" include media and internet art. They enable "transportation" and edition of the created messages (recording of premiere, placing of information of the author’s website, on the composer’s personal page on Facebook social network, ensure a "vivid contact" with the author. Such an invention of Internet as blogosphere (network journal) enables periodical placement of the content (textual, illustrative, video, audio), its edition, review of friends’ pages, commenting of the records as well as reception of the comments and so on. Thus, new media are characterized by the high speed of information transfer, interactivity, and possibility to stay connected to the information channel practically in any place and at any time. V. Baley’s opera "Holodomor (Red Earth. Hunger)" is a vivid postmodern production that occupies the deserving place in the development of modern world opera, and due to the disclosure of the theme of Holodomor in Ukraine young people shape warning towards totalitarian regimes that generate mass violence and human genocide.

  • Issue Year: 2013
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 102-107
  • Page Count: 6
  • Language: Ukrainian