Opera’s Attila stops performing Russian music

Ukrainian bass operatic singer Taras Berezhansky in “Attila”… “Driving the horse is just not all that onerous, however leaping off is.” Photograph: Prudence Upton

WHEN Ukrainian bass operatic singer Taras Berezhansky began finding out the position of Attila the Hun, which he’ll carry out for Opera Australia quickly, he didn’t spend plenty of time on historical past.

Attila’s repute, in any case, precedes him, and to Berezhansky much more essential was the complexity of the character which Giuseppe Verdi and his librettist Temistocle Solera created within the opera, which was a thinly veiled argument for Italy’s independence from Austria.

“He could also be a detrimental character, however he has passions, he has life… He has plenty of enemies, however he seems like an actual man,” Berezhansky tells me by telephone from Sydney. 

Till not way back Berezhansky was residing along with his spouse and daughter within the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, the place he had studied on the Nationwide Pedagogical College of Ukraine and Nationwide Music Academy of Ukraine 

“However in Kyiv, we had 10 of probably the most horrible days I can bear in mind… I used to be additionally working on the opera home in Lviv within the western a part of Ukraine and so now we have moved there – it’s additional south and east and the capital is an excessive amount of of a goal,” he says.

He’s simply landed in Sydney after I converse to him – “I by no means dreamt I’d carry out on this fantastic place,” he says.

However Ukraine is a rustic with deeper musical roots than ours. 

“As a singer, you begin your skilled research within the nationwide music academy however it’s been an extended journey. I took plenty of masterclasses wherever I may and it was very tough to get a job at first, however then I gained a contest in Estonia and after that, my worldwide profession began,” he says.

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One among his earlier roles was taking part in the bass a part of Leporello, the crafty servant of Don Giovanni in Mozart’s opera, a significant position.

“Due to Mozart and Verdi, now we have a job. Being a bass often means being a father or a priest, however these two composers have given significantly good roles to singers on the decrease register, though I desire Verdi for my voice,” he says.

He’s carried out earlier than for Opera Australia, as Colline in “La Bohème” and Sparafucile in “Rigoletto, and he carried out Attila simply twice in 2020 earlier than covid struck and it was cancelled.

It’s a co-production with La Scala, in Milan, directed by Italian director Davide Livermore, recognized for his enormous digital backdrops, though this time the revival director is Kate Gaul. 

A favorite half is the place he performs on horseback. He’s not an knowledgeable horse rider and needed to follow for his first performances in Sydney. 

“It was fairly good till I needed to bounce off… driving the horse is just not all that onerous, however leaping off is.”

Fortunately his horse Zulu is a really well-trained horse and he believes that the 2 horses on this manufacturing are the most costly of all of the performers.

“It’s an fascinating opera for the viewers as a result of it mixes the great and the unhealthy,” he says. 

“I’ve a marvellous aria, ‘Mentre gonfiarsi l’anima’ [As my heart seemed to swell], a really tough aria with some very excessive notes for a bass.

“I’m telling my slave pal Uldino in regards to the dream I noticed of Pope Leo… I wished to beat the Roman Empire, however after that I made a decision to step again, it’s an important level.” 

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It’s all downhill from there and in the long run Attila is dispatched by his spouse, the Italian Odabella – that’s nearly actually not true, however it ends the opera successfully. 

The tip is in sight… Taras Berezhansky in Opera Australia’s “Attila”. Photograph: Prudence Upton

At 37, Berezhansky is getting into the prime age for an opera singer. When he returns to Ukraine, he’ll carry out within the Lviv Opera Home, nonetheless going sturdy, and says the disaster in his dwelling nation has made him see the ability of music and all the arts.

Like many different Ukrainian singers, Berezhansky has carried out in Russian operas, notably in “Eugene Onegin” and “Iolanta”, each by Tchaikovsky.

“It’s fairly tough to speak about this,” he says. “However for us Ukrainians, now we have stopped performing Russian music.”

However he has a contract to play within the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich, and if he needed to carry out in a Russian work, how would he strategy the state of affairs? 

“I feel if there have been a means, I’d use it as a weapon towards the Russians,” he says. 

Verdi’s “Attila”, Sydney Opera Home, October 29-November 5.

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Ian Meikle, editor