CHERKASY — The Taras Shevchenko Musical Drama Theater has returned from a tour of the Netherlands and Belgium after staging 18 productions in various cities, including the premiere of Der Zigeunerbaron, as part of a music project that became a reality owing to the International Opera Productions Foundation. The Cherkasy actors sang in a choir. They had rehearsed their German so well that in some drama companies they were referred to as a German choir and people were amazed to learn that the choir actually came from Ukraine. Theatergoers abroad are accustomed to a choir’s stationary rendition, whereas in Der Zigeunerbaron the choir showed an amazingly dramatic performance.
“We weren’t sure about the audience’s reaction. After all, it was a different culture where people responded to things differently, but art reigned supreme. If you put your heart in your impersonation, everyone feels it,” says the actor Serhii Bobrov.
The actor Tetiana Kryzhanivska was amazed to discover that artistic tourism is very popular in the Netherlands. Some theatergoers traveled from one city to another to watch the same production twice.
“We have a scene where our guys leave to take the field and then we welcome them back.” Then we looked at the audience and saw that everybody was crying,” recalls Kryzhanivska.
Cherkasy Mayor Serhii Odarych watched Der Zigeunerbaron in Tilburg, in the Netherlands (he had helped organize this production).
“We try to carry out at least one such project every year. This is interesting and useful for the city. We thus give a fresh impetus to our cultural life and attract attention to our city. [In Tilburg] everyone in the audience received a color brochure about Cherkasy after the performance. I think this is very important. Little strokes fell great oaks. We’ll try to keep up the good job,” says Odarych.
Der Zigeunerbaron was watched by more than 10,000 in the Netherlands and Belgium. The most expensive ticket cost 43 euros.
The theater’s director Volodymyr Osypov is satisfied with the tour. At present, he is working on a Ukrainian version of the operetta. It will premiere in Cherkasy on March 27 and 28.
“Rehearsals start next week. The stage director will be the Netherlander Mark Kron. In other words, direction and music will be the same, but the leading parts will be performed by our soloists Yurii Prokopchuk and Natalka Mamalyha,” explains Osypov.
The German version will be staged once again during the international festival Stsena liudstva (Mankind’s Stage) scheduled to take place in Cherkasy on May 23–30.