When the Fern Blooms

Ye. Stankovych
When the Fern Blooms
Feeria in 2 acts (folk-opera-balet)
18:00 - 20:00.

Music by Yevhen Stankovych

Libretto by Alexander Stelmashenkо

Shief conductor

Volodymyr Sirenko People`s Artist of Ukraine


Yurii Bervetskyi Honored artist of Ukraine

Stage director

Vasyl Vovkun People’s Artist of Ukraine

Set designer

Tadey Ryndzak People's Artist of Ukraine

Costume designer

Anna Ipatjeva

Chorus masters

Vadym Yatsenko Winner of Ukrainian competition

Iryna Koval


Artem Shoshyn (Kyiv) Honored Artist of Ukraine

Sergyj Naenko Honored Artist of Ukraine

Lighting designer

Dmytro Tsyperduk Honored Worker of Culture of Ukraine

Act I. “Kupala”

“Human Kupala Night”
Summer solstice. The magical power of the Kupala bonfire. Jumping over it, people go through the ritual of purgation. Marena, a symbol of obstacles to the human existence, is burned. Hands and hearts are joined. The highest passion for body fire is love.

“Mermaid Kupala Night”
Reflection in water. Twofold existence because of the doom. Detachment from reality, virtuality of time and space. Striving for the other world.

“Witch Kupala Night”
Orgy of passion through the perception and appreciation of the pleasures of others. An alternative to existence for self-esteem.

“Fern Flower”
The legend has it that the flower of the fern blooms for a moment at the shortest Kupala night. Is this flower a moment of love, a free human passion that helps to understand the human nature and the world at the shortest summer night?

Act II. Heroic

The “golden age” of the legendary pagan times or the humanist era, where the harmony of man and nature prevailed in all its manifestations of the completeness of being, is contrasted by the era of humanitarian crises, the threat of wars, chaos in Ukraine, starting from the Cossacks and the post-Cossack era to modern times.
Weapon is forged.
Drill assets its military might.
Battles are raging.
Death is coming.
Hope for a newborn son, who is blessed by his native land and mother, is the future of Ukraine, its leader and sage, as Baida or Morozenko were in their days.

About show

Folk opera ballet “When the Fern Blossoms” by Yevhen Stankovych is a phenomenon in music, unique both in genre and in stage history. The work was written in 1977, but never had a complete stage performance. Our theater ventured to implement this incredibly beautiful art canvas in bright and exciting way, canvas made of folk motifs, presented in modern musical language. In this pioneering performance there is no traditional plot that is inherent for opera arias and duets. In act I we will take a look at the colorful Pagan times, when the ancient culture of the Ukrainian people was formed in the union of man and nature; in act II we will feel our dark days with an echo of war, with a heroism inspired by memories of the freedom-loving Cossacks, with anxiety about the threat of a possible future disaster. 

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Yevhen Stankovych "When the Fern Blossoms" (opera-ballet)

“… and till now the clouds are hovering over this opera, and any attempts to stage the opera fail.”


In 1977, Yevhen Stankovych was proposed to write a large-scale stage production for the People’s Academic Choir named after G. Verovka by the French impresario company “Aliteka”.  This production required to find a new, bright, contemporary genre and spectacular solution.

According to the composer, “we hoped that the time finally came when the world spectator would be able to see and listen to an example of the richest Ukrainian folklore and images produced in modern musical language, interpreted by the composer and director.

Folk opera “When the Fern Blossoms” became an example of the so-called “new folk trend”, ​​the idea of which underlay in the attitude of the composer to folklore, when the ancient folk melodies or intonation and timbres in the author’s works are combined with modern principles of composer technique.

In 1977 Y. Stankovych completed the folk-opera “When the Fern Blossoms” which was based on the libretto of musicologist O. Stelmashenko. The rehearsal period began. Lviv artist Y. Lysyk, Kyiv choreographer A. Shekera, leading conductor F. Hlushchenko joined the project. The premiere had to take place at the beginning of the concert season of 1979 in the Palace of Arts “Ukraine”.

“This premiere will never be …” – said Yevhen Lysyk in a private conversation three days before the dress rehearsal.  The higher-ups decided that “Ukraine began to play at independence”.  “The history of the premiere, which did not take place,” says musicologist Rada Stankovych-Spoloska, “consists of a number of absurd circumstances which are well-known to older generations of listeners: endless inspections, calls from the KGB and the Central Committee, “unobtrusive ” care of those guests , “mild” recommendations to the author not to accept any business offers (and the French offered twenty-five concerts in the Parisian “Grand Opera” and a five-year contract for cooperation!), an emergency meeting of the creative committee, the police cordons and mounted police surrounding the Palace of Arts “Ukraine” on the dress rehearsal day, and, finally, the prohibition of the premiere with a neutral wording “for technical reasons.” This decision was taken by the Minister of Culture of that time S. Bezklubenko. ”

Thus, the prospects of a whole innovative opera trend were destroyed in Ukraine.

But are all these events absorbed by time? …

Harrowed folk opera of Yevhen Stankovych “When the Fern Blossoms” has existed in fragmentary form till now and has been awaiting its contemporary complete production.

During the years of Independence, the dream of giving stage life to “Fern Flower” has being cherished. It was planned to implement the idea of authentic outdoor production, in a certain natural landscape with water, blazing fire, large-scale folk scenes. This idea was supported by Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine (humanitarian matters) M. Zhulynskyi, later V. Smolyi. But, unfortunately, it failed.

In 1998, along with Swiss artists Hugo Schiro and Thomas Birve, the production was planned to be staged at one of the international exhibitions in Switzerland. On this occasion Yevhen Stankovych wrote: “At last I cherish vague hope to stage this work…”

Unfortunately not.

Along with the conductor V. Vasylenko, the idea to stage the opera in Donetsk was considered. And the composer rewrites the composition for the academic performers.

It did not happen again.

Finally, the opera of Yevhen Stankovych “When the Fern Blossoms” was included in the “Ukrainian breakthrough” program of the Lviv National Opera. It was here that Yevhen Lysyk and Yevgeny Stankovych prepared to combine the avant-garde, folk and symbolic stage technologies and a new interpretation of neo-folk thinking at the end of the twentieth century. ”

Vasyl Vovkun

People’s Artist of Ukraine

Stage director

Epos Director’s visions in féerie (opera-ballet) by Yevhen Stankovych "When the Fern Blossoms"

“There is no” vector “plot that is inherent in opera and usual monologues, arias, duets. Instead, the work is composed as a huge mosaic, in which scenes, sketches, and episodes are combined by the principle of contrast. All of this is a reflection of the mosaic thinking of the twentieth century, which is strangely combined with the principle of poetic cinema. ”

Yu. Chekan

The plot and compositional specificity of the ” When the Fern Blossoms” libretto by Yevhen Stankovych has been transformed in our interpretation, (agreed with the author of the music) in the direction of its compositional integrity, as well as the themes. From the “golden age” of the legendary pagan times (first act) or the humanist era, where the harmony of man and nature prevailed in all its manifestations of the completeness of being, to the contemporary, present times (second act), filled with humanitarian crises, the threat of wars, chaos, the underlying idea of which will display the history of the Cossacks and the post-Cossack era.

Common ideological and figurative feature of “When the Fern Blossoms ” text is a principle of generalized characteristics according to which the central image of the composition – the people – is shown on the level of figurative typing and is deprived of individual personification. Motivation of  author’s and director’s plot repetitions, situational parallelism, and improvisation will give the product a historical perspective, extending the space and time .In the first part the figurative and emotional concepts will be harmonic and passionate ,but the second one, in contrast, will be filled with wild rage,  military male spirit, forging of the arms, drilling, battle and death. This spirit of the present times absorbs the ancient deep spiritual constants and appears as heroism, creating its historical context.  This bright expression of composite dualism will create a poly-vector sense of ideological and figurative development, and will become an innovation of artistic and intonation synthesis.

Stage director

Vasyl Vovkun,

People’s Artist of Ukraine

Upcoming events
Opera soloists

Lyubov Kachala People’s Artist of Ukraine

Luydmyla Korsun (Ostash) Honored Artist of Ukraine

Vasyl Sadovskyj winner of the Ukrainian competition

Roman Trochymuk Honored artist of Ukraine

Chorus soloists

Olena Romaniv

Iryna Tchikel

Lilia Sobchyshyn

Ballet soloists

Zoryana Dvorska

Victoria Zvarych

Dariya Cosminа

Nataliya Pelo

Maria Potapova

Olha Polyakova

Serhiy Kachura Honored artist of Ukraine

Viкtor Malinovsky

Solo oboe

Ivan Kulinyak заслужений артист України

Denys Hryniov

Chorus, ballet and orchestra of Lviv national academic opera and ballet theatre named Solomiya Krushelnytska
print*The theater reserves the right to replace performers
11 September 2017
print*The theater reserves the right to replace performers