When the Fern Blooms

Ye. Stankovych
Duration 0 годин, 0 хвилин

When the Fern Blooms

Duration 0 годин, 0 хвилин

Libretto by Oleksandr Stelmashenko based on Kupala folk songs

The masterpiece “When the Fern Blooms” by Ukrainian composer Yevhen Stankovych has withstood the test of time, even after being banned by Soviet authorities and was triumphantly premiered at Lviv National Opera in 2017.

The folk opera-ballet “When the Fern Blooms” embodies the unique Ukrainian rite of celebrating Kupala Night and presents to the audience the key historical events of the struggle of the Ukrainian people. This fantastic performance combines solo and choral performance, modern choreography and vivid action with video projection.

Sung in Ukrainian


Сhief conductor

Stage director

Set designer

Costume designer

Chief chorus master

Lighting designer

Officials and performers

Opera soloists

Lyubov Kachala

Luydmyla Korsun

Mykhajlo Malafij

Vasyl Sadovskyj

Roman Trochymuk

Chorus soloists

Maryana Berezyak

Olena Romaniv

Iryna Tchikel

Liliya Sobchyshyn

Halyna Harbit

Ballet soloists

Дар’я Косміна

Victoria Zvarych

Nataliya Pelo

Maria Potapova

Myroslav Melnyk

Mariana Gress

Milena Rusanova

Chorus, ballet and orchestra of Lviv National Opera

Event Libretto


“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?


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.

Short Description

In 1977, the French impresario company “Aliteka” asked Yevhen Stankovych to write a grand stage composition for the People’s Academic Choir named after G. Verovka. During a guest tour, the performance had to be presented in Grand Opéra in Paris. However, in 1979 the premiere of the féerie, which was created in cooperation with famous artists of the 20th century – set designer Yevhen Lysyk and choreographer Anatolii Shekera, was banned by the Soviet authorities with a neutral wording “for technical reasons”. The real reason for the prohibition was the representation of the Ukrainian culture in an impressive performance, which would inevitably provoke a development of a new stage of national performing arts in the context of post-avant-garde style, which was incompatible with the ideologically acceptable artistic direction of “socialist realism” in the Soviet Union.

After decades of oblivion, a complete director’s stage version of the féerie “When the Fern Blooms” was presented for the first time in 2017 at Lviv National Opera. This time the new generation of artists collaborated with the composer: director Vasyl Vovkun, conductor Volodymyr Sirenko, set designer Tadei Ryndzak, costume designer Hanna Ipatieva, lightening designer Dmytro Tsyperdiuk.

“I am happy that my composition is included in the grand project of Vasyl Vovkun “Ukrainian Breakthrough” and will be revived in the modern original production in Lviv”. 

Yevhen Stankovych, composer

This impressive performance combines modern musical language, chorus, folk ritual traditions and modern choreography. Bright set design and ith video projection strengthen a positive impression.

Ukrainian singer, People’s Artist of Ukraine Nina Matviienko took part in the premiere performances. Later, in 2018, the feerie “When the Fern Blooms” by Ye. Stankovych was presented at Odesa National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre and Taras Shevchenko National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Ukraine.

“There is no vector plot, classical operatic arias or duets. The composition is built as a huge mosaic, in which contrast scenes, sketches and episodes are combined. This reflects the mosaic thinking of the 20th century, which is strangely combined with the principle of poetic cinema”.

Yurii Chekan, musicologist, Doctor of Arts 

“When the Fern Blooms” by Ye. Stankovych also became the first modern Ukrainian opera broadcast on MEGOGO streaming Internet television, the website of the newest European opera productions Opera Vision and the European theatre platform Dramox.

Ukrainian, German and Austrian critics wrote about the premiere of the feerie.

“For the first time at the Ukrainian theatre, we can see such an active, colourful, impressive performance in 3D”, which uses the latest technology – from lighting installations to video projectors.”

Lesia Oliinyk. Folk opera-ballet “When the Fern Blooms” by Yevhen Stankovych: Ukrainian Breakthrough in Lviv. Source: “Music”: Ukrainian online magazine

«Jeder Komponist versucht seine Vorstellung von der Kontinuität der Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft im Klang zu gestalten. Gleichfalls artikuliert der Musiker im Klang bzw. in der eigenen Klangsprache den Wert und die Würde seines Landes, das ihm die unbegrenzten schöpferischen Kräfte liefert. Diese Künstler ermöglichen es uns, echte Werte vor dem Vergessen zu bewahren. … So ist Stankovychs ukrainische Folk-Oper „Wenn der Farn blüht“ auch auszulegen. Die Neuproduktion der Lemberger Staatsoper eröffnete die erste Tür zu verschiedenen Interpretationen dieses bedeutenden Werks, das zum Kulturerbe der europäischen Musikgeschichte zählt und gehört». («Every composer tries to express in sound his ideas about the continuity of the past, present and future. In this way a musician expresses by means of music the value and dignity of his country, which gives him unlimited creative powers. … This is how the Ukrainian folk opera “When the Fern Blooms” should be interpreted. The new production of Lviv National Opera for the first time opened the door for this outstanding composition, which belongs to the cultural heritage of European music history.»). 

Adelina Yefimenko, musicologist, Doctor of Arts. LVIV/LEMBERG/Ukraine: “WENN DER FARN BLÜHT” von Yevhen Stankovych. Source: MERKER Online (Austria)