Philosophical and Tragic Component of the Artistic Conception of Myroslav Skoryk’s Opera “Моses”




Myroslav Skoryk’s creativity, Ivan Franko’s poem “Moses”, Ukrainian opera, philosophical tragedy, phenomenon of passion, monothematism, musical rhetoric and symbols


Relevance of the study. Myroslav Skorykʼs opera “Moses” is a landmark work in both the composer’s heritage and the modern Ukrainian musical theater. Inheriting the multilevel concept of the literary source of the libretto — the poem of the same name by Ivan Franko — the work causes interpretive discrepancies. In the I. Frankoʼs formulation the main theme of the work is connected with the tragedy of the personality, the leader and the biblical prophet Moses, who was called to lead the Jewish people out of Egyptian slavery. The analysis of the musical means of expressing the tragic constituent of the concept has not yet become the subject of a separate study, remaining in the shadow of the socio-political topics that are more relevant for the Ukrainian society. This determines the novelty and relevance of the study.

Main objective of the study is to identify the signs of the musical embodiment of the philosophical and I. Francoʼs tragic plan of at the genre-dramatic and intonation-thematic levels of realization of the artistic concept of the M. Skorykʼs opera “Moses”.

Methodology. The article uses the methods of system, genre-dramatic and intonationalsemantic analysis of musical work.

Scientific novelty. For the first time the philosophical-tragic aspect of the concept of opera is specially considered, its priority is proved, the signs of intonational unity of the opera are revealed, the features of monotheism are indicated.

Main results and findings of the study as well as a conclusion. The artistic concept of the opera “Moses” is read on the textual (reinterpreted b y I. Franco biblical history) and four contextual levels (allegories of Ukrainian history, religious and general philosophical, autobiographical). Disclosure of the multilevel concept is carried out by means of musical-intonational drama, built by M. Skoryk on the principle of hierarchically and logically organized spiritual-musical universe. By musical means the composer builds a system of biblical prototypes (Moses — Christ), correspondences (rebels Aviron and Dathan — evil spirits Azazel and Johavedda), symbols and subtexts (Poet and Moses in the opera as the Ivan Francoʼs alter ego) of poetic origin, spiritual and moral meanings.

The intonational unity of the opera is based on the orchestral theme-epigraph from the Prologue. The main leitmotifs and characteristics of the actors are based on its modified elements. Careful elaboration of details, ingenuity of thematic work, appeal to baroque methods of revealing the sacred in the text are designed to express the concept of ontological unity of the world, genetically linked to the biblical worldview.

The predominance of tragic signs on the plot (death of Moses and the rebels), dramaturgy (passion), intonation-thematic levels (catabasis, symbol of the cross) allows us to conclude about the philosophical tragedy of the genre of opera. In the aspect of revealing the tragedy of the personality M. Skoryk’s opera resonates with similar works by M. Mussorgsky, P. Tchaikovsky, D. Shostakovich, A. Schnittke, R. Shchedrin and others.

The methodological paths outlined in this article allow us to further reveal new and new hidden meanings and subtexts of the opera.

Author Biography

Olena Derevianchenko, P. I. Tchaikovsky National Musical Academy of Ukraine

Candidate of Art Criticism (PhD), Associate Professor at the Chair of Ukrainian Musical History and Musical Folklore


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