[Kiev]; Kharkiv: Mistetstvo, 1936. 70,  pp.: ill., 2 pl. 25х17,5 cm. In original blank wrappers and illustrated dust wrappers with Ukrainian folk floral decoration. Vertical crease of the whole book, small tears of the spine, Soviet bookshops’ stamps both on the wrapper and dust wrapper, tears and losses of the dust wrapper.
First and only edition. Rare. One of 5000 copies. In Russian. The edition’s decoration echoes the national Ukrainian leitmotif of the opera (designed by G.M. Pustovoit). Set and costume design by A.V. Khvostov.
The edition includes opera libretto, description of dances and designs of the production, history of the opera and composer’s biography, principles of staging this production. This is an illustrated program of the performance with two colorful plates of the decorations. Zaporozhets (Cossack) Beyond the Danube is a Ukrainian comic opera with spoken dialogue in three acts with music and libretto by the composer Semen Hulak-Artemovsky (1813–1873). This is one of the best-known Ukrainian comic operas depicting national themes. It was premiered with a Russian libretto
on 26 April 1863, in St Petersburg. (However, it is now normally performed in a Ukrainian translation.) Shortly after the premiere, the Russian government, frightened by the Polish uprising of 1863, began repressions against the manifestations of the national culture of the people who were part of the Russian Empire, seeing the trends of “separatism” everywhere. The censorship ban concerned the development of Ukrainian drama and theater. Apart from separate amateur performances, “Zaporozhets beyond the Danube” was staged for the first time after 1863 by the Ukrainian troupe only in 1884 in Rostov-on-Don.
The story depicts the events following the destruction of the island fortress of Zaporizhian Sich, the historic stronghold of the Ukrainian Cossacks on the Dnieper River. Although historically this destruction was ordered by the Russian Empress Catherine II in 1775, for unknown reasons the composer chose to set the action in 1772. To tell the story of the freedom-loving Zaporozhian Cossacks of Ukraine, who had fought against the Russian Empire, Hulak-Artemovsky deliberately set the story in Turkish lands with the Cossacks fighting for the Sultan. This change of locale helped the work get past the Tsar’s censors, who normally banned stories about Ukrainian Cossacks. (Wikipedia)
The restoration of the opera on stage fell on the Soviet times. At the time of Proletkult in the 1920s, an attempt was made to “modernize” the Zaporozhets in Kharkov. In essence, the new libretto in the genre of “accusatory” satirical comedy was written by Ostap Vishnya: the main characters of the opera, like immigrants in Morocco, played the classic “Zaporozhets beyond the Danube” for the natives in order to earn “bread”. Composer Mikhail Tits added a number of vocal and instrumental numbers, using themes from popular romances, folk songs, fashion dances and jazz motifs. For the first time in the «classic» form, «Zaporozhets» was staged at the Kiev Opera in 1934, and since then almost all the leading singers of Ukraine have sung in it. It was shown in Moscow on the Decades of Ukrainian art in March 1936 and in June 1951.
Worldcat locates a copy at Yale University and Library of Congress.