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Semen Hulak-Artemovsky

Semen Hulak-Artemovsky

was a Ukrainian opera composer, singer (baritone), actor, and dramatist who lived and worked in Imperial Russia.He is known mainly for his comic opera Zaporozhets za Dunayem (A Zaporozhian (Cossack) Beyond the Danube), as well as for his dramatic talent and his powerful, rich baritone voice. He was the nephew of the poet Petro Hulak-Artemovsky.

Hulak-Artemovsky was born in Horodyshche, Kiev Governorate (today in independent Ukraine) to the family of a priest, and went on to study at the Kiev Theological Seminary from 1835 to 1838. Having gained the attention of Mikhail Glinka, the young Semen was brought to the capital of the empire, St Petersburg, in 1838 to receive vocal training directly from Glinka, as well as entry into the Imperial Chapel Choir. The following year, Hulak-Artemovsky left to continue his studies in Italy. Towards the end of his stay in that country, he began performing opera in Florence. Upon his return to St. Petersburg in 1842, Hulak-Artemovsky became a soloist of the Imperial Opera at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre, a position he held for 22 years. In 1852 and 1853 he sang roles in Anton Rubinstein's first two operas, Dmitry Donskoy and Fomka the Fool. Hulak-Artemovsky performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow from 1864 to 1865. He performed over fifty operatic roles during his career, including Ruslan in Glinka's Ruslan and Lyudmila, Masetto in Mozart's Don Giovanni, as well as Antonio and Lord Ashton in Donizetti's Linda di Chamounix and Lucia di Lammermoor. A composer of operas, as well as vocal and instrumental music, Hulak-Artemovsky composed his seminal work Zaporozhets za Dunayem in 1864, after completing the libretto in 1862.

His friendship with Taras Shevchenko began in the fall of 1838, after a chance meeting in St. Petersburg. The lifelong friendship continued during Shevchenko's incarceration and subsequent release, and was said to have strongly influenced Hulak-Artemovsky's view of the world. He dedicated his song A Maple Tree Stands Over The River to Shevchenko.

Hulak-Artemovsky died at the age of 60 in Moscow.


February 16, 1813
Semen Hulak-Artemovsky was born in Horodyshche.


Further Resources


Veniamin Tolba - Symphony in memoriam of S.Hulak-Artemovsky


January 6, 2014

Zaporozhets Beyond the Danube (Hulak-Artemovsky) Movie 1953


December 16, 2018

Семен Гулак-Артемовський Semen Hulak-Artemovsky Ukraine


April 29, 2013

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