Wikimedia Blog/Drafts/New nusic projects from Ukrainian wikimedians for Wikimedia commons : Polish song by Chopin and Mozart`s operas. Both in Ukrainian translations.

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  • Arias by W.A.Mozart and Polish songs by F.Chopin were presented in Kyiv in Ukrainian translations by Wikimedia community in Kyiv.
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  • Kyiv wikimedia community in collaboration with distinguished professional musicians keeps working on Ukrainian translation of classic vocal music. On June 18th in Kyiv were presented arias and ensembles from these operas of W.A.Mozart: “The Marriage of Figaro”, “Don Giovanni” and “Magic flute”. After that, on June 19th, a presentation of the edition “Polish songs of F.Chopin in modern Ukrainian translations” took place. Thanks to a free license of Ukrainian translations, all the lyrics, music scores, as well as audio and video recordings have been download to Wikimedia commons.

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Participant`s of the Mozart operas concerto in a stage
Tetyana Cherep-Perohanych, Andriy Bondarenko and Anna Bahriana with new edition of Polish songs by F.Chopin in Ukrainian
W.A. Mozart. The Queen of the night aria in Ukrainian (from the opera "Magic flute"). Performers - Olga Fomichova (soprano), Andriy Bondarenko (piano).

The Kyiv wikimedia community in collaboration with distinguished professional musicians keeps working on Ukrainian translation of classic vocal music. On June 18th in Kyiv were presented arias and ensembles from these operas of W.A.Mozart: “The Marriage of Figaro”, “Don Giovanni” and “Magic Flute”. After that, on June 19th, a presentation of the edition “Polish songs of F.Chopin in modern Ukrainian translations” took place. Thanks to a free license of Ukrainian translations, all the lyrics, music scores, as well as audio and video recordings have been downloaded to Wikimedia commons.

“The perception of the music is a very intimate process, during which the melody and the poetical lyrics touch deep structures in the brain. If there, in the mysterious caves of unconsciousness, sometimes sneaks a “word” (right next to the reaching melody), that is a “word” of the mother tongue. A person masters foreign languages in an adult age with the help of a rational method (consciously learns the grammar, vocabulary, phraseology, etc.), that is why the influence of the foreign language lyrics doesn’t go further than the consciousness, meaning it touches only the upper layer of an intellect. This ability belongs only to the mother tongue… That’s why the accessibility of masterpieces of the international vocal repertoire for each person – in his/her own mother tongue should be approved as fundamental.” – writes the famous Ukrainian musicologist G.Gansburg.

It is very likely that the great Ch.W.Gluck had already understood this characteristic property of the minds. After he had written his famous opera “Orpheus and Eurydice” more than 2 centuries ago using a libretto in Italian, it was decided to prepare as well a version in French for the premiere in Paris. Later on, the tradition vocal music translation spread out throughout Europe, and between the XIX and XX century has reached Ukraine as well.

The project “World classics in Ukrainian” which is meant to revive Ukrainian translations of the worldwide classics, has started in 2012, and since then more than 200 minutes of vocal music in Ukrainian translations have been downloaded to Wikimadia commons. Among them there is the full opera “Dido and Aeneas”. Moreover, in some articles of Ukrainian Wikipedia, and sometimes in the respective articles in other languages, the corresponding links distribute such contents. Furthermore, the translated texts are distributed in Wikisource. There can be found as well the links on the notes materials and the audio and video recordings, which were mentioned above.

Who actually is making those Ukrainian translations?

In some cases we have engaged the heritage of the translators of the past, among them the operas “The Marriage of Figaro” and “Magic flute” by W.A.Mozart have been translated by famous ukrainian poet Yevhen Drobyazko, and “Don Giovanni” by Mykola Lukash. Such initiative has been carried on with the permission of the heirs of the authors of the respective Libretti. In other cases we were searching for modern poets who were willing and able to do the translation. With this attitude the translation of “Dido and Aeneas” from English to Ukrainian has been realized by Olena O’Lear.

For the project “Polish songs of F.Chopin in modern Ukrainian translations” there should have been done the translations of 19 songs – the one’s that are known for todays date. In the realization of this project has been very appreciated the help of the portal “The woman-Ukraine”, where was issued a call for poets-translators, gathering so 10 poets-volunteers. More than anyone, the poet Tetyana Cherep-Perohanych, founder of the portal, has contributed ot the project.

During the process of realization of the project, we managed to find the translations of 2 songs, performed by Borys Ten. However, unfortunately this information can’t be published to prevent copyright infringement – the great Ukrainian poet didn’t live any heirs, so his works remain in the category “orphan works”.

Besides of that, we were very lucky to meet a singer from Rivne – Halyna Shvidkiv, who was preparing at that time a songs’ collection of polish composers. Some of them were translated by Maria Tkachenko and one even by Halyna herself. That is how some of the Chopin’s songs have several translation variants, and our edition gives the opportunity to compare them.

During the realization of the project “The operas of W.A.Mozart in Ukrainian” there were as well some difficulties with text. Unfortunately, the translations of M.Lukash and Ye.Drobyasko have never been published, and there have appeared some losses in the handwritten sources. That’s why 2 arias were translated into Ukrainian by one of the singers at this concert - Anna Slizinova, not long ago before the performing date. All in all, the circle of translators who take part in the project “World classics in Ukrainian” widens; and as well, widens the circle of performers (We can look at the geography of the project: participants came from Rivne, Harkiv and Vinnitsya to take part in these 2 concerts). On top of it, Olga Fomichova, a singer from the National Opera House, took part as well .

The perspectives of the project are very promising. Our goal is to give to the public, access to translations of all the masterpieces of vocal music, this could actually include hundreds of hours of music, if not thousands. In conclusion looking back we can say that even if a part of vocal classics has already been translated by the great masters of the past, the bulk of this volume of contents is still waiting for it’s translators.


Andriy Bondarenko, the leader of the project, Ukrainian wikipedian