Solomiya Krushelnytska Musical Museum – The Life of a Ukrainian Opera Star

In the great city of Lviv, in the Lviv-Oblast of Ukraine, there is a long history full of talented composers, writers, political idealists, philosophers, musicians and singers. One such gifted singer was Solomiya Krushelnytska, who was born in 1873.

During her time of study at the Lviv Conservatory, Solomiya was able to debut her unique voice during her appearance in Donizetti’s production, ‘Favorita’. This resulted in critical acclaim and would lead her into her life-long career. In 1893 Solomiya Krushelnytska graduated gaining distinction as an Opera singer. From there she performed all over Europe and America. The premiere of Puccini’s ‘Madame Butterfly‘ in Milan’s ‘La Scala’ was not well received by audiences. However Solomiya’s later performance in 1904 solidified her position as a firm favorite when, three months later in Brescia, Solomiya took to the stage as leading lady in this very production, completely overwhelming the delighted crowds.

Some time was spent in Milan where Solomiya carried on her musical studies, dedicating over six hours every day. This included: acting, vocal lessons, learning new parts as well as becoming accomplished in eight different languages. Solomiya thrived in these activities, gaining knowledge of the cultural background to the creative world surrounding her, and slowly both her leisure activities and work became centered on it. Although her schedule absorbed most of her time, Solomiya still continued to actively correspond with those dear to her and it is was through these letters that Solomiya Krushelnytska displayed her interests beyond the stage. She discussed such topics as: the issues within Ukraine, books she had read, and problems of culture.

In 1910 Solomiya married the love of her life, Cesare Ricchoni, who was an Italian attorney. The height of her career in 1920 saw her departure from opera but, within three years, Solomiya resumed her career through concert tours, taking advantage of the many languages she had acquired. With the death of her husband in August of 1939 Solomiya left what had become her home in Italy, returning to Lviv where she resided till her death. In honor, the ‘Lviv Conservatory’ was renamed after her and her legacy. While still teaching she was again honored with a promotion to full professor just before her death in 1952.

The final tribute to this renowned opera singer was the establishment of the Solomiya Krushelnytska Musical Memorial Museum in 1991. Today it resides on the first floor of her home, built in 1884, with the street named after her, allowing an opportunity for you to gain insight into the personal life of this talented Ukrainian.

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