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The focus of this study was the first Serbian opera, Na Uranku (At Dawn). It was written by Stanislav Binièki (1872-1942) and was first performed in 1903 at the National

The focus of this study was the first Serbian opera, Na Uranku (At Dawn). It was written by Stanislav Binièki (1872-1942) and was first performed in 1903 at the National Theatre in Belgrade. There were two objectives of this project: (1) a live concert performance of the opera, which produced an audio recording that can be found as an appendix; and, (2) an accompanying document containing a history and an analysis of the work. While Binièki's opera is recognized as an extraordinary artistic achievement, and a new genre of musical enrichment for Serbian music, little had been previously written either about the composer or the work. At Dawn is a romantic opera in the verismo tradition with national elements. The significance of this opera is not only in its artistic expression but also in how it helped the music of Serbia evolve. Early opera settings in Serbia in the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century did not have the same wealth of history upon which to draw as had existed in the rich operatic oeuvre in Western Europe and Russia. Similarly, conditions for performance were not satisfactory, as were no professional orchestras or singers. Furthermore, audiences were not accustomed to this type of art form. The opera served as an educational instrument for the audience, not only training them to a different type of music but also evolving its national consciousness. Binièki's opera was a foundation on which later generations of composers built. The artistic value of this opera is emphasized. The musical language includes an assimilation of various influences from Western Europe and Russia, properly incorporated into the Serbian musical core. Audience reaction is discussed, a positive affirmation that Binièki was moving in the right direction in establishing a path for the further development of the artistic field of Serbian musical culture. A synopsis of the work as well as the requisite performing forces is also included.

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    • 2011
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    by Jana Minov

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