A different type of musical direction

Many years ago while working on a story for Ukrainisky Chas a Ukrainian radio program based out of Montreal, Canada there was a need for me to travel to L’viv to cover the inauguration ceremonies Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv. Though the purpose trip from Kyiv to L’viv was twofold . The morning of the ceremony I was to meet with an old friend, Lesya from Toronto, who was to delivery me my charger for my mini-disc recorder, thus making a little more convenient for me to cover the event, being able to charge both the internal battery and the two AA-Cell’s on the external screw on battery-pack giving me about 4 hours of recording time. There was one hitch… there were absolutely no tickets left for any of the trains from Kyiv to Lviv, an I had no way of getting in touch with Lesya to let her know that I might not be able to make the meeting, and if I did manage to get to L’viv at all, I would probably arrive sometime in the early afternoon.

Well after hopelessly wandering around the train station for about two hours, trying to find someone who would sell me a ticket to Lviv, I decided to head back to the sales wickets. There are occasions when people do return their tickets with them becoming available for other potential passengers. As I approached one of the wickets I saw a familiar face. And for some reason I always called this guy Taras, but I had always been mistaken, and out of politeness he had never corrected me. In fact it was Serhiy Proskurnya. Serhiy was in fact also supposed to be heading to L’viv for the ceremonies as he was producing the entire performance; however, this wasn’t to be the case and for some reason he was looking at me waving a train ticket in front of my nose, like a matador with a red flag in front of a bull. He said to me, “Vasyliu, this is the last ticket for Lviv that there is, however, it is platzkart!” At this point I really didn’t care what kind of carriage I was to be traveling, as long as I was there in the morning to meet up with Lesya. Serhiy, looked at me. “So do you want the ticket, you told me last week that you had to be in L’viv so I’d rather sell it to you at cost then to lose the 20% by returning it,” said Serhiy. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse. I pulled out my wallet paid him for the ticket. “See you in Lviv tomorrow,” he said. Needless to say I arrived in Lviv early in the morning and met Lesya, covered the ceremonies and headed back to Kyiv.

So you may be wondering what any of this has to do with music? It does but it more has to do with Serhiy and the line of work that he is in. Just over a month ago I was sitting at a little restaurant with my friend and business partner, discussing a number of different things. As we were about to pay the bill who arrives but Serhiy Proskurnya. He greets both of us and says, “Well, it’s odd enough that I would meet you two given I am not a Kyivite, but now and Odessite!” We looked at him and asked, “So what took you to Odesa?” “Well it’s quite simple, I am now Creative Director of the Odesa Opera!”

Knowing Serhiy’s background, I am curious of what will be coming out of the Odesa Opera in the future.