Stanislav Binichki: Na uranku (At Dawn) (1903)

So, here is something different. We are going to go on a vacation to the former Yugoslavia! This is the first Serbian opera, and yes, I am currently working on the first Croatian opera, it’s just over twice as long as this. I will also do at least one Slovenian opera as well which I have meant to do for about two years.

Opera in one act, 55 minutes.

SETTING: A village under Turkish rule. Rado and Stanka are in love. They plan on getting married but a rival, Ando, for Stanka accuses her fiancé of being illegitimate, which is apparently cause to bar him from marrying her.


0: The prelude * is very mild and leads to some “Turkish” sounding chirpy music before a tenor performs the Muslim call to prayer.

6: Stanka’s aria about her love for Rado **.

13: Stanka is surprised Rado as she is drawing water from the well and them embark on a duet **.

20: Rado’s mother comes on and the three embark on a trio which rapidly turns into a quartet when Ando, the rival for Stanka, hides himself behind a tree **. Mother approves of the match.

25: Ando, a Muslim, is also in love with Stanka, but she obviously does not care for him and probably loathes him *.

28: Left alone, Ando’s aria **.

32: A three minute intermezzo *.

35: A cute choral sequence * which eventually develops into a Serbian line dance, known as a kolo. The number gets broken up when they find Ando sitting about nearby but they soon go into a much happier number.

40: As Stanka comes on the chorus greet her before she goes to be married **. Ando threatens to expose Rado’s secret illegitimacy. He does, it infuriates Rado who attacks Ando who has him arrested. Rado’s mother comes on and learns everything and collapses.

47: Mother’s hushed aria *.

50: Mother admits to Rado that he is illegitimate * and he stabs Ando with a knife. The Muslim call to Prayer is heard again. In the finale three minutes the Serbian men arm themselves for probable reprisals for the murder of Ando to an orchestral accompaniment.


What can I say? This is okay, but there is very little to it. It is basically a love triangle complicated by a mother’s secret and ends rather stereotypically for the Serbs with some anti-Ottomanism. It isn’t really all that interesting except as being the first Serbian opera, if that interests you. The kolo dancing is neat if you’ve never heard of it before or are into kolo dancing. A gamma or a beta according to taste.


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