Boris Lozhkin
Boris Lozhkin
President of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine and Vice-President of the World Jewish Congress

Celebrating famous Jews from Ukraine: Mordechai Golinkin

Feodor Chaliapin principally did not give charity concerts, saying that “only birds sing free of charge.” The only exclusion in his career was a concert in the People’s House of Petrograd in April 1918. The main event of that evening was even not the fact of the charity performance of the capricious opera singer, but the fact that Chaliapin sang in Hebrew the practically unknown to anyone before in Russia Hatikvah, which became in time the national anthem of Israel.
Chaliapin gave over the proceeds from the concert to his friend, born in Kherson region Mordechai Golinkin, who was dreaming to create a Jewish opera in Eretz Israel.
Golinkin became one of the few friends of the quarrelsome Chaliapin in 1912 exclusively on basis of their common love of music. Impressed by the talent of the conductor Golinkin, Chaliapin tried to invite only him for all his subsequent concerts. He even tried to make Golinkin the main conductor of the Mariinski Theatre, but the unconditional reputation of Chaliapin did not help him place a jew at the conductor’s stand of the main stage of Russia.
Chaliapin’s money was not enough for the construction of the opera theatre Golinkin dreamt about. He was able to gather only an opera company from among the local performers, which in July 1923 performed Traviata in Hebrew in the Eden cinema in Tel Aviv. That concert became the date of birth of the Jewish opera.

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About the Author
Boris Lozhkin is a Ukrainian entrepreneur, philanthropist and author. He is President of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine and Vice-President of the World Jewish Congress.
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