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Amistad in Ukraine

Amistad in Ukraine

Ex-patriot from Mexico on the brink of his opera career

Yesterday, 5 May 2020, was Cinco de Mayo. Throughout the world, many observe this holiday as a celebration of Mexican culture — at least as far as they understand it, likened to the association of St. Patrick’s Day with Irish culture. Not everyone knows the real meaning of the holiday, which commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory over the French in 1862. Some mistake this holiday for Mexican Independence Day, which is duly celebrated with more vigour by the Mexican people on 16 September.

In the vibrant network of expatriates living in Kyiv, Daniil Vinzoulain, originally from Veracruz, Mexico, is an aspiring opera singer on the brink of beginning his career in the performing arts. Currently completing his studies at the National Pedagogical Dragomanova University, Daniil has found a comfortable home in Kyiv. While he loves Ukrainian culture, he also enjoys sharing his rich Mexican culture with his Ukrainian colleagues and friends — whether it be in the classroom or the kitchen.

Prior to studying in Kyiv, Daniil studied at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City. In vocal-performance terms, Daniil is a countertenor, meaning his vocal range reaches as high as a female soprano. Such a voice is uncommon, and because of it, his repertoire is quite specific. Fortunately for him, this unique niche is sought after by chorales and opera companies. For his master’s, he searched for an opportunity to study abroad and found it in a program offered by Dragomanova University. In his course, Daniil continues to train his voice while also exploring all the associated theatrical arts, which are a part of opera production. He receives many opportunities to perform both as a soloist and in the university’s choir. 

Daniil studies very hard and wishes to immerse himself in the broader art culture of Kyiv — attending operas, ballet, etc. Equally impressive as his vocal range is his range of languages: in addition to speaking his native Spanish, Daniil speaks English and studies Russian and Ukrainian; furthermore, he knows some German and Italian through osmosis with the classical repertoire. Daniil specializes in the Baroque repertoire and feels most at home with Handel or Mozart. However, he also admires the Slavic repertoire, particularly Glinka and Rachmaninoff. A dream for him would be to perform in Ruslan and Ludmilla

Daniil’s studies often consume his time, but he still finds opportunities to enjoy everything that Ukrainian culture has to offer — in addition to Ukrainian music, history, and cuisine. He also enjoys sharing his Mexican culture, and he is especially proud of ancient Mexican history: “We have interesting civilizations such as Mayans, Mexicas and Olmecs”. He looks forward to hosting his friends for Mexican Independence Day. Daniil thinks the best cross-cultural communication occurs in the kitchen. He says, “Food is the cultural heritage of humanity. Mexican food is so tasty and interesting”. But, is it easy to get Mexican ingredients in Ukraine? He says, “Sometimes it is difficult, but not impossible”.

Follow Daniil’s journey in Ukraine via his Facebook page:

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