Culture News Society, 23/07/2017

Open Air Opera and Monument to Mazepa: ‘Hetman Glory’ Festival in Kolomak

A cultural festival dedicated to the 330th anniversary of Ivan Mazepa’s election as Hetman of Ukraine took place yesterday in Kolomak town, Kharkiv oblast.

“Hetman Glory” began with the opening of the monument to Ukraine’s well-known statesman Ivan Mazepa, who was in power for unusually long 22 years. Ukrainian historians consider him a great patriot, while Russian historians think he is a traitor of Muscovites.

The monument is 5.5 meters high. The hetman holds a mace in the right hand and “Kolomak articles” in the left one (These symbols might be seen as the demonstration of the conflict rooted into Mazepa’s ruling from the first day of the inauguration – KhO editor’s note).

“Ivan Mazepa insisted that Ukraine should be an independent state, a part of a European family. Today, we have returned to this path and are moving towards the European community to strengthen democratic values. We already have visa-free travel, which means Ukraine is recognized a part of a European family,” said Kharkiv Governor Yulia Svitlychna.

The event attracted thousands of guests from different Ukrainian regions. About 50 creative groups performed at the main stage,  “Zaporizhzhya Cossacks” Theater was one of them. Festival-goers had other options to entertain themselves. For example, they could walk over numerous stores at the craft workers’ fare or to even learn from them during workshops.

The highlight of the festival was the open-air premiere of Tchaikovsky’s opera “Mazeppa” in Ukrainian. It was staged by M.V. Lysenko Kharkiv National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater and involved more than 200 artists. According to the directors, opera does not glorify the Russian army and neither casts a shadow of betrayal on the hetman. At the same time, the play portrays a dramatic Ivan and Motria’s love story.

Text: Iryna Klymenko

Photos: Kharkiv Regional State Administration