Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

The invasion of Ukraine pushed the country's institutions to abandon certain works of Russian culture in favor of Ukrainian creations.

When the war revives Ukrainian works | War in Ukraine

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Musicians of the Luhansk orchestra rehearsing the opera “Olha” by Ukrainian composer Sydir Vorobkevych.

  • Raphaël Bouvier- Auclair (View profile)Raphaël Bouvier-Auclair

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In the historic concert hall of Lviv, the large city in western Ukraine, singers and musicians rehearse for the concert the next day.< /p>

On the menu for this highly anticipated evening: the opera Olhaby Ukrainian composer Sydir Vorobkevych, a composer born in 1836 in Chernivtsi, western Ukraine.

Si Roman, one of the singers , will confidently perform this work on stage, he admits: he did not know it before starting rehearsals.

This opera was performed a century and a half ago, and then we didn't hear about it anymore, explains the young musician, who claims to feel the Ukrainian character of the work.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">This choice to highlight Vorobkevych's opera is that of Igor Shapovalov, director of the Luhansk Orchestra, who accompanies the singers. His ensemble, previously based in Donbass, in the east of the country, was forced to find refuge in Lviv after the start of the Russian invasion.

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Igor Shapovalov of the Luhansk Orchestra says the war pushed musicians to rediscover the work of composers Ukrainians.

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In the opinion of Igor Shapovalov, the conflict contributed to the rediscovery of a Ukrainian culture that Russian works had overshadowed in recent decades.

We had the impression that there were only these [Russian] composers and that we had no composers, he explains. The music is interesting, it’s just that people didn’t know it, adds the musical director.

When we started to look at it more seriously, we realized that the music by Ukrainian composers was well worth that of Tchaikovsky or Rachmaninov.

A quote from Igor Shapovalov, director of the Luhansk orchestra.

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Before the outbreak of war, Ukrainian works such as the opera “Olha” by Ukrainian composer Sydir Vorobkevych were less well known than some Russian works.

Deputy dean of the Faculty of Culture of Lviv University Myroslava Tsyhanyk recalls that even after Ukraine's independence from Soviet Union, in 1991, works of Russian culture still had their place in the classrooms of university institutions or on the stages of Ukrainian theaters.

The expert explains that, since February 2022, many educational and cultural institutions have chosen to no longer use the Russian language. Theaters, philharmonies and operas have completely abandoned the works of the Russian aggressor, she explains.

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Even though Lviv is hundreds of kilometers from the front, several signs remind us that Ukraine is at war.

In January 2023, Kyiv-Mohyla University, in the capital kyiv, decided to ban the use of the Russian language within it. If they assure that they do not intend to impose punishments on recalcitrants, the authorities of the institution say they want to ensure cultural change.

En In addition to giving more space to Ukrainian cultural works, the war also pushes artists from the country to create, explains Myroslava Tsyhanyk of the University of Lviv.

At first, the artists wondered if they were necessary, recalls the professor, who explains that over time, several creations inspired by the conflict were presented, including in her city of Lviv. The war caused a lot of pain and suffering which inspired the artists, she explains.

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Roman, a singer, believes music is important for wartime Ukraine.

The singer Roman, who presents the opera Olha by the Ukrainian composer Vorobkevych in the company of the Luhansk orchestra, he , has no doubt about the role that Ukrainian artists must play in times of war.

Right now, culture may not be as important as the military. But music is nevertheless an integral part of our nation. In times of conflict, it is all the more important to develop it, he says.

The radio report by our correspondent Raphaël Bouvier -Auclair on the Ukrainian cultural scene broadcast on the show It's looking at us on January 19 is available here.

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