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Odesa Opera House Re-opens amid War

By: Haoran Wang

Last Friday, the Odesa Opera House in Odesa, Ukraine opened for the first time since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This began as a defiance of Russian aggression.

The news is somewhat surprising, since it is just 70 miles from Mykolaiv, a city with heavy fighting, breaking the peace of several weeks for the city. But the locals say otherwise.

New York Times reporter Roger Cohen reports: “ Marina Najmytenko, a soprano who played Juliet in an0 Opera based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, brimmed with pride and emotion. ‘It is art that is going to help us survive and to preserve our essence so that we win this war,’” she said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin covets Odesa due to its role as a crucial seaport and cultural significance for the Russian and Soviet Empires. The opera house in the city was designed by an architect from St. Petersburg and featured a bust of Russian playwright Alexander Pushkin.

Cohen have also reported that the music “seemed a defiant miracle of culture and beauty, the ultimate rebuke to the Russian savagery at Bucha and Mariupol, places that have become synonyms of the gratuitous destruction unleashed by Mr. Putin in a war reflecting his obsession that Ukraine is a fictive nation.”

The residents of Odesa wanted to show the world that they still are alive, and have energy to create, contrasting Russian invaders’ ways of killing. “If Mr. Putin dared to strike the opera, the hatred he would face throughout the world is unimaginable.” Says Gennadiy Trukhanov, Mayor of Odesa.

Mr. Trukhanov also is very sad to see that Russia is destroying “its claim to be a culture nation.” Decided to preserve the culture of Odesa, Mr. Trukhanov is against the proposal to rename Pushkin Street which was originally named after the famous Russian playwright. “Odesa is the intercultural capital of Ukraine. I am worried by the growth of hatred of all things Russian.” He said.

But such proposals are inevitable, as Russia is very intent to erase Ukraine as an independent nation.

Link to Source Article: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/18/world/europe/odesa-operaukraine- russia.html

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