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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.

New York Times reporter Roger Cohen reports: “ Marina Najmytenko, a soprano who

played Juliet in an 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



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

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