One Minute World Arts- Art Mends the Soul: Theaters Continue to Matter During Wartime in Ukraine

In February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine and caused turmoil, which inevitably led to the closure of many theaters and cultural institutions in Ukraine; meanwhile, precious Ukrainian heritage and cultural sites also ran the risk of being damaged or even destroyed because of the war. On March 16, Mariupol’s Donetsk Academic Regional Drama Theater was bombed by the Russian Armed Forces; many civilians were killed in the tragedy. Even so, several theaters in Ukraine still decided to resume their services – despite all the threats and fears – in order to bring comfort to the public, as well as to advocate Ukraine’s spirit through the celebration of arts. 


On May 21, the National Opera of Ukraine in Kyiv reopened its doors by presenting Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. Although the show was eagerly anticipated by the public, only 300 tickets, out of the theater’s capacity of more than 1300 seats, were sold to guarantee the audience’s safety in case of air raid alert during the performance. The show still became a sold-out success even under such circumstances. A few weeks earlier, on May 2, the Lviv National Opera also welcomed back its audience with the famous ballet Giselle. It was done with the best intention to bring back a more normal life style. Vasyl Vovkun, artistic director of the Opera, said in an interview: “One way or another, the war affects us all. We understand that light must defeat darkness, that life must defeat death, and the mission of the theater is to assert this.” Moreover, it is worth mentioning that the Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra not only provided its space as a coordination site for humanitarian supplies during the war, but also insisted on running its annual summer music festival, performing Mozart’s Requiem to solidify people’s sense of integrity. “War makes your heart like a stone,” so said Iolanta Prushlyak, the director of Lviv’s International Symphony Orchestra. “But music can soften it again.”  




2022年年初,俄羅斯對烏克蘭發動侵略戰爭,導致烏克蘭境內不少劇場與藝文機構皆被迫關閉;在此同時,許多珍貴的文化遺產,也面臨著可能會受到破壞的危機。316日,位於馬里烏波(Mariupol)的頓內茨克州學院戲劇院(Donetsk Academic Regional Drama Theater)遭俄軍空襲炸毀,奪走多條生命,令人備感痛惜。然而,儘管飽受戰爭的威脅和摧殘,烏國國內部份劇院卻仍決定重新開張;一方面為民眾帶來心靈的慰藉,另方面則希望透過藝術與文化,來頌揚烏克蘭不屈不撓的精神。


其中,位於基輔的烏克蘭國家歌劇院(National Opera of Ukraine),5月下旬以喜歌劇《塞維亞理髮師》(The Barber of Seville)重啟劇院大門。儘管備受期待,這齣製作卻只販售了300張門票,以符合劇院本身的防空避難量能,而最後這些票券也被熱情的民眾搶購一空。在此之前,利維夫國家歌劇院(Lviv National Opera)亦於5月初推出芭蕾舞劇《吉賽兒》(Giselle),嘗試與當地民眾一起重建生活秩序。劇院的藝術總監瓦索.沃夫昆(Vasyl Vovkun於受訪時說道:「不管情勢如何發展,戰爭都一定會影響到我們的生活。但我們相信,光亮終將驅逐黑暗,生命必會戰勝死亡;而劇場的任務,就是在踐揚這樣的信念。」值得一提的是,烏俄交戰期間,利維夫愛樂管絃樂團(Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra)除了提供自家場地,來充當人道物資轉運站外,還堅持照常舉行每年一度的夏日音樂節,並且在格外需要堅強的此刻,演奏莫札特的《安魂曲》(Requiem)來撫慰人心。身兼負責處理物資轉運一職的利維夫國際交響樂團總監尤蘭塔.普萊許麗雅克(Iolanta Prushlyak)表示:「戰爭會讓人心硬如石,但音樂終將使它重新變得柔軟。」



Photo Credit ©Serhii Korovayny, Diego Ibarra Sanchez