Let’s open up to Ukrainian culture


Looking through the programs of Polish philharmonics and theaters, one will practically not find Ukrainian repertoire.

Looking through the programs of Polish philharmonics and theaters, one will practically not find Ukrainian repertoire. Single adaptations of works by Ukrainian prose writers (Zabuzhko, Andrukhovych) are exceptions confirming the rule. The few visits by Ukrainian artists are no substitute for Ukrainian works played and staged by our cultural institutions.

Narrow film circles in Poland are familiar with such important names for Ukrainian film as Dovzhenko, Parajanov and Illenko. However, it would be advisable to also see in Polish cinemas and television the film achievements of recent years – those of directors Miroslav Slaboshpytskyi, Ihor Podolchak or Oleś Sanin.

This seems especially important today, at a time when Ukraine has so strongly manifested its European orientation and is waging a defensive war, fighting for independence. Polish society receives information about this warfare, about the difficulties of repairing the Ukrainian state, but most citizens close the Ukrainian issue in the dimension of “With Fire and Sword” and “Luna in the Bieszczady Mountains.” This is understandable and not difficult to explain – the centuries-long, shared, not easy Polish-Ukrainian history, including the difficult to agree on a common assessment of this past, still gives a hint.

Let me fantasize a little – in the context of the plays of Shakespeare, Mickiewicz, Strindberg, Chekhov, we will discover in the repertoire of Polish drama theaters works by Lesa Ukrainka, Mykola Kulish, Volodymyr Vynnychenko, and from younger ones, for example. Oleksandr Irvanc, while in philharmonics we can hear works by Boris Latoshinsky, Levko Revutsky, Valentyn Sylvestrov, Myroslav Skorik, Yevhen Stankovych, Ihor Shcherbakov or Oleksandr Shimka…. Ukrainian works performed by Polish artists and presenting this output to the Polish society with the hope that there will be competent commentators who will be able to see in these manifestations of Ukrainian culture the same thing that allowed the Polish nation to survive the time of partitions and captivity.

For 20 years, I have been running with friends the Pro Musica Viva Foundation building Polish-Ukrainian musical bridges. We have our successes – among the significant ones I will count the realization of four editions of the Days of Ukrainian Music festival in Warsaw or the presentation of Lutoslawski’s music in Ukraine. However, these activities are no substitute for opening the stages of Polish philharmonics and theaters to Ukrainian repertoire. “Citizens of culture” do not need to be explained the power and importance of culture. To them I also make an appeal – let’s open ourselves to Ukrainian culture at a time of historic changes for Ukraine!

Roman Rewakowicz
For: wyborcza.pl/1,75475,19007562,otworzmy-sie-na-ukrainska-kulture.html

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