During a working trip to the Odesa region, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the Odesa Regional Philharmonic. The Head of State talked with prominent cultural figures of the region.
Architect Volodymyr Sukhanov told the President about the problems of the Philharmonic building. According to him, the building, which was erected in the late XIX century, needs immediate major repair.
The Head of State stressed that the reconstruction of the building should be large-scale.
"This is the only concert venue of such level in the south of the country," the President said.
According to Odesa RSA Head Maksym Kutsyi, the repair of ventilation equipment was financed at the expense of patrons.
"The state must carry out global reconstruction. There must be serious investments," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
Maksym Kutsyi said that the budget of the Odesa region for the next year envisaged funds to develop a project for the reconstruction of the Philharmonic building. The repair can be completed in two years.
"It should be done. We must avoid five-ten years of restoration," the President said.
The Head of State stressed that the reconstruction of the Odesa Philharmonic building should be included in the list of objects of the National Program "Great Construction" for the next year.
“We have the "Great Construction" program. Next year we will start "Great Construction" in culture. We select top-priority cultural heritage sites throughout the country," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
Chief conductor of the Odesa National Philharmonic Orchestra Hobart Earle noted that the acoustics of the concert hall should be improved as part of the repair work.
The cultural figures also called on the President to resolve the issue of restoration and return to Odesa of "The Taking of Christ" painting by the outstanding Italian artist of the XVII century Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. This is the only canvas of the master in Ukraine. In 2008, the painting was stolen. The criminals were later found. Due to the ongoing trial of the thieves, the painting still has the status of material evidence, which also makes it impossible to move and exhibit the painting. The canvas is currently in responsible storage at the National Research and Restoration Center in Kyiv, where it has been under restoration for three years. The artists called for the completion of the restoration of the painting by next year, when the world will celebrate the 450th anniversary of Caravaggio.
During a conversation with cultural figures, Volodymyr Zelenskyy called Minister of Culture and Information Policy Oleksandr Tkachenko. After a phone conversation, the Head of State said that he would offer the Minister to include the reconstruction of the Philharmonic building in the "Great Construction" in culture program and to facilitate the completion of the restoration of "The Taking of Christ" painting.