Mazeppa,based on Alexander Pushkin's poem Poltava, is a bloodthirsty tale of crazed love, the ultimate lust for power, political intrigues, dreadful crimes and merciless executions. At the centre of the historical and personal drama are – the Hetman of the Ukrainian Cossacks Ivan Mazeppa, a very prosperous nobleman Kochubey and his daughter Mariya. In the fight with Mazeppa, Kochubey stands to lose everything: his friends, daughter, riches, honour and life... The laconic production was staged by Ozren Prohic, one of the leading Croatian directors. His previous works include innovative drama and opera directions in European theatres.
The staging of the director and, along with Branko Lepen, the set designer Ozren Prohić consistently pointed out the three main lines of the work in a powerful and evocative manner. The stage solutions and scenes follow the richness of atmosphere offered by the music so that everything in this production is clear and logical.
Davor Schopf, Vijenac
In cooperation with the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb
In the garden of landlord Kochubey
Young Mariya, Kochubey's daughter, is in love with Mazeppa, the Cossack leader, her father's friend and fellow fighter. For that reason, she refuses her childhood friend Andrei. Mazeppa asks from Kochubey his daughter's hand in marriage, but Kochubey would not agree to it, thinking Mazeppa is too old. Mariya is torn between her parents and Mazeppa, but when Mazeppa asks her to choose, she excitedly leaves with him.
Kochubey and Mariya's mother Lyubov are indignant because of their daughter's leaving and they want revenge. Kochubey makes the plan to tell the tsar about Mazeppa's intention to ally with the Swedish king in the fight to free the Ukraine against Peter the Great. Andrei wants to deliver that news to the tsar.
In Mazeppa's castle.
Kochubey is imprisoned in a dungeon. The tsar did not believe him and turned him over to Mazeppa. He is to be executed. Mazeppa's henchman Orlik demands that Kochubey reveals the location of his hidden treasures and when Kochubey refuses, Orlik tortures him again.
Mazeppa compares the night's peace with his own troubled soul. He wonders how Mariya will react when she finds out that her father has been imprisoned and is waiting for the execution. Mazeppa reveals to Mariya his plans to free the Ukraine and become the king. Mariya is excited about it and when Mazeppa asks her who she would choose, if she had to, her father or him, she says she would give up everything for him. In the meantime, Lyubov reveals to Mariya the truth about her imprisoned father. From the outside, the march announcing the execution can already be heard and the two women run to help Kochubey.
Mariya and Lyubov come to the scaffold too late. Kochubey and his friend Iskra have already been executed.
Orchestral Interlude - The Battle of Poltava
In the garden of Kochubey's ruined house, Andrei remembers happier times. Mazeppa and Orlik come fleeing from the enemy army. Orlik mortally wounds Andrei. Mariya arrives, completely mad. Mazeppa leaves her behind and flees with Orlik. Mariya remains with dying Andrei and sings a lullaby to him.