world music theater event celebrates Koliada, a winter ritual of the Carpathian Mountains, with performances by Yara Arts Group, the Koliadnyky (winter song singers from the Carpathians) and Nova Opera, an avant-garde music theater troupe from Kyiv.

PLEASE LIST: Theater, World Music, Christmas Events.

December 21, 2019
La MaMa E.T.C. (Ellen Stewart Theater), 66 East 4th Street
Presented by La MaMa E.T.C. and Yara Arts Group
Sat at Noon and 7:00 PM
Tickets $25; $20 students/seniors, $10 children
To purchase tickets, go to La MaMa box office at 66 East Fourth Street, call 212-352-3101 or visit or
Runs 1:15. Reviewers are invited to the 7PM show.

NEW YORK, November 12 – On December 21, La MaMa will present Yara Arts Group in "Winter Songs on Mars," a world music theater event celebrating Koliada, a winter ritual of the Carpathian Mountains. There will be two performances: at 7:00 PM and a special show for schools and children at Noon in La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theater, 66 East 4th Street. The program, directed by Virlana Tkacz, will include the traditional Hutsul koliada and an 18th century Ukrainian Nativity play, as well as winter songs from around our planet. The musical director of the show is bandurist Julian Kytasty. Performers will include actors of Yara Arts Group and members of Nova Opera from Kyiv. 

Featured musicians will include the Koliadnyky, who will sing traditional winter songs and perform brilliant troista instrumental music from the Carpathians. The Koliada ritual coincides with Christmas but is much older in origin and symbolism. Its oldest songs are preserved in villages high in the mountains. The evening will feature a variety of unique instruments played by the Koliadnyky. The trembita is a Carpathian mountain horn made of a hollowed pine tree that has been struck by lightning and wrapped in birch bark. The fiddle is played in the Carpathian style. The musicians also play the duda, a bag pipe made from a goat, the tsymbaly, a hammer dulcimer, and a variety of hand-made Carpathian flutes including the tylynka. Yara Arts Group has produced a CD, "Koliada: Winter Songs and Music from the Carpathians." For a sample with photographs visit

Director of this music theater event, Virlana Tkacz, is founding director of Yara Arts Group, a resident company at La MaMa in New York. Since 1990, she has created 35 original theater pieces that fuse fragments of poetry, songs, legends and history from the East to create imagistic productions with narrative. Her recent production "1917-2017: Tychyna, Zhadan & the Dogs" was awarded Best Music and Best Musical Production by New York Innovative Theatre Awards.

The musical director is Julian Kytasty, who combines a mastery of traditional styles with a distinctly contemporary sensibility. He plays the bandura, a traditional Ukrainian instrument. He has worked with Yara since 1998. The set is by Watoku Ueno, Waldemart Klyzuko and Zhenia Kopiov. Lights are by Jeff Nash and costumes are by Keiko Obremski. Featured artists in the production include: Yara’s Marina Celander, Darien Fiorino, Chris Ignacio, Akiko Kiuchi, Tatyana Kot, Max Lozynskyj and the musicians of Nova Opera.

Nova Opera is a group of young Ukrainian artists that searches for new directions. It was founded in 2014 by stage director Vlad Troitskiy. In 2015, Ukrainian composers Roman Grygoriv and Illia Razumeiko, joined the project and created 8 new productions. Nova Opera has presented 50 performances worldwide in New York, Rotterdam, Gdansk and Vienna, making it an important representative of Ukrainian modern music theatre. In 2018, opera-requiem IYOV was listed in the TOP-10 modern musical-theatrical performances by Music Theatre Now.

For more info, see: Tickets are $25, $20 students & seniors (plus $1 facility fee) and $10 with La MaMa membership. Box office is 212-352-3101,

Yara Arts Group is presenting its 30th Season at La MaMa and will perform two other events in December. Yara will offer the American debut of its new work, "Opera GAZ," December 19, 20 and 22 at La MaMa. This piece is created by Virlana Tkacz in collaboration with composers Roman Grygoriv and Illia Razumeiko of Nova Opera in Kyiv. It combines live performances and traditional instruments with electronic music to present the story of an explosion at a futuristic gas factory that produced all the energy for the industrial world. The piece is inspired by Les Kurbas’s 1923 theatre production at the Berezil Artistic Association in Kyiv of the German expressionist drama by Georg Kaiser. Its set and costumes are inspired by 1920s design meant to invoke the next century. The visually striking production is sung in English, Ukrainian and German but is universally accessible. Performances are Thursday and Friday at 7 PM, plus Sunday at 3 PM, at the Ellen Stewart Theatre of La MaMa, 66 East 4th Street in Manhattan. Tickets are $30 gen. adm.; $25 students and seniors (+$1 facility fee), $10 with La MaMa membership. Box office is 212-352-3101, For more info, see: and

Yara Arts Group will stage a traditional music concert, "Koliada and Music from the Carpathians," December 6 and 7 at 7:00 PM at the Ukrainian Museum, 222 East 6th Street in Manhattan. The Koliadnyky will sing traditional winter songs and perform brilliant troista instrumental music from the villages of Kryvorivnia and Verkhovyna. The evening will also include projections from the villages and a musical performance by special guest bandurist Julian Kytasty. Tickets are $25 adults, $20 students, seniors and members and $10 children, box office and (212) 228-0110. Fur further info, see:

These events are supported by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and grants from the New York Self-Reliance Foundation, MEEST and the friends of Yara Arts Group.

La MaMa is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theater. La MaMa's 58th Season celebrates the centennial of its founder, Ellen Stewart, whose vision of nurturing new artists and new work remains as strong today as it was when she first opened the doors in 1961. La MaMa has presented more than 5,000 productions by 150,000 artists of all nations, cultures, races and identities. Cultural pluralism and ethnic diversity are inherent in the work created on our stages. At La MaMa, artists find a supportive environment for artistic exploration and audiences are part of the development of an artist’s work over time.

A recipient of the 2018 Regional Theater Tony Award and more than 30 Obie Awards and dozens of Drama Desk, Bessie, and Villager Awards, La MaMa has been a creative home for thousands of artists, many of whom have made lasting contributions to the arts, including Blue Man Group, Ping Chong, André De Shields, Adrienne Kennedy, Harvey Fierstein, Diane Lane, Warren Leight, Michael Mayer, Tadeusz Kantor, Bette Midler, Meredith Monk, Peter Brook, David and Amy Sedaris, Julie Taymor, Kazuo Ohno, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.

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Reviewers are invited to the 7:00 PM show.