The cultural manifestations of European interest in Hetman Mazepa — as illustrated in cases 2 and 3 — represent works of high culture, serious art, classical music. These are the genres of epic poetry, verse drama, opera, symphonic poems, the paintings of the professional artist's atelier. The centers of this cultural outpouring were the traditional ones in France, Italy, Germany.
Very quickly, however, there developed a parallel artistic world of Mazeppa, one that aimed at the broad masses, popularity, accessibility. It, too, found its reflection in all genres: music, literature, the stage, and visual arts. And it spread beyond the traditional art capitals of Europe across the seas to the continents of North America and Africa.
Analogous to opera, equestrian plays, with music, already had a long history of popularity. In 1831 the famous circus of Franconi presented such a spectacle, entitled Mazeppa, ou le cheval tartare (which some sources, in fact treat as an opera), in Paris. This was clearly a popular response to Byron's poetry and the paintings of the French Romantics of the 1820s. The fad for mass equestrian Mazeppa plays is further witnessed by the productions of works by White, Payne and Milner. A unique aspect of this craze was the assumption of the role of Mazepa by women, starting with the most famous proponent of the role, Adah Isaacs Menken. In this guise, Mazeppa became a favorite in the American Wild West—as can be glimpsed in the classic films High Noon or Heller in Pink Tights.
Rhythmic piano gallopes or "Mazeppa Waltzes" a la Balfe, popular Currier and Ives prints, the twentieth-century medium of cinema—all helped to popularize the Mazepa theme ever further. Poetry, of a more democratic cast than Lord Byron's, attracted such writers as the common man's German, Bertolt Brecht, the melancholy Rainer Maria Rilke, and the adventuresome South African, Roy Campbell. In new guises, through new media, and in a newly global spread, Mazepa lives on.