MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra This Summer

News from the Metropolitan Opera and Polish National Opera:

The Metropolitan Opera and the Polish National Opera will gather leading Ukrainian musicians into the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra for a European and American tour July 28–August 20, including stops in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, before culminating with concerts in New York and Washington, DC. The tour has been assembled with the cooperation of Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Ministry of Culture.

The orchestra will include recent refugees, Ukrainian members of European orchestras, and some of the top musicians of Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, Odesa, and elsewhere in Ukraine. The Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine is supporting the project by addressing the organizational issues of allowing male musicians to put down weapons and take up their instruments in a remarkable demonstration of the power of art over adversity.

Money raised from the tour will go to support Ukrainian artists. Donations can be made to the Ministry of Culture at https://donate.arts.gov.ua/en

Under the leadership of Canadian-Ukrainian conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson, the orchestra will perform a program that includes Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov’s Seventh Symphony; Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2, with Ukrainian virtuoso Anna Fedorova; and either Brahms’s Fourth Symphony or Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony.

Leading Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska, who is singing the title role of Turandot at the Met this spring, will also perform Leonore’s great aria “Abscheulicher!” from Beethoven’s Fidelio, a paean to humanity and peace in the face of violence and cruelty.

The orchestra’s musicians will gather in Warsaw on July 18 for an intensive rehearsal period led by Maestro Wilson to forge the ensemble, followed by the opening concert in the Polish capital at the Teatr Wielki–Polish National Opera on July 28. The residency and opening performance are being paid for by generous funding from the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, under the leadership of Minister Piotr Glinski. The tour will proceed with stops at the BBC Proms, on July 31, for a televised performance; Munich on August 1; the Chorégies d’Orange Festival in France on August 2; the Berlin Konzerthaus on August 4; the Edinburgh International Festival on August 6; Snape Maltings in England on August 8; the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Festival on August 11; and the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie on August 13. The orchestra will travel to New York on August 16, with concerts at Lincoln Center on August 18 and 19, followed by the final destination, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, on August 20.

The musicians are drawn from the Kyiv National Opera, National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra, and Kharkiv Opera, among other Ukrainian ensembles. Outside of Ukraine, players come from ensembles including the Tonkunstler Orchestra of Vienna, the Belgian National Orchestra, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Filed under: Metropolitan Opera, music news

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