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‘A type of hope’: As air-raid sirens sound, a Lviv orchestra opens a summer time pageant with Mozart’s Requiem.

The viewers members took their seats amongst containers of drugs, first-aid kits and intravenous tubes. The orchestra was lacking 4 males who at the moment are preventing on the battle’s entrance strains. A handful of visitor singers who had fled bombings and bloodshed stood onstage with the choir.

The battle in Ukraine has upended the meticulous planning that has gone into the Lviv Philharmonic’s annual summer time music pageant for 4 many years. However for musicians and the viewers, the present should go on.

Even because the area — a Baroque, pastel-colored chamber in western Ukraine — has change into a coordination website for humanitarian provides in the course of the battle, it has remained a house to musicians and choirs. This spring, as a substitute of enjoying upbeat music on the pageant’s first efficiency, the orchestra determined to open with Mozart’s Requiem.

The live performance, carried out on Friday evening, was a tribute to the Ukrainians misplaced in three months of battle.

“This can be a place now for medication — for the physique and the soul,” stated Liliia Svystovych, a trainer within the viewers. “We perceive {that a} requiem is about mourning, that it’s unhappy music. However it is sort of a prayer. And a prayer is at all times a type of hope.”

About an hour earlier than the live performance began, air-raid sirens started to wail.

Iolanta Pryshlyak, the director of Lviv’s Worldwide Symphony Orchestra, was making ready to delay the live performance till the all-clear sounded. As she waited in a again room the place medical doctors had been packing up medical provides, she took cellphone calls from volunteers who had been driving help to Ukraine’s embattled east.

Ms. Pryshlyak, 59, shouldn’t be solely the orchestra director now. Because the invasion started, she has additionally directed the stream of provides that cross by the theater on their technique to the battle’s entrance strains. It’s her base for each jobs.

She had been up since 4 a.m., and she or he was drained: “I’m simply working on autopilot.”

Nonetheless, she was trying ahead to an evening of music. “Struggle makes your coronary heart like a stone,” she stated. “However music can soften it once more.”

Downstairs, the orchestra’s conductor, Volodymyr Syvokhip, placed on a swimsuit in his workplace as a baritone soloist sang arpeggios in a close-by room.

For weeks, performers had rehearsed amid towers of humanitarian help containers as volunteers and medical doctors organized provides throughout them. Typically the musicians would assist the help employees. And generally the medics would cease their work to hearken to them play.

“We’re supporting one another by this, not directly,” Mr. Syvokhip stated with a smile.

As he went onstage, Mr. Syvokhip advised the viewers that as air-raid sirens sounded in Lviv, a bomb within the japanese Kharkiv area had diminished a cultural middle to rubble, and with it, the native theater.

When the requiem ended, members of the orchestra and their viewers had been in tears.

“The sound of these alarms and sirens mixed in our heads with the phrases of the conductor, and we understood why musicians should not preserve silent,” stated Natalia Dub, a headmistress at an area academy.

She had put as a lot care into her look this yr as she had for summer time festivals earlier than it, with purple lipstick and a string of pearls.

“We have to come right here,” she stated. “That is the place we have to be most of all.”



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