In the early hours of 24 February 2022 Russia started a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine. The Russian forces began shelling Ukrainian towns, cities and villages, barbarically killing the civilian population, including children. This Friday marks a year since these tragic events. On the eve of the tragic anniversary, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the Polish National Opera present a special commemorative concert, In Solidarity with Ukraine.
The concert will be broadcast on TVP2 and Polish Radio Programme 2 on 23 February at 8 p.m.
Taking to the stage will be the Chorus and Orchestra of the Polish National Opera under Michał Klauza and the Slobozhansky Academic Yourth Orchestra (MASO) from Kharkiv under Jurek Dybał. The programme includes Prayer for Ukraine written by Valentin Silvestrov during the Euromaidan protests in 2014, the Polish and Ukrainian national anthems (the latter in an arrangement by Yurii Shevchenko), Verdi’s Requiem and Va, pensiero from Nabucco. The Requiem will be sung by Izabela Matuła (soprano), Vassily Solodky (tenor), Agnieszka Rehlis (mezzo-soprano) and Sergii Magera (bass).
The concert is held under the honorary patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda.
‘This concert is a very special event. It is our voice of protest against the Russian aggression against Ukraine, our homage to the victims of this atrocious war, and a way to express our gratitude to all who do their part daily to help Ukraine and support Ukrainians here in Poland. And that is a great number of people – private individuals, charity workers, activists, local governments, and public officials. A year ago, without a moment’s hesitation, we decided in unison to stand on the right side of history and have stood our ground ever since.
United in solidarity with Ukraine – until victory,’ wrote Professor Piotr Gliński, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Culture and National Heritage of Poland, in his programme note.
Founded in 1993, the Slobozhansky Youth Academic Symphony Orchestra from Kharkiv is the first and only professional youth orchestra in Ukraine. Its mode of operation can be compared to that of Poland’s Sinfonia Juventus, whose young musicians learn to function in a professional music ensemble, while contributing to the cultural life of the country. Formed by the most talented young musicians from across Ukraine, before the war, MASO gave weekly concerts in Kharkiv. As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the orchestra was unable to continue its operations in Kharkiv with the the city being tragically affected by the military operations. As a consequence, with the help of the Polish ministry of culture, it found its new home in Poland, first at the Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre of Music in Lusławice, and subsequently in Lublin, Zakopane, Wrocław, and Szklarska Poręba. Currently, as part of a programme of the National Institute of Music and Dance in Warsaw, the ensemble has its base in Katowice.