A whole era seems to separate the journey of Friendship that in 2018 had led Ravenna Festival to Kiev, the ancient heart of the Slavic world, from the tragic reality of these weeks: the dream of fraternity and dialogue through culture and music has never seemed so fragile, but that very hope is once again the polar star in the sky of the Festival, which today, in collaboration with the Municipality of Ravenna, offers the artists of the National Opera Theatre of Ukraine Taras Shevchenko the chance to tread the city’s stages. Between Saturday 23 and Thursday 28 April, the Ukrainian choristers, dancers, musicians, and technicians, who arrived in Italy thanks to the commitment of Ravenna Solidale and Cristina Mazzavillani Muti, founder and honorary president of the Festival, thank the city that welcomed them with shows and performances, a wish for the future that is also intertwined with the celebrations for the Orthodox Easter and Ravenna’s Greek Madonna. United by history through their relations with Constantinople and both home to World Heritage basilicas whose precious mosaics have survived centuries of change, Ravenna and Kyiv thus resume the dialogue for peace and solidarity in the universal language of art. All the events are free and there is an ongoing fundraising campaign coordinated by Ravenna Solidale, the network that brings together associations and individuals from the territory in a humanitarian aid campaign designed to support the populations involved in the conflict, of all nationalities and ethnicities. The fundraising campaign has already started thanks to the generous donation of the port operators who promoted the subscription “In the name of Mariupol”.

On Saturday 23rd April, at 11.00 am, the Alighieri Theatre will be the first artistic “home” to open its doors: in the Corelli Hall, the Choir and some musicians of the Ukrainian National Opera will perform Song for Ukraine, a concert of chamber and vocal music that includes arrangements of popular songs and reveals the richness of the Ukrainian musical tradition.

On Sunday, 24 April, at 3 pm, the Metropolitan Basilica will host the liturgical celebration of the Orthodox Easter, which falls one week after the Catholic Easter; the Mass, celebrated by a Kyiv priest, will be accompanied by the songs of the evocative liturgy of the Orthodox Easter tradition performed by the Opera House Choir.

On Monday 25 April, at 8.30 pm, the Alighieri Theatre – on the day in which Italy commemorates the Liberation – will host the gala With Ukraine in our hearts, which will feature dancers, choristers, and musicians performing a programme of sacred and popular music with fragments from the ballet repertoire. Special thanks are due to Ravenna’s Accademia Cecchetti, which has made the spaces of its school available to the Corps de Ballet directed by Filipieva Olena, allowing the Ukrainian dancers to continue to train and prepare for this performance.

On Wednesday 27 April, at 8.30 pm, the auditorium of San Romualdo will host We Are, a concert commemorating the victims of the conflict in Ukraine and the Chernobyl tragedy on its 36th anniversary. In this case, the Ukrainian artists will be joined by musicians from Ravenna’s Orchestra Corelli, who have generously chosen to perform alongside their colleagues from Kyiv under the leadership of Bogdan Plish. The programme includes songs from the Chernobyl Liturgy by Archbishop Jonathan Yeletsky, a prolific composer of liturgical music, and excerpts from Yevhen Stankovych’s Opera Rustica, a cantata for soprano, baritone and chamber orchestra composed of five scenes inspired by rural life.

On Thursday 28th April, at 6.15 pm, in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Porto the Choir of the National Opera of Ukraine will participate in the liturgical feast of the Greek Madonna, patron saint of Ravenna, animating the solemn Eucharistic celebration led by the Archbishop of Ravenna-Cervia Mons. Lorenzo Ghizzoni

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