Solidarity and a crash course to Ukrainian culture with Ben Whishaw, Juliet Stevenson, Jonathan Pryce and Maisie Williams @ Slava Ukraini @ Royal Festival Hall, Southbank. Plus Ukrainian classical musicians Yuriy Yurchuk, Kseniia Nikolaieva, Dinara Klinton, Rozanna Madylus and Stefan Bulyha. Something like a bit of Ukrainian Go Go Penguin towards the end.
Some recordings were beamed in from the Ukrainian border; the pain of lost homes and gratitude for safety and home, and hope were heart-rending.
It was the singing of the Ukrainian National Anthem that hit me emotionally. We had some training in how to sing it — I can’t get my head around some of the sounds! Also I thought about how it compares with Rule Britannia — now we’ve removed the section about what we’re going to do to the Scots, we sound quite bloodless in contrast. Yet for my joking, I am no nationalist or even a patriot (I support France not England in football and rugby) — it was when people started singing a cappella in the audience after the event had finished that it hit home. The reality of it — this war and so many others are about people, people’s homes, jobs, families, neighbourhoods, of people having to run from what had been safe and familiar and has now become a place of terror — it is so personal as many have family on both sides. How precious art and culture is at this time.
Very, very moved, especially by an extract on the careful purchase and then sad return of a beloved brother’s army boots, and of an author speaking about gratitude for help in getting to safety and shelter (and the need for keys!) — those who can help should help, we should be praying our socks off if we’re praying kinda people and caring for both Ukrainian and Russian people.
A list of performers and works performed:
- Andrey Kurkov
- Ben Whishaw
- Dinara Klinton
- Galya Bisengalieva
- Jon Hopkins with Leo Abrahams
- Jonathan Pryce
- Juliet Stevenson
- Kseniia Nikolaieva
- London Contemporary Orchestra
- Maisie Williams
- Olesya Khromeychuk
- Robert Ames
- Rozanna Madylus
- Serhiy Zhadan
- Stefan Bulyha
- Yuriy Yurchuk
- Ukrainian Folk Song: Oh, the geese were flying
- Saint-Saëns: Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix from Samson et Dalila
- Igor Poklad: Smile my fate (old Ukrainian song)
- Giordano: Nemico della Patria from Andrea Chénier
- Bryce Dessner: Aheym for string quartet
- Lysenko: The Dnieper River Rages
- Ukrainian Folk Song: Moon in the Sky
- Hubarenko: Aria for clarinet & piano
- Valentin Silvestrov: Andantino (2nd movement) from Sonata for violin & piano (Post scriptum)
- Havrylets: Chorale for strings
- : Interspersed with poetry & readings