Met Opera celebrates the first year of the Ukrainian war with a concert End-shutdown
NEW YORK — Emily D’Angelo made a statement about the outfit before singing a single note at the Metropolitan Opera concert to mark the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The 28-year-old Canadian mezzo-soprano took the stage Friday night for Mozart’s Requiem wearing a dark skirt covered in white tally marks, like on a school blackboard: four vertical bars and one diagonal to close each group of five. There were 365 in total in the outfit created by Berlin designer Esther Perbandt, one to commemorate each day of Europe’s bloodiest conflict since World War II.
“Although an opera house does not have the offensive capability of an Abrams tank or an F-16 jet, the Metropolitan Opera prides itself on being a powerful cultural resource for Ukraine, helping to lead the fight for artistic freedom against (Vladimir) Putin. . cultural propaganda machine,” Met General Manager Peter Gelb told a middle group that included UN ambassadors Sergiy Kyslytsya of the Ukraine and Linda Thomas-Greenfield of the US.”
Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducted what was titled “For Ukraine: A Concert of Remembrance and Hope,” which also featured Ukrainian tenor Dmytro Popov and bass-baritone Vladyslav Buialskyi and South African soprano Golda Schultz . With the Metropolitan Opera House bathed in the yellow and blue colors of the Ukrainian flag, and a royal flag hanging above the stage, they opened with the Ukrainian anthem, followed by Mozart’s Requiem and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2. 5 and ended with Valentin Silvestrov’s hymn “Prayer for Ukraine”.
“The Metropolitan Opera,” Kyslytsya said, “adopted Ukrainian culture, it adopted me, it adopted my mission.”
Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska addressed the crowd at the start of the evening in a pre-recorded video address.
“You have shown that art can literally help and save. I hope that it will be on this stage that we will soon be able to celebrate the victory of humanity, of art, of Ukraine, and it will be our common victory.”
Ukrainian singers wrapped themselves in flags during stage calls. Tickets were priced at $50, and the Met said it kept the amount lower than its usual prices in the hope that audience members would donate large amounts to support Ukraine’s war effort.
Yellow removed Russian artists who refused to distance themselves from Putin from the Met list, the most famous star soprano Anna Netrebko.
“It’s a small price to pay,” he said. “Being on the right side was the important thing. I would not be able to look in the mirror and have met Putin’s supporters performing on our stage.”
Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov, who has pulled out of a new production of Verdi’s “La Forza del Destino” at the Met next season, was recently quoted as saying the performers must remain neutral.
“My answer is that they chose one side and they chose the wrong side,” Gelb said. “I’m sorry that he, like many other Russians, is so misinformed and doesn’t really understand what’s going on in the world.”
The Met has hired four interns from Ukraine, and Gelb plans to add Ukrainian composers to the Met’s commissioning program. His wife, Canadian-Ukrainian conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson, will once again conduct a summer tour of the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra. He returned to New York after conducting a Verdi Requiem and “Bucha. Lacrimosa” at the Lviv National Opera on Tuesday to commemorate fallen soldiers and victims of the Russian invasion.
“I felt like I had to go and experience this myself and show Putin that you can’t kill the culture, you can’t kill the soul of Ukraine,” Wilson said. “We had to hide in a bomb shelter for the first rehearsal. For the dress rehearsal we spent two hours in a bomb shelter. But I did not feel any fear, there was no fear. There was this determination to somehow get through this concert, and it went on beautifully.
“The power stayed on. And there were soldiers in the audience, young guys, they were in the first two rows. And when I went to take my bow and people were clapping for me, I started clapping for the soldiers. And we all clapped for the soldiers. And that’s what the power of music does.”