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

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

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

Even because the house — a Baroque, pastel-colored chamber in western Ukraine — has grew to become a coordination website for humanitarian provides in the course of the warfare, it has remained a house to musicians and choirs. This spring, as an alternative of taking part in upbeat music on the competition’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 warfare.

“It is a place now for medication — for the physique and the soul,” stated Liliia Svystovych, a instructor 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 all the time 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 getting ready to delay the live performance till the all-clear sounded. As she waited in a again room the place docs had been packing up medical provides, she took telephone calls from volunteers who had been driving support 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 circulate of provides that cross via the theater on their method to the warfare’s entrance strains. It’s her base for each jobs.

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

Nonetheless, she was wanting ahead to an evening of music. “Battle 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 support bins as volunteers and docs organized provides throughout them. Generally the musicians would assist the help staff. And generally the medics would cease their work to hearken to them play.

“We’re supporting one another via this, in a roundabout way,” Mr. Syvokhip stated with a smile.

As he went onstage, Mr. Syvokhip informed the viewers that as air-raid sirens sounded in Lviv, a bomb within the jap Kharkiv area had diminished a cultural heart 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 12 months as she had for summer season festivals earlier than it, with pink lipstick and a string of pearls.

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

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