A call for peace: Ukrainian and Russian opera stars in emotional embrace
Well yes! The pandemic that has not been completely averted is joined by another urgency that worries a large part of the world. Another war. Another time. The 35-year-old Ukrainian operatic baritone Yuriy Yurchuk, who most recently appeared in Tosca at the Royal Opera House in London, sings his national hymn at 10 Downing Street in ‘call for peace’.
And he is just one of the many artists who have spoken out against this conflict. On February 26, Verdi's Aida was staged at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples as a sign that music can unite. At the end of the performance, Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska and Russian mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Gubanova hugged in front of the audience as they took their curtain calls.
Monastyrska played Aida, while Gubanova was Amneris, the daughter of the Pharaoh. The triumphal march, the pharaoh's court and the soldiers on stage in Naples bring thoughts to the wars of the past and the current ones. The most intense and difficult moment for Gubanova and Monastyrska is the duet of Amneris and Aida with "Fu la sorte delle armi". Liudmyla and Ekaterina fly beyond the score and remain faithful to mutual respect, to their friendship, to the professionalism of artists while those lines reveal all the drama of a war.
The symbolic gesture was a message of peace, which the two artists wanted to send to the world. In the audience, many screamed “pace!” as the two embraced.
Monatstyrska and Gubanova have shared the stage on various occasions at the Metropolitan Opera and Wiener Staatsoper. Since the war broke out, Monastyrska condemned the actions of Putin. She also noted that as a Ukrainian citizen she does not know where she will go as she will not be able to be abroad for too long. Gubanova, who had been absent from social media for days, reposted the symbolic moment between Monastyrska and her and added, “Stop the War”.