Kharkiv opera, ballet theater to go on tour in Lithuania after fleeing war zone

  • 2022-04-29
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - The Kharkiv State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater will perform in Lithuania's major cities and smaller towns after arriving in the country from a war zone.

The tour has been organized by the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theater (LNOBT) in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and other central and local government institutions.

Arturas Alenskas, head of the LNOBT's productions, events and tour organization department, told a press conference in Vilnius on Thursday that, under normal conditions, it usually takes 18 months to two years to organize a tour, but in this case it was done in a few weeks.

In a very short period of time, it was possible to resolve issues related to permits for 250 people to leave the country, to bring in trucks of props, to agree on the repertoire, arrange accommodation in Lithuania's southern Alytus District, and address rehearsal-related and other matters.

The Ukrainians are scheduled to perform Mozart's Requiem at Vilnius University's Church of St Johns on May 9.

"Symbolically, once we celebrated May 9 as Victory Day. Today it has turned into Putin's Fascism Day. This is a concert to commemorate the victims of fascism and all wars," Alenskas said.

Oleg Orichenko, head of the Kharkiv theater, says the tour is called "The European Way and the Humanitarian Convoy", as dozens of child performers have arrived in Lithuania with around 220 members of the company.

"30 children have come with us. Children who lived in basements in Kharkiv. These are children who are broken and who have psychological problems. One needs to understand how they feel when guns are thundering, sirens are going off, bullets are killing people," he said.

Lithuanian Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys said he understood that the Ukrainian theatre had no chance to operate in its country during the war "between culture and non-culture, between civilization and brutality", but the company found the strength to come and perform in Lithuania.