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Henry M. Robert

The Great Hall of the National Music Academy of Ukraine will be renamed after Vasyl Slipak

Concert-requiem “Farewell, O Soul” will be held in Kyiv on April 28
13 April, 2017 - 10:28
Photo from The Day’s archives

The name of the program came from Volodymyr Zubytskyi’s composition which will be performed by the Student Choir of the Academy (art director Yevhen Savchuk). The evening’s host will be famous actress Larysa Kadyrova, who will remind those present of Ukrainian patriot, soloist of the Paris Opera, volunteer soldier of the anti-terrorist operation Vasyl Slipak (nom de guerre Mif), who died in Donetsk oblast on June 29, 2016, having been hit by a sniper’s bullet. By the way, President Petro Poroshenko presented a Golden Star of Hero of Ukraine to the opera singer’s parents on April 10, while in February, the National Philharmonic Society hosted the premiere of the composition La Derniere Chevauchee (The Last Cavalcade), which French composer Pierre Thilloy created in memory of Slipak. The world premiere was performed by musicians of the Kyiv Chamber Orchestra under the direction of French conductor and Slipak’s friend Nicolas Krauze.

“He was really successful and had a lot of concerts in Paris. Slipak was almost universally known within the music community. I think that in five years, he would have become a mega-famous singer, because he was getting more and more creative invitations. Slipak was a soloist of the Grand Opera for three years. He was assigned solo parts, but wanted to engage in concert practice as well, so he struck on his own. Tellingly, when the war in eastern Ukraine started, his singing career was going very strong. Meanwhile, Slipak never quitted his career, he just took time off to do volunteer work, then returned from Ukraine to France, gave concerts, participated in performances and then went again to Ukraine which he loved above all. Then more concerts, followed by frontline service... It is a pity that his earthly life was cut short so early,” Maestro Krauze told us in an interview, published in The Day’s No. 16, March 7, 2017.

“We must honor and remember our heroes. Symbolically, the Great Hall of the Conservatory will be renamed after this outstanding artist. I would like to remind you that our building was in the epicenter of confrontation in Independence Square during the Revolution of Dignity, since doctors gave first aid to the wounded here when the Berkut riot police began their mopping-up operation and were shooting peaceful protesters dead... There is a recorded interview with Slipak in which he said that he became a volunteer and started to raise funds for the Euromaidan on learning of the bloody events in Kyiv, when the French TV showed the Independence Stele and the Conservatory building covered with the smoke of burning tires...

“Despite having a successful artistic career (Slipak lived in France for the last 19 years of his life and worked as a soloist at the Paris Opera), he did not stay aloof to the hardships that our country was going through when the war started. He managed to juggle volunteer work and performing in plays and concerts at first, brought humanitarian aid himself, and in summer 2015, he put a successful career on hold and went to defend the country in the ranks of the Right Sector volunteer battalion. In particular, he fought the forces of the so-called ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ in Pisky... Slipak was a patriot, an excellent singer, and an example to all Ukrainians,” stressed Lesia OLIINYK, deputy rector of the National Music Academy of Ukraine. “By the way, the Kyiv concert will feature a recording of the singer’s highly individual voice. The program includes classical foreign and Ukrainian works and music by contemporary composers. The performers include soloists Serhii Mahera, Ivan Ponomarenko, Taras Berezhanskyi, Oleksandr Tyshchenko, Bohdana Pivnenko (violin), Anna Khmara (piano) as well as the Boys’ and Youths’ Choir of the Lysenko Kyiv Music Secondary School, Bandurist Choir and Student Choir of the Academy etc. Slipak’s favorite song “Moon in the Sky” will make an appearance. One of the guests of honor will be the singer’s brother Orest Slipak, who is currently organizing the Slipak Memorial Open International Music Marathon. They plan to hold the event in Lviv, the singer’s hometown. I know that a proposal is being discussed to rename the Ukrainian Cultural Center in France after Slipak as well. Glory to the hero!”

“Vasyl’s unique voice extremely harmoniously combined with his physique. He was a tall man of attractive appearance and unfailing courtesy, and it all prompted adequate response from the audience. Above all, he emphasized schooling, culture and high technique of singing! Our country has lost a talented artist who sacrificed his international career to defend the nation for which he gave his life,” Orest Slipak said. “My task is to make sure that Vasyl is not forgotten, and therefore we will definitely hold a memorial festival at the Lviv Philharmonic Society from June 29 to July 1” (interview with the singer’s elder brother will be published in the forthcoming issues of The Day).

By Tetiana POLISHCHUK, The Day
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