National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine 

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What a delightful evening listening to the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine perform at Norwich Theatre Royal.

This was a pretty big event, not only to show solidarity and support to the people of Ukraine but this was the orchestra’s final performance of their 2023 UK Tour and cause to celebrate. It was an opportunity to show a full Norfolk support and to highlight Norwich Theatre is a Theatre of Sanctuary which is a national collective of 34 organisations united in a commitment to places of welcome, support and safety for anyone seeking sanctuary.

We had a speech from outgoing Chair of the Board of Trustees Michael Newey, one from Lady Dennatt, and one from Stephen Crocker, Chief Executive & Creative Director, who also demonstrated some appreciated Ukrainian. Lord Dennatt was in the audience as well as plenty of local dignitaries, including Delia Smith. 

Conductor & Music Director for the evening was Volodymyr Sirenko, who has an international reputation and has won Ukraine’s most prestigious award. His warmth and humbleness was apparent and he conducted the orchestra with grace. He also was thoroughly enjoying himself as his whole body was jigging along with the music.

Pianist Antonii Baryshevskyi has been a guest at renowned international festivals and performed around the world, it was mesmerising watching him play, he was so absorbed with the music it was though we were not there. His facial expressions were of pure joy as he was immersed in the music and when the piece was over, it was almost as though he just remembered we were there. Antonii was incredible, following the flow of the music, delicately touching the keys or playing them with assertiveness for the crescendos. After the Beethoven piece he came back out for another tinkle on the keys and it transpired the piece he performed, which was not on the programme, was made up on the spot just for us! Wonderful.

It was a wonderful performance from the whole orchestra and hopefully for them, a great last day of the tour. 

Pieces performed: 
Straus – Don Juan
Beethoven – Piano Concerto No. 4
Sibelius – Finlandia
Lyatoshynsky – Symphony No. 2



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