Ukrainian Violinists Offer Hope and Inspire Resistance During the Russian Invasion

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A bomb shelter in Ukraine is filled with the haunting sound of a violin. It serves as a symbol for hope and resistance during times when those symbols are not enough to keep people going.

Vera Lytovchenko is under siege in her city. Theaters are now darkened and streets are constantly at risk from being bombarded by Russian missiles. The Kharkiv City Opera soloist puts on a show. 

After putting on an evening gown, Lytovchenko grabs her violin and plays underground. 

“I play in the cellar,”She said. “I play for my friends and for people I don’t know.

“I can not take weapons, and I can’t talk to President [Volodymyr Zelenskyy], I can just wear a dress and play violin,” she continued. “This is all I can do.”

The violin has been used as a symbol of resistance in Ukraine and to lift the spirits of those who love classical music. It is also a symbol of unity and support for the Ukrainian people. 

Ninety-four violists from Ukraine and around the world joined together over video to play a Ukrainian folk song in perfect harmony. Kerenza Peacock, a British violinist, created it.  

In Odessa, citizens are doing what they can to protect their beloved National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet, an opera house built in 1887. The oldest theatre in Odessa, the luxurious audience hall survived a previous invasion during World War II.

Barricades and anti tank hedgehogs have been built around it. As Odessa residents try to stop it falling, they raise their voices and play the violins in defiance.