BACKGROUND
The project "Music and Dialogue: listening for a better understanding" is implemented by VladOpera e.V. and the Ukrainian-Belarusian initiative group, which resulted from the international opera project "Music Overcomes Walls" in 2017-2018, in partnership with Serhii Prokofiev Severodonetsk College of Culture and Art and Luhansk Regional Academic Ukrainian Music and Drama Theater. The initiators are committed to the idea of sustainable open dialogue through cultural and social projects.

Severodonetsk, the Luhansk region and the war in Donbass

Severodonetsk is a city in Eastern Ukraine, the Luhansk region. The city was designed and born in the 1930s: intended to serve one of the biggest chemical factories in the Soviet Union it was — as markedly evident by its unusual architecture — a true "socialistic" project. Destroyed by German troops during World War II, the city was rebuilt and developed after 1945. As a consequence of the decline of the Soviet Union, the city and the region fell into a "slumber".

In 2014, the city was controlled by the self-proclaimed "Luhansk People's Republic" ("LNR") for three months, but in July 2014 Ukrainian authorities came back into power. In the months that followed, the city became a safe haven for thousands of refugees escaping from the war zone in the eastern part of the Luhansk region.

In September 2014, Severodonetsk became the official acting administrative center of the Luhansk region. Several organizations were moved from Luhansk that is still controlled by the self-proclaimed "LNR" to Severodonetsk, among them our project partner, the Luhansk Regional Academic Ukrainian Musical Drama Theatre.

The theater company and the orchestra faced enormous difficulties upon their arrival to Severodonetsk: the building that served as rehearsal facilities was in the emergency condition, there was no concert hall, there was a lack of living space, and most of the equipment had to be left behind in Luhansk. Under these conditions, the organizations had to start almost from "zero," and to spend enormous energy to even be able to resume their work and develop cultural life.

Each project realized by VladOpera e.V. in Severodonetsk involves different artists and cultural activists. In 2020, the main events of the "Music and Dialogue" project will be held online with the participation of students of the Serhii Prokofiev Severodonetsk College of Culture and Art, as well as active residents of the region.