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Metropolitan Opera Commissions Opera About Abducted Ukrainian Children

By Sara Schabas on September 18, 2023

72 Ukrainian composers applied for the commission organized by Peter Gelb.

Met Opera
(Photo: Jonathan Tichler / Met Opera)

Maxim Kolomiiets and librettist George Brant were selected to write an opera for the Met focusing on the heroism of Ukrainian mothers during the Russian invasion. Ukrainian mothers reportedly travel over 3000 miles to rescue their children who have been forcibly detained by the Russian army.

The Creators

Maxim Kolomiiets (1981-) originates in Kyiv and trained as both an oboist and a composer. This commission will be his third opera and his first collaboration with the playwright George Brant. An operatic adaptation of Brant’s play Grounded with music by Jeanine Tesori will premiere at the Kennedy Centre next month, starring the Italian-Canadian mezzo-soprano Emily D’Angelo.

The Genesis

Met General Director Peter Gelb organized the project with the Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska last fall. It comes after the Met’s previous support of the war effort, including its support of the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra, mounting of Ukrainian Relief Concerts, and its cutting of ties with Putin-supporting artists.

The Met’s season kicks off in a couple of weeks with the company premiere of another politically charged contemporary work — Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking.

Sara Schabas
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