Seattle Opera and the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra will hold a benefit concert tonight, Monday May 16th.
Mezzo-soprano Olga Syniakova, who is in Seattle performing the Marriage of Figaro, says the concert will feature a variety of beautiful music: “Different music. Different pieces. It will be from ballet, folk music, classical music.”
At the benefit concert, the Ukranian native plans to sing “Mon Coeur s’ouvre a ta voix” from Saint Saens, an aria that she says changed her life by putting her on the world stage.
Now, it takes on new meaning as she performs it in a concert to benefit artists in Ukraine, even as she worries about her parents who are still there.
“I’m scared because, in the night, a lot of times they hear sirens.” For months, air raid sirens have sent her parents and other Ukrainians scrambling into bomb shelters.
“I’m still thinking all the time- nonstop I’m thinking about my parents and what happens in Ukraine.”
Already performing internationally when Russia invaded Ukraine, she says the war at first left her petrified.
“I was frozen,” she said, wondering how she could help her country as an opera singer.
But she says it was during a performance that she was reminded of what so many artists innately know: “There, I felt the power and meaning of art and music.”
It’s why Ukrainian fighters – holed up, defiantly, inside a steel mill – have been heard singing patriotic songs.
And a group of soldiers stand reverently as one picks up a violin to play the national anthem.