Ukrainian Eurovision winner ‘likely to collaborate with opera stars’

Stuart Murphy spoke at the festival launch at the British Music Experience in Liverpool on Tuesday, ahead of a series of cultural events that will complement the international competition throughout May.

ENO Does Eurovision, in which international opera stars perform Eurovision hits with previous winners, is one of 24 commissions, 19 of which are collaborative projects between artists from the UK and Ukraine.

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The English National Opera does Eurovision (Peter Byrne/PA)

Asked by the PA news agency if a Ukrainian Eurovision winner will be among the acts, ENO chief executive Mr Murphy said: “We have not commented on any of the artists.

“I think Ukraine has won three times… I think it’s very likely that there are Ukrainians there.”

Ukraine won Eurovision in 2004 with Ruslana’s Wild Dances, and Jamala took the title in 2016 with 1944, which reflected the Soviet deportation of the Crimean Tatars.

The country’s most recent success was the folk rap group Kalush Orchestra, who played Stefania last year in the pageant.

Murphy added that ENO is hosting a Eurovision event for the “first time” as it believes the Russian invasion is a “shame” and that the charity opera company is “really proud” to help Ukraine defend its culture.

He said: “I think secondly we want to join (in) the fun with Liverpool, (an) amazing city (and we want to) go in there and celebrate (that).

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Kalush Orchestra won Eurovision last year (Eurovision 2022/PA)

“I think the third thing is that the opera at the ENO is about going out, not having it in the theater, not (performing it) for a kind of traditional opera audience, but getting it out to everyone.”

The festival will also see musical acts such as Welcome To Eurotopia, a supergroup made up of musicians from Liverpool collaborating with Ukrainian artists, and Jamala will take to the Eurovision Village main stage.

Singer-songwriter Natalie McCool and pop band Stealing Sheep formed Welcome To Eurotopia with Ukrainian acts, multi-instrumentalist electronic duo Krapka; Koma, artist Helleroid, and singer-songwriter Iryna Muha.

Muha, who will perform on a Ukrainian version of the hurdy-gurdy instrument, told PA that the band is playing parts of their traditional music at the May 5 performance, which also includes yet-to-be-announced special guests.

He added that he has “learned” from his fellow artists in “many ways” as they have taught him how to do eye makeup while his Liverpool bandmates said they have learned Ukrainian phrases.

EuroFestival takes place from May 1 to 14 throughout Liverpool.


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