There is a rich historical tradition of live theatrical performances associated with wartime. George II, the last British monarch to lead troops in battle at Dettingen in 1743, had this commemorated by Handel in his work, Dettingen Te Deum, as well as victory in that war in Music for the Royal Fireworks. London’s West End theatres stayed open during German bombing in World War 2, though air raids were announced, letting theatergoers decide whether to head to the bomb shelters. Most stayed.

And so it is that National Opera of Ukraine in Kyiv carry on through war with Russia, including missile attacks that are accepted as part of daily life. Locals cherish these performances. The fact that they take place at all is an assertion of civilised values and the importance of beauty at a time of violent destruction...

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