To understand other people a core competence is listening: only if we learn to listen, we will be able to understand other people's point of view and way of thinking, and this is not only relevant for interpersonal relationships. Think about an orchestra — the musicians also need to listen to each other so that everyone consistently plays together.

The project "Music and Dialogue" is all about listening and interacting: for two weeks, musicians and singers from East and West worked as part of an independent orchestra and choir project in the Luhansk region. The rehearsal process, performances and various additional events in different places invited a large number of people to participate in a vital and inspiring debate on diverse modes of living, thinking and acting.

The project took place in a complex context of a region close to a war zone and was intended to bring people together in common aspirations, to offer an intellectually stimulating environment and to present the spirit of cooperation to the wider public through its creativity, optimism and orientation towards the future.

Our target group was extremely wide: from students to seniors, including civil activists, people close to the cultural sector as well as industrial workers — everyone was invited to attend our events. Following the project's motto all the events provided a framework to experience the principle of listening for a better understanding.

"Music and Dialogue" was implemented by the association VladOpera e.V. (Germany) and the Ukrainian-Belarusian initiative group, which resulted from the 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.

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VladOpera e.V.
The non-commercial association VladOpera e.V. based in Stuttgart (Germany) is
committed to international understanding, cultural exchange and the development of
the civil society.

The association has over 10 years of experience in implementing international cultural
projects in cooperation with different partners in Eastern Europe and the post-Soviet space,
especially in Ukraine and Russia. The activity of the association is focused on
cultural projects, which are also conceived as a mean of international understanding.

Since 2014, the association has been focused on cooperation with Ukraine in order to
contribute to the reconciliation and understanding in Europe:

Project ¿everything´s different? (2015)
A theater project about people, war and society in Ukraine
16 theatrical groups from Ukraine, Poland and Belarus were invited to over 30
performances and discussions in Ivano-Frankvsk, Lviv, Dnipro, Kharkiv and

Project "Debates on Europe" (2015/2016)
VladOpera e.V. was a partner in a series of international conferences in Estonia,
Belarus, Russia and Ukraine on the issues of European neighborhood.

Project "Stories from Severo" (2016)
A documentary performance produced in Severodonetsk with partners from Kyiv and the
Luhansk region. The real everyday life, the wishes and hopes of people in the war
zone were discussed and staged with actors, some of whom themselves fled the
occupied territories. The piece has been shown in different cities, including

Project "Music Overcomes Walls" (2017-2018)
An international opera and music project in Severodonetsk. In the summer of 2018, after
six weeks of joint rehearsals, a new production of the Mozart opera "Don Giovanni" was
shown to the people of Luhansk region.

Project "Music and Dialogue" (2019)
»Listening for a Better Understanding«
An international orchestra comprising 45 musicians and 20 choir singers rehearses together in Severodonetsk. The artists leave the comfortable frame of the stage and travel to 12
cities in the Luhansk region to play music and to get to know people and realities
through dialogue.

The association VladOpera eV and its projects has been financially supported
by the German Foreign Office, the Goethe Institute, the Deutsche Bank Foundation, the
Prokhorov Foundation, the Daimler Benz AG, the State of Baden-Württemberg, the
Robert Bosch Stiftung, Porsche AG, USAID, UNDP and many local and regional partners.

Ukrainian-Belarusian Initiative Group
"Opera and Dialogue"
In the context of previous projects implemented by VladOpera e.V. (Germany) in Severodonetsk (Luhansk region, Ukraine), participants, partners and spectators formed an initiative group and took most of the responsibility for the existence, development and prospects of the project. Their initiative, energy and knowledge create various activities within the project, determine its goals and objectives.

To ensure the continuity of the project, these people created an initiative group "Opera and Dialog". In partnership with the association VladOpera e.V. (Germany) they bring to life and fill the project with meaning. the project aims to improve mutual understanding between people and plans to attract even more activists from different parts of the Luhansk region, other countries and regions of Ukraine.

Members of the initiative group:

Vitaly Alekseenok (Belarus/Germany, Weimar)
conductor of the opera "Don Giovanni", 2018
musical director of the project "Music and Dialogue", 2019

Igor Bilyts (Ukraine, Kiev)
stage director, actor, playwright
dramaturg of the opera "Don Giovanni", 2018

Lesya Dermenzhi (Lviv, Ukraine)
participant of the project "Music and Dialogue" 2019

Ludmila Dolgonovskaya (Ukraine, Kiev)
assistant consultant of the people's deputy of Ukraine
curator of the project "Music Overcomes Walls", 2018

Oleksii Dorychevskyi (Ukraine, Kiev)
stage director, actor, playwright
playwright of the project "Tales of the North", 2016
dramaturg of the opera "Don Giovanni", 2018

Anna Kazakova (Belarus, Minsk)
cultural project manager
Project Manager of the project "Music Overcomes Walls", 2018
Project Manager of the project "Music and Dialogue", 2019

Tetyana Plis (Ukraine, Severodonetsk)
Dramaturg at the Luhansk Regional Academic Ukrainian Music and Drama Theater
Actress of the project "Tales of the North", 2016
curator of the project "Music Overcomes Walls", 2018
curator of the project "Music and Dialogue", 2019

Evgeny Rakhmanin (Ukraine, Kiev)
soloist of the opera "Don Giovanni", 2018

Olga Ursol (Ukraine, Severodonetsk)
cultural manager
curator of the project "Music and Dialogue", 2019