Modern Europe is founded on the ideal of peaceful brotherhood. The purpose of Opera Europa has been to embody that ideal and to create effective means whereby companies from diverse nations share good practice and work together in harmony. The invasion of Ukraine shatters that ideal. Cultural support appears to be powerless against military force.
David Sassoli, former President of the European Parliament, declared that ‘culture is decisive for the quality of life; and that ‘it’s culture that can bring back people together again after the trauma of the pandemic’. The Cultural Deal for Europe is an urgent call to make culture central in the Future of Europe. Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth asserts: ‘the cultural and creative sectors are Europe’s strongest assets and they have a role to play in Europe’s recovery’.
Yet, the limits of culture as a force for good are all too evident. How do we build its capability to defend the values of freedom and democracy against military aggression? Who will listen to music against the din of war? How can our theatre serve a useful political purpose? Somehow, we must find a way to transform moral solidarity into practical support for our friends and colleagues in Ukraine.