The many refugees included some talented singers and dancers. Fleeing a country where everything is being destroyed, they have the creative talent to present an alternative to all the violence. We offer performers affected by the violence in Ukraine what we term ‘artistic asylum’. Since March 2022, we have been able to give nine performers a safe space at Dutch National Opera & Ballet.
Dancers and singers
Dutch National Ballet welcomed Olga Smirnova, a principal with the world-famous Bolshoi Ballet, and Victor Caixeta, a rising star with the Mariinsky Ballet in Saint Petersburg. The Ukrainian Liza Gorbachova (Bolshoi Ballet) joined our corps de ballet. We also welcomed four young Ukrainian dancers to our Junior Company: Polina Loshchylina (National Opera of Ukraine), Kate Myklukha (National Opera of Ukraine), Guilherme Vicente (Mikhailovsky Theatre) and Victoria Glazunova (Bolshoi Ballet). Dutch National Opera Studio also created two extra places for the Ukrainian singers Maksym Nazarenko and Georgiy Derbas-Richter.
We need your help
Last year, we were able to create additional positions for the nine performers over and above the existing staffing plan. This was thanks to the very generous support of private individuals, funds and sponsors. Together, you raised an impressive 425.000 euros for these performers. That is amazing! We want to thank everyone who contributed for their support! These artists have been given a place in our house where they can train, develop as performers and focus on the future. What is more, we can offer them stability, security, support and the opportunity to make their dreams come true.
The singers and dancers will stay with our company for one more season and we are currently working on raising the final funds we need to finance their stay with us.
To do this, we still need a total of 260.000 euros. These are additional costs that are not covered by Dutch National Opera & Ballet’s current budget. By now we have already raised 190.000 euros and we are in the process of raising the last 70.000 euros. That means we need your support to keep helping these refugee performers. Together we can make it!
Your financial contributions will let us pay the wages and employer’s contributions, and offer the performers coaching and mental and physical support where necessary, as well as assistance in finding accommodation. With this support, they can continue to grow and develop! From the 2023/2024 season, we will be able to include the singers and dancers in the budget for Dutch National Opera & Ballet.
Welcomed with open arms
One year on, we are pleased to give you an update on the dancers and singers who were able to benefit from a safe new home thanks to the support of so many of you:
Olga Smirnova had danced with the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow since 2011. In March 2022, she left the ballet company and fled to the Netherlands because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Since then, Olga has danced various roles for Dutch National Ballet as a principal ballerina.
Photo: Olga Smirnova in Messa da Requiem | © Michel Schnater
Victor had danced with the Mariinsky Ballet in Saint Petersburg since 2017. Victor was unable to stay on because of the war and he was forced to leave Saint Petersburg. Thanks to your support, he was able to join DNB and develop his ambitions and talents further. This past season, he has danced in various productions including The Sleeping Beauty and Messa da Requiem.
Photo: Victor Caxeita in The Sleeping Beauty | © Marc Haegeman
In 2020, Liza was selected for the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. When the war broke out, Liza was unable to stay in Moscow and she fled to the Netherlands, where DNB offered her a place. She joined the corps de ballet, dancing in The Sleeping Beauty and other productions.
Dutch National Ballet’s Junior Company
“For Kate, Victoria and Polina, it is of course extremely complicated, as many of their family members are still living in Ukraine. However, they have all received a warm welcome from the other Junior Company dancers and are fully integrated in the group. They all say that ‘doing what they love’ really helps!” says Ernst Meisner, choreographer and artistic coordinator of the Dutch National Ballet’s Junior Company.
Last season, we welcomed Polina to the Junior Company, where she is learning lots of new techniques alongside her classical training. For instance, she was cast for the new work by Joshua Jonker, ‘Remembrance’, in Ballet Bubbles.
Victoria started with the Junior Company in March 2022, after fleeing Ukraine. She now feels completely at home with Dutch National Ballet, and stood out in the rehearsals of Dorian for her personality and creative input.
Foto: Victoria Glazunova in Nosotros - Ballet Bubbles | © Altin Kaftira
In 2021, Kate joined the company of the National Opera of Ukraine, where she danced in productions like Swan Lake, Giselle and Raymonda. Kate fled Ukraine when the war broke out and, thanks to your support, found a place with the Junior Company. She is a beautiful and very talented dancer.
In 2018, he moved to Amsterdam to continue his training at the Dutch National Ballet Academy, where he graduated in 2021 from the class of Grigori Tchitcherine. In the same year, Guilherme joined the Mikhailovsky Theatre, in St Petersburg, as a coryphee. Guilherme fled St Petersburg to come to the Netherlands, joining the Junior Company in March 2022.
Dutch National Opera Studio
Dutch National Opera Studio is a two-year programme, in which young singers and répétiteurs are groomed for an international opera career. The Opera Studio combines workshops and coaching with a wide range of professional experiences. The artistic leader is the internationally renowned soprano Rosemary Joshua. Through your contributions, we have been able to support two singers over the past year:
The Ukrainian baritone Georgiy came to the Netherlands in the spring of 2022 to audition for Dutch National Opera Studio. When war broke out in his home country, he could no longer return to Kyiv. Thanks to the funds raised, he was able to join the Opera Studio earlier. His first role on the big stage was Morales in George Bizet’s Carmen, and last autumn he performed Curio in Handel’s Giulio Cesare.
Foto: Georgiy Derbas-Richter tijdens presentatie DNO seizoen 2022-2023
Maksym started with Dutch National Opera Studio in 2020. The war in Ukraine made it impossible for Maksym to return home after his training. He was given the opportunity to sing in the Chorus, and that went so well that he was given a job there in January 2023!
Foto: Maksym Nazarenko tijdens presentatie DNO seizoen 2022-2023
We refuse to let this war plant obstacles in these artists’ paths. Will you help us?
Stichting Nationale Opera & Ballet Fonds
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