By Francisco Salazar
(Photo: Richard Termine)
On Sept. 22 the Metropolitan Opera hosted Olena Zelenska’s Foundation for a charity event.
The Foundation’s primary goal is to restore Ukraine’s human capital so that every Ukrainian feels physically and mentally healthy, protected, and able to exercise their right to education, work, and build a future in Ukraine.
In a statement, the First Lady of Ukraine said, “Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, we have managed to do a lot. We have organized 20 convoys of life, which made it possible to evacuate more than 550 children with cancer to hospitals in Europe, the USA, and Canada. We hosted the First Ladies and Gentlemen Summit to raise money and purchase more than 80 ambulances. We evacuated children from orphanages for their temporary stay abroad. We provided humanitarian aid to family-type orphanages. But every day brings more and more requests and needs. More funding is needed. That is why I am creating the Foundation. The Foundation will make it possible to significantly scale assistance to people and provide proper treatment and decent education to everyone who needs it.”
The event was attended by Peter Gelb and his wife Keri-Lynn Wilson, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom James Cleverly, American TV host and actor Jimmy Fallon, actor Matt Damon, and actress Brooke Shields. Ukrainian stars performed at the charity evening while Andrii Biedniakov hosted the evening.
During the event, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeared via video and said, “We are fighting for freedom and protecting our people. We are doing everything possible to engage our friends – friends of freedom – worldwide who are willing to contribute to our struggle.”
The Metropolitan Opera has been on the frontlines of the Ukraine War having created the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra, and done a fundraising concert for the efforts in Ukraine. The company has also cut ties with the Bolshoi Theatre and with such artists as Anna Netrebko and Hibla Gerzmava.