Boldly going where no ACFEA group has gone before this year the Belfast Philharmonic Chorus undertook a 9 day tour of Poland and Ukraine performing the Mozart C Minor mass and Poulenc’s Stabat Mater accompanied by the Lviv Virtuosos Academic Chamber Orchestra and conducted by Bartosz Żurakowski.
First stop on the tour was Opole, a city around 200km west of Krakow on the river Oder. Over 500 people flocked to Opole Cathedral to hear the concert and they weren’t disappointed!
After a sightseeing trip to nearby Wroclaw, it was time for the group to leave Opole to head east towards Krakow. Not before taking a slight detour 300 meters underground to visit the fascinating salt mines of Wieliczka, complete with an ‘underground cathedral’ where the choir squeezed in a sneaky pop-up performance.
The tour’s second concert took place in the magnificent Basilica of Katowice, the largest Basilica in Poland. The choir and orchestra were personally invited to perform here by the Bishop of the Silesian region and as a special honour, Bartosz invited the former director of the Lviv Opera, Maestro Miron Yusipovich to conduct this concert for the Bishop. Alongside the Bishop, another impressive audience welcomed the ensemble there in Katowice, with very few seats remaining.
After some time at leisure to explore the old town of Krakow with its impressive medieval square it was time for the group to head even further east into Ukraine. Phones, tablets and kindles all charged the group were ready to hit the border and before long found themselves in the beautiful western Ukrainian city of Lviv. First order of the day was a guided tour by some enthusiastic local guides, who were thrilled to have a group from Northern Ireland visit their city. The eagle eyed members of the choir manage to spot posters advertising their concert, some Cyrillic decoding required on this occasion!
The group’s final concert was the grand finale and closing concert of the Music in Old Lviv festival. Held in the Lviv Philharmonic Hall, home to the choir’s tour partners, the Lviv Virtuosos Academic Chamber Orchestra, the ensemble performed to an almost full Philharmonic Hall. The local media were also there to get in on the action, you can see the clip here.