The 45th Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (hcmf//) is back to its fully-fledged 10-day format for the first time since 2019, and will host a programme of Ukrainian work as part of the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture jointly devised by the British Council and the Ukrainian Institute. The UK’s largest international festival of new and experimental music (Friday 18 – Sunday 27 November) features 50+ events including concerts, talks, workshops and film, and celebrates contemporary music and new sounds.
Opening this year’s festival is the hard-hitting multimedia opera Chornobyldorf, a powerful postapocalyptic fantasy examining the impact of nuclear power and reflecting on humanities’ role in climate catastrophes. Although the work premiered before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in March this year, the award-winning work has taken on a heightened level of relevance in recent months, as the threat of nuclear war stares us in the face. Receiving its UK Premiere at hcmf// 2022 on Friday 18th November, all income generated from the performance of Chornobyldorf will be donated to humanitarian relief in Ukraine.
Composed and directed by Roman Grygorvic and Illia Razumeiko, Chornobyldorf follows descendants of humanity who have survived a series of nuclear disasters and now find themselves in a new world, trying to recreate their lost civilisation. The work, which features nudity, combines folk and classical singing with physical theatre, dance, unique musical instruments and video. These seven videos feature recordings from actual archaeological expeditions to Chornobyldorf’s prohibited zone and the Zaprorizhzhia nuclear power station – which has become a recent focus of Russia’s military aggression and threats since its invasion of Ukraine.
Composer and Director, Roman Grygorvic said: “Chornobyldorf was created two years before a large-scale Russian war against Ukraine and it is now that the opera has become radically relevant. In 2020 a nuclear explosion had an abstract meaning to us, whereas today the fear of nuclear threat is well-founded.
“Each day, the fictional world of Chornobyldorf is getting more real. The context of the piece changed for both its creators and the whole world.”
Summarising this year’s Ukrainian programme at hcmf// 2022, Artistic Director Graham Mckenzie said: “At hcmf//, we’re proud to be partnering with Ukrainian creatives for our 2022 event. Arts and culture can play a vital role in bringing people together and, at a time when so many barriers are being put in place, its vital that we provide Ukrainian creatives with an opportunity for their voices to be heard.
“This year’s festival programme seeks to reflect the world we currently live in; ask questions around identity and the changing relevance of borders; and explores who we are now, as a species on a planet in crisis. The UK/Ukraine Season of Culture epitomises all of these issues and questions.”
Chornobyldorf is one of four events included in hcmf// 2022’s Ukrainian programme, part of the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture. Devised jointly by the British Council and the Ukrainian Institute, the Season provides Ukrainian creatives with a voice. Its aim is to enhance cultural connections between the UK and Ukraine, providing opportunities for the artists to connect and collaborate.
This Season’s theme, Future Reimagined, was reshaped following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and has now produced a much more diverse schedule of live events in the UK and digitally for their global audience.
The entire list of UK/Ukrainian Season events being presented at hcmf// 2022 this November include:
Chornobyldorf (Friday 18 November – 7:30PM)
String Air Synthesis (Friday 18 November – 10:45PM)
Riot Ensemble 1 (Sunday 20 November – 4:00PM)
Maxim Shalygin: drop after drop – Part of hcmf// shorts (Monday 21 November – 3:20PM)
Please note, Chornobyldorf and its trailer contain nudity.
hcmf// 2022 tickets and online programme are available to view here: https://hcmf.co.uk/2022-programme/