at war

The Culture Fights Back project to share stories of artists and civil society representatives who have joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

In this section, read the stories of modern Ukrainian artists who, at the cost of their lives and health, protect us against Russia’s military aggression in the 21st century.

Vasyl Slipak

Vasyl Slipak was an opera singer and a soloist of the Paris National Opera, as well as a Knight of the Order for Courage and Hero of Ukraine. He participated in the Revolution of Dignity and the Russian war against Ukraine in 2014, later dying in Donbas, during a battle in 2016.

Since childhood, Vasyl had been fond of music, although he grew up in a family of parents with more technical professions. He gained his first professional experience singing in the “Dudaryk” Lviv children’s choir.

In 1996, Vasyl Slipak was invited to become a soloist at the Paris National Opera. Vasyl had a wide vocal range and could sing both countertenor and baritone. He was successful in his profession: Vasyl conducted several successful solo tours in Europe and had won the prize for best male performer at the Armel Opera Competition and Festival in Szeged, Hungary, for his rendering of the Toreador Song from Carmen.

With the beginning of the Revolution of Dignity in 2013, Vasyl led a volunteer movement in France, organizing various actions in support of the Maidan activists and their children, while also collecting funds and sending humanitarian aid.

In 2014, Vasyl returned to Ukraine, participating in the war in the East of Ukraine. He fought in dangerous battle zones like Pisky, Donetsk Airport, and Avdiyivka. His military call sign was “Mif” (Myth), a reference to his favorite aria of Mephistopheles from the opera Faust.

After the war, Vasyl had planned to continue his career in Paris, but on June 29, 2016, he was killed by a Russian sniper in Luhanske, near Bakhmut.

Ukrainian directors,  Leonid Kanter and Ivan Yasniy, made a documentary about the life of Vasyl Slipak — Myth (2018).

The Wassyl Slipak Foundation Facebook-page