Sunday Morning Opera: Hvorostovsky Honors WWII Vets


Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 1.41.50 PMWe call it V-E Day, May 8, 1945.  The Russians celebrate it on May 9.  Let’s put it this way, the Russians celebrate it and honor their World War II vets.  Here in the US, no one gives a damn.  Once upon a time they did, with Bob Hope doing all he could to honor those who fought for freedom.  Today, no one cares.  Nationally, no one did a bloody, damn thing in this country.  Last year, during the 70th anniversary celebrations, the Obama Administration went out of their way to snub the Russian contributions to the victory in Europe.   Apparently, this year, they even snubbed the United States.

This is getting to be a very sore subject with me.  On October 17, 2014, 90-year-old my father, went home to be with the Lord.  During his long life, he spent a few years fighting for our freedom, during World War II in the Pacific. In the Merchant Marines, he did not even carry a gun. He was in the Army Air Corps, training to be a pilot, when he watched Bogey in Action in the North Atlantic. Still quite young, the next day he began the process of transferring out of the Army Air Corps into the Merchant Marines.

At the time, when he volunteered for the South Pacific, the survival rate for Merchant Marines was maybe 5%.  Because he had basically volunteered for a suicide mission, while he was training, at Sheephead Bay in Brooklyn, he and his classmates were treated as heroes.  Everyone knew they were going to die.   According to his old stories, he enjoyed every moment of his pending doom, and his pending heroics.   By the time he reached the South Pacific, things had changed to the point that even the nurses were there – before him.

That was his story.  He rarely talked about the 2 ships which were shot out from under him, or the fact that he as one of the officers assigned to the clean-up of the Bataan Death March site, after we recaptured the Philippines. He was in charge of collecting the dog tags of our deceased soldiers, and making sure their deaths were properly recorded. What he saw haunted him the remainder of his life.  He rarely talked about it.  I only learned, by chance, what he did.

Today, no one in this country is honoring our World War II vets the way Dmitri Hvorostovsky is doing in Russia.  It makes me want to cry when I think about my father’s generation, and the fact that people in this country are forgetting about them, and what they did.

“…One of the main venues of victory day celebrations in Moscow became the VDNKH. Free film screenings, performances by military bands, theatre productions. But the main event-Dmitri Hvorostovsky’s concert in Green Theatre. The singer made a program that audiences love nothing less than his opera repertoire. Performed by famed baritone performed “songs of the war years.

With the program “the songs of the war years,” Dmitri Hvorostovsky first made in May 2004 year on red square. Then the concert saw viewers 25 countries. The project has received a great response. For the second consecutive year, 9 May is the famous baritone stands in Green Theatre.

Open-air theatre built in 39-m for the opening of the main exhibitions of the country has always attracted artists some atmosphere. This evening the playground was unable to accommodate all comers. The concert is free. Only three thousand seats. According to the preliminary electronic registration. Those lucky enough to not hide feelings:

“The atmosphere, special mood and something very profound and dear soul.”

We are waiting for from Dmitri Hvorostovsky and” dark night “, and” Katyusha “, all the songs that we love from childhood.

“” Beats in close pečurke fire “song, where I grew up, perhaps, she remembered me from childhood.
Hvorostovsky is my countryman from Siberia, a very talented man. Programme this year, the singer approached somewhat differently. There were not only military, but also folk songs. It was with them started by the famous baritone.

One and a half hours without intermission. Lyrics and melodies, familiar from childhood. “Dark night”, “wait for me”, “Katyusha” songs that helped to survive the great patriotic and believe in victory-spectators, many with tears in their eyes, sang along with Dmitri Hvorostovsky. The concert finished under volleys of celebratory Fireworks-it this evening could be seen in all areas of Moscow…”

This is an amazingly brave concert.  Having just recently come off another course of radiation therapy and chemo, the man is exhausted. He has lost quite a bit of weight, and should be resting.  Instead, he is pushing himself to his limits, honoring those who fought the tyranny of Hitler.  And – no one did a damn thing in this country to honor our World War II vets, at least not on a large scale like this, with a nationally televised concert.

What the heck is wrong with this country?