In a city that, over the past three months, became used to wailing air-raid sirens and thuds of artillery from the suburbs, people were instead treated to the frothy melodies of Rossini's "The Barber of Seville." The reopening of the Kyiv Opera marked the first performance since the missiles and shells of Vladimir Putin's invasion interrupted the opera season and everything else in Ukraine in the early hours of February 24. The audience was a mix of couples enjoying their first opportunity in weeks to wear their most elegant outfits. Soldiers in military fatigues took a break from their army service for some high culture. The audience was smaller than normal to ensure an evacuation could take place quickly if needed. "I can't say opera is my usual entertainment, but it is an incredible feeling to hear this music and to be in a different world for a little while, before coming back to our reality," said Volodymyr, a soldier.

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