Dispatch from Ukraine: A national opera hits a defiant and powerful note

As some homesick refugees, tired of living on makeshift cots in refugee centres abroad, are taking a chance and returning to Lviv, the city’s opera house, which used to stage Russian works, will only show Ukrainian productions for the duration of the war

Lyubov Kuchar on stage at the Lviv Opera House: ‘In these hard times, people need to have some food for the soul, to feel something different, better than every day this fear.’ Pictures: Phil Wilson

Oleksandr Zubko was standing on a railway platform holding a bouquet of flowers, bursting with white and yellow petals, as he waited for his family to return from Germany. It was three years to the day since he married his wife Anna, and he had longed to see her and their daughters Eva, three, and Lada, 11, after four months apart.

The father of two paced platform 1 in the station in Lviv in western ...