Contributed by Tom Bell

An Indigenous opera singer from Russia will perform a concert in Yarmouth at 6 p.m. Sunday, June 11 to raise money for the Crimean Tatar Resource Center, which supports Ukrainian children who are victims of the war.

Pavel Sulyandziga, a tenor, graduated from the Gnesin Russian Academy of Music (Moscow) and New School (New York). He will perform classical Ukrainian music and showcase the beauty of the Ukrainian language and the musicality of Ukrainian culture.

Crimean Tatars are the indigenous people of the Crimean Peninsula. The Muslim minority are loyal to Ukraine and have borne the brunt of Russia’s crackdown in Crimea.

In May 1944, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin deported the entire Crimean Tatar nation—roughly 200,000 people—from its homeland. Thousands of the deportees died during the journey and thousands more died in settlement camps in Central Asia and Siberia.

Crimean Tatars were forbidden from returning to their homeland until 1989.

After Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, activists and leaders in Crimean Tatar civil society were subject to arrests, detentions, and expulsions by Russian authorities. 

Sunday’s concert is free and will include a brief video from a Crimean Tatar Resource Center representative, who will discuss their experiences throughout the war.

Sulyandziga, a member of the Udege tribe in the Russian Far East, was the first Indigenous person to sing on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera. 

He grew up in Russia and currently lives in New York City. He has five brothers and sisters attending Yarmouth schools.

The concert is organized by Katya Fromuth, a student at Yarmouth High School, and the Batani Foundation, a Yarmouth-based nonprofit that develops programs that promote human rights and self-determination for Indigenous peoples in Russia.