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Conductor Valery Gergiyev says decision on concert in Palmyra was taken two days ago

May 05, 20:57 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The concert was held on Thursday night in Palmyra's landmark Roman theater that survived almost a year of occupation of the city bythe Islamic State terrorist group
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© EPA/SERGEI ILNITSKY

MOSCOW, May 5. /TASS/. Musicians of the Mariinsky theater symphony orchestra learned about an opportunity to give a concert in Palmyra virtually two days ago and they agreed to perform here without any hesitation, the theater's artistic director, Valery Gergiyev told Rossiya I television channel.

"I'm really thankful to the Mariinsky theater musicians who gave consent [to performing in Palmyra] without any afterthoughts," he said. "We spoke literally the day before yesterday for the first time about an opportunity to play here in the country shocked by human deaths."

"We size this concert up as an act of human compassion and solidarity with those whom we can call brothers and sisters," he said.

The concert was held on Thursday night in Palmyra's landmark Roman theater that survived almost a year of occupation of the city bythe Islamic State terrorist group (banned in Russia).

Syrian troops from Daesh (Islamic State) units out of the ancient city at the end of March. Russian military experts took part in designing the operation to recapture Palmyra and the Russian aviation made about 500 combat sorties to facilitate the operation.

Mariinsky theater is not the first Russian cultural institution to respond to the events around Palmyra in a practical way. The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg and the Dmitry Likhachov Institute for Research into Cultural and Natural Heritage (the Heritage Institute) have stated their readiness to throw their shoulder into restoration of the unique historical site.

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