Art Performance 

Art Performance "East West Street. A Song of Good and Evil"

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11.11. 2017, 19:00

Lviv Philharmonic Hall (vul. Chaykovskoho, 7)

The Center for Urban history invited to an art performance based on the world bestseller "East West Street. A Song of Good and Evil" on the Origins of "Genocide" and "Crimes Against Humanity ["Східно-західна вулиця. Повернення до Львова"] (Knopf, 2016; ВСЛ 2017) by Philippe Sands, a renown lawyer engaged into some of the most resonant international trials on the crimes of genocide and human rights violation.

East West Street. A Song of Good and Evil focuses on the fate of three men – a Cambridge academic Hersch Lauterpacht, a prosecutor Raphael Lemkin, and Hitler’s personal lawyer and governor general of the Nazi occupied Poland Hans Frank. It is a story about the two graduates of Lviv/Lwów/Lemberg University who introduced into an academic discourse and international legal system the terms describing and prosecuting for some of the most atrocious crimes of the 20th century: "crime against humanity" and "genocide". The international law integrated these terms and put them into legal usage as a result of their hard-fought efforts over many decades. This is also a story about Hans Frank convicted in the crimes of the Nazi occupation authorities. Evidences from Lviv were vital for his prosecution. The drama performance offers new insights into the Nuremberg Trial and the history of contemporary international law. It shows the yet undiscovered history that had changed Lviv, international law, and the present world.

It is now accepted that governments can no longer treat citizens as they wish. International law imposes constraints on their acts. There are international tribunals that had already tried heads of states. The crucial change in interpreting sovereignty of states over citizens could become possible after the Second World War when a new system of international law emerged. At its heart were the crime of ‘genocide’ and ‘crimes against humanity’ conceptualized by Lemkin and Lauterpacht. The legal terms were first used in the Nuremberg Trial. They are primarily intended to protect human dignity. However, there is a significant difference between them. What is more important – to protect groups or individuals?

Song of Good and Evil – is an exceptional opportunity to explore the history of these now universally accepted concepts and their relation to the history of Lviv. The unusual format of the Song of Good and Evil combines images,narration, and music excerpts to tell about committing prosecuting, and preventing over some most atrocious crimes of the past century. This is also a story about passion for music in which Lauterpacht and Frank divided by the bar in the courtroom 600 of the Nuremberg Palace of Justice in 1946 managed to find consolation in some hardest moments of their lives.

Song of Good and Evil is performed only four times a year in different cities worldwide. Following the first show in London in 2014, the performance was presented in Stockholm, Nuremberg, Istanbul, and Montblanc. The performances in Hague, Berlin, and Sydney are scheduled, too. The production in Lviv in the Philharmonic Hall is of special significance, as Lemberg/Lwów/Lviv is the setting for most events, as well as a protagonist of the show.

Katja Riemann, narrator, film actress, Berlin
Philippe Sands, narrator, professor of law, lawyer, writer, London
Laurent Naouri, Bass-baritone, Met, New-York/Paris
Guillaume de Chassy, piano, jazz pianist and composer, Paris

With special participation of Emmanuel Ax, a world-known pianist and seven-time Grammy winner. Mr Ax joined the performance only once, returning to the city where he was born and began musical education.

The event is part of the public program for the  "(un)named" exhibition, and the program of the "Rights, Justice, and Memories of Lviv" that also includes an international workshop "Placeless/Placeness: Ideas of Rights and Justice in Eastern Europe" and the unveiling of memorial plates.

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Gallery Image by Iryna Sereda