12:53 Jul. 2, 2016
42-year-old soloist and volunteer fighter laid to rest in Lviv
Amid the thud of artillery and rattle of gunfire, Vasyl Slipak's deep, resonant voice in the trenches of eastern Ukraine was a warm reminder of humanity's less barbaric traits.
The professional baritone had left his native Ukraine in the 1990s to settle in France, where he regularly sang at the Paris Opera. But after war erupted in 2014, he decided to return home and join a volunteer battalion to fight Russian-backed separatists on the country's eastern front.
Here, Slipak adopted Ukraine's traditional, Mohawk-style haircut as well as the nom de guerre 'Meph' — a nod to Mephistopheles's aria from 'Faust', the opera based on Goethe's great play. He would occasionally serenade his fellow fighters, too.