This day in history: Anniversary of opening the Kyiv Opera House

This day in history: Anniversary of opening the Kyiv Opera House

On this day 150 years ago, the first season of the Kyiv Opera House – now the National Opera House of Ukraine – kicked off.

In the summer of 1867, the first permanent opera company was formed in Kyiv headed by former singer and entrepreneur Ferdinand Berger. He invited many talented figures to the new theater. The Kyiv City Council granted the company a city theater. November 8, 1867, the Kyiv Opera House raised the curtain for the first time. The company’s debut was the opera Askold's Grave by Oleksiy Verstovsky. In the first years of its activity, the opera house staged mostly works by Russian composers and sometimes European classics.

In 1874, the national opera Christmas Night by Mykola Lysenko was for the first time performed in the history of Ukrainian music. First, the opera company showed it on the stage of the Kyiv City Theater. However, in 1896 this theater completely burned down. Apart from the building, one of the best musical libraries, costumes and settings for many performances died in the fire. However, Kyiv could no longer exist without an opera house. Musical performances were held at the Bergogne Theater (now the Lesya Ukrainka National Academic Theater of Russian Drama), the Solovtsov Theater (now the Ivan Franko National Academic Theater of Ukrainian Drama), and even in the premises of the famous Krutikov Circus. Meanwhile, the City Council announced a competition for the project of a new building of the Kyiv Opera House. Academician Viktor Schreter was announced as the winner in 1897. The construction of the new opera house lasted 4 years. The ceremony of grand opening took place on September 15, 1901. The theater has survived in its initial appearance up to the present day, changing its name only.


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