Established in the summer of 1867 by Ferdinand Berger (? – 1875). Berger succeeded in inviting many talented singers, musicians, and conductors, and the city council (duma) had offered the newly created trouppe to use the City Theatre (constructed in 1856, architect I. Shtrom) for their performances. Officially, the theatre was named the City Theatre but was most commonly referred to as the Russian Opera. The day of the first performance, November 8 (October 27 old style), 1867 was made a city holiday. The performance of the opera Askold’s Tomb by Alexey Verstovsky was the troupe’s debut. The initial success is attributed to the vocal talents of that time of O. Satagano-Gorchakova, F. L’vov, M. Agramov but also to the captivating plot taken from some principal pages of the ancient history of the city.
Early performances were mostly Russian operas, including Ruslan and Lyudmila by Mikhail Glinka, Rusalka by Alexander Dargomyzhsky, Maccabees by Anton Rubinstein and The Enemy’s Power by A. Serov, as well translated European operas including The Barber of Sevile by Rossini, The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart, The Magic Archer by Weber, Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti, and also operas by Giuseppe Verdi, which became the favorite of the Kievites. Kurt Adler (First Conductor), from 1933-1935.
On February 4, 1896, after a morning performance of Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky, a fire erupted from the unextinguished candle in the theatre. The fire consumed the whole building within several hours. One of the largest musical libraries in Europe along with numerous costumes and stage props of many performances were lost during the fire. After the fire of the City Theatre, the troupe performed on other stages for several years, including Bergonie’s Theatre (now the National Theatre of Russian Drama named after Lesya Ukrainka), Solovtsov’s Theatre (now the National Theatre named after Ivan Franko) and even on the arena of the famous Krutikov’s Circus.

National Opera of Ukraine 1

National Opera of Ukraine 1

National Opera of Ukraine 1

National Opera of Ukraine 1


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