Taras Shevchenko National Theatre – Oldest Musical Theatre in Ukraine
The Taras Shevchenko National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet is regarded as one of the oldest musical theatres in all Ukraine. Its present name has come after countless changes and the theatre was originally called the ‘Russian Opera House’.
It was only in the early 1900s that the building took on the name of ‘State Opera House’. Just seven years later in 1926 the National Opera House received its ‘Academic’ status. The year 1934 again saw a dramatic change, with the name being altered to ‘The Ukrainian Theatre of Opera and Ballet’. Finally in 1994 – sixty years after the last modification – “Ukrainian” was replaced by the word “National”. Today the theatre is formally known as “The National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet” and has been named for T.G. Shevchenko. Locally it is known simply as “The National Opera House of Ukraine”.
The original theatre was founded in 1867 and designed by the great architect I. Shtrom. However, some years later in 1896 it was regrettably burnt. Nevertheless it was through the gifted architect Victor Shreter that the splendid Neo-Renaissance styled building came into existence as we know it today.
In the early 1920’s a small traveling troupe was formed in Vinnitsa, headed by the formidable Ignat Petrovich Yura. Unlike most companies the new troupe consisted of rather young actors. This, interestingly enough, would later play a major role in the troupe having their names carved into the history books. It was during this time they debuted with the play ‘Sin’ by Vinnichenko. With much dedicated effort and enthusiasm the troupe was able produce 23 new productions in just one season – an astounding amount and evidence of their renowned success. Just three years later they were invited to the capital of Ukraine and given a permanent stage. Their overwhelming success had enabled this provincial troupe to grow into capital theatre. In the summer of 1926 the theatre made its new home in Kiev at the ‘The National Opera House of Ukraine’.
Its achievements as a theatre have made the National Opera House of Ukraine renowned throughout the country. Its success is reflected in its vast popularity as well as the numerous awards it has collected at different theatrical festivals. The Taras Shevchenko National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet‘s greatest achievement has to be its legendary repertoire as a theatre and its cast. Over the years the cast has gradually come to include the best of the best after many tours across Europe and the States.