Lviv Opera Theater

Lviv Opera Theater [Львівський оперний театр; Lvivskyi opernyi teatr]. A theater that existed during the German occupation in 1941–4 under the management of Andrii Petrenko, with Volodymyr Blavatsky as principal director. It was installed in the former Municipal Theater and was a virtual successor to the Lesia Ukrainka Theater. During the short time of its existence, the Lviv Opera Theater was the most eminent theater in Ukraine. Its drama troupe (directed by Blavatsky and Yosyp Hirniak) included the renowned Galician actors Oleksandra Kryvytska, Sofiia Stadnyk, Vira Levytska, Stefaniia Stadnyk, Hanna Sovacheva, Mariia Stepova-Karpiak, Ivan Rubchak, and Bohdan Pazdrii. The theater produced William Shakespeare's Hamlet for the first time on a Ukrainian stage (1943); Max Halbe's The River; Lesia Ukrainka's Kaminnyi hospodar (The Stone Host), Na poli krovi (On the Field of Blood), and Iohanna zhinka Husova (Johanna, Wife of Hus); and Mykola Kulish's Myna Mazailo. The opera troupe (musical director, Lev Turkevych; concertmaster, M. Lysenko; choirmaster, Ya. Boshchak; choreographer, Ye. Vigilov; scenery designer, Myroslav Radysh) had considerable success with the European repertoire, including Giuseppe Verdi's Aida, La Traviata, and Il Trovatore, Georges Bizet's Carmen, Giacomo Puccini's Tosca and Madame Butterfly, Ruggero Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci, Bedřich Smetana's The Bartered Bride, and Charles Gounod's Faust. Notable soloists included Ye. Pospiieva, L. Chernykh, Zenon Dolnytsky, I. Romanovsky, Orest Rusnak, and Vasyl Tysiak. The Lviv Opera Theater also produced classical ballets and operettas (musical director, Yaroslav Barnych). Most of its actors had fled Ukraine by 1944, and continued their work in the Ensemble of Ukrainian Actors in Germany and, after emigrating to the United States, in the Ukrainian Theater in Philadelphia and the Theater-Studio of Y. Hirniak and O. Dobrovolska.

Wasyl Wytwycky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]




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