Kharkiv Theater of Opera and Ballet

Image - Kharkiv Capital Opera performance: Mykola Lysenko Taras Bulba (1928).

Kharkiv Theater of Opera and Ballet ( Kharkivskyi derzhavnyi akademichnyi teatr opery ta baletu im. M. Lysenka). (Photo: Kharkiv Theater of Opera and Ballet.) The first Ukrainian opera theater with a resident company. It was founded in 1925 as the Ukrainian Capital Opera, and received its current name in 1944. The first permanent opera company in Kharkiv arose in 1880, and it became the first company to stage Mykola Lysenko's Ukrainian operas Christmas Night (1883) and The Drowned Maiden (1885). In 1918 the company became known as the People's Opera, and in 1920 as the Russian State Opera. By 1934 the theater had produced 32 operas and 11 ballets, including Borys Liatoshynsky's The Golden Ring, Valentyn Kostenko's Karmeliuk, Anatol Vakhnianyn's Kupalo, Lysenko's Taras Bulba, Oles Chyshko's Apple Blossom Captivity, and the Ukrainized versions of A. Dargomyzhsky's The Water Nymph and A. Borodin's Prince Igor. The ballets produced there included Borys Yanovsky's Ferenji and Mykhailo Verykivsky's The Nobleman Kanovsky, in which the choreographer Vasyl Lytvynenko combined for the first time elements of classical ballet and Ukrainian folk dances. Many masterpieces of Russian and world opera were produced; eg, E. Wolf-Ferrari's The Jewels of the Madonna and G. Puccini's Turandot. In 1934–41 new productions of Semen Hulak-Artemovsky's Zaporozhian Cossack beyond the Danube and Lysenko's Natalka from Poltava were staged. During this period G. Meyerbeer's The Huguenots was one of the more successful productions of a classical opera. In 1941–5, the company worked in Chita and, later, collaborated with the Kyiv Theater of Opera and Ballet in Irkutsk. After 1945 the company's opera repertoire included M. Verykivsky's The Servant Girl and Kostiantyn Dankevych's Bohdan Khmelnytsky and Nazar Stodolia; its ballet repertoire consisted of such productions as Volodymyr Nakhabin's Danko, Tavriia, The Burgher from Tuscany, and Spring Tale, and K. Dankevych's The Lily. In the 1970s the number of Ukrainian operas and ballets in the theater's repertoire was minimal: a new production of Taras Bulba (sets by Anatol Petrytsky) was directed by Volodymyr Skliarenko, and Mykhailo Skorulsky's ballet The Forest Song (1970, 1980) and Vitalii Hubarenko's The Stone Master (1972, 1974) were performed. The opera's stage directors have included Serhii Karhalsky, Dmytro Smolych, Mykola Foregger, Mykhailo Stefanovych, and V. Skliarenko. Among its stage designers have been A. Petrytsky, Oleksander Khvostenko-Khvostov, Dmytro Ovcharenko, and Leonid Bratchenko. A. Pazovsky, Veniamin Tolba, Yevhen Dushchenko, I. Zak, and Ya. Skybynsky worked at the opera as conductors, and K. Holeizovsky, Pavlo Virsky, M. Moiseiev, P. Yorkyn, Vasyl Lytvynenko, and V. Shkilko as choreographers. Among its better-known opera soloists have been Viktor Budnevych, Mykhailo Hryshko, Borys Hmyria, Ivan Patorzhynsky, Yurii Kyporenko-Domansky, Mykhailo Donets, I. Kuchenko, Mykhailo Mykysha, Vira Huzhova, Y. Chervoniuk, and M. Lytvynenko-Volhemut. Its ballet soloists have included V. Dulenko, Antonina Yaryhina, Svitlana Kolyvanova, Oleksander Sobol, and T. Popesku.

Valerian Revutsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine vol. 2 (1989).]

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