Ruthenian Theater of the Prosvita Society

Ruthenian Theater of the Prosvita Society (Руський театр товариства Просвіта; Ruskyi teatr tovarystva Prosvita). The first professional Ukrainian theater in Transcarpathia. Established in Uzhhorod in 1921 with the help of the Czechoslovak government, it gave over 1,200 musical and dramatic performances in its eight-year history. Its first director was Mykhailo Sadovsky (1921–3), who developed a populist-ethnographic repertoire. His successor, Oleksander Zaharov (1923–5), elevated the theater’s artistic level with plays such as Volodymyr Vynnychenko’s Brekhnia (Lies) and Zakon (The Law), George Bernard Shaw’s Candida, Karel Čapek’s R.U.R., and others by Molière, Carlo Goldoni, and Fritz Langer. Mykola Lysenko’s opera Utoplena (The Drowned Maiden), Bedřich Smetana’s Bartered Bride, Stanisław Moniuszko’s Halka, Imre Kálmán’s Silva, and Johann Strauss’s Zigeunerbaron were performed under Yaroslav Barnych’s musical direction. Most successful were the productions of Charles Gounod’s opera Faust and Arthur Schnitzler’s play Liebelei. Financial difficulties arose during M. Pevny’s tenure as director (1926–7), and under F. Bazylevych’s direction (1927–9) the theater’s activities dwindled and finally ceased.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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