Viira, August Peeterovich
Born Mar. 28, 1853, in Jaama, near Tartu; died Mar. 30, 1919, in Tartu. Estonian theatrical figure, director, and conductor.
Between 1878 and 1903, Viira headed the Vanemuine Theater in Tartu. The first musical production in the Estonian language, Weber’s Preciosa, was staged under his direction in 1883. Viira staged operas and operettas—Planquette’s The Bells ofCorneville (1885), Strauss’ Gypsy Baron (1889), and Mehule’s Joseph (1899). He also staged Estonian dramatic works—Kunder’s Muru Miku’s Madness (1880) and The Re-tired Soldier (1886) and Koidula’s Oh That Mulk (1884)—as well as the classics (Moliere and Shakespeare). His activities in the 1880’s and early 1890’s aided the formation of a national theatrical culture. Viira further developed the democratic traditions founded by L. Koidula.