Kharkov Theater of Opera and Ballet

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kharkov Theater of Opera and Ballet


(full name, N. V. Lysenko Kharkov Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet), a theater opened in Kharkov in 1925. A privately owned opera house had existed in the city from 1880. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries its company included such fine singers as N. A. Bol’shakov, A. P. Bonachich, I. V. Ershov, and N. I. Zabela-Vrubel’. In 1918 the newly formed People’s Opera gave performances. In 1920, the Russian State Opera was established. Russian and foreign classics were staged by the theater’s company, which included the conductors A. M. Pazovskii, I. O. Palitsyn, and L. P. Shteinberg, the directors N. N. Bogoliubov and V. D. Man-zii, the stage designers A. G. Petritskii and A. V. Khvostenko-Khvostov, and the singers M. I. Donets, I. S. Kozlovskii, M. I. Litvinenko-Vol’gemut, M. O. Reizen, and P. I. Tsesevich.

In 1925 the theater was reorganized as the Ukrainian State Capital Opera, renamed the Kharkov Theater of Opera and Ballet in 1931. It was named in honor of N. V. Lysenko in 1944. Seeking to develop a new Soviet repertoire, the theater performed the national operas Explosion by lanovskii. The Debacle by Femelidi, Captive of the Apple Trees by Chishko, and The Golden Hoop by Liatoshinskii. The theater also staged Paliashvi-li’s Abesalom and Eteri (Ukrainian première), Dzerzhinskii’s Virgin Soil Upturned, and Khrennikov’s Into the Storm. Its leading singers were Z. M. Gaidai, B. R. Gmyria, M. S. Grishko, B. Ia. Zlatogorova, Iu. S. Kiporenko-Damanskii, M. V. Mikisha, I. S. Patorzhinskii, M. D. Romenskii, A. D. Ropskaia, and N. A. Chastii.

Under the direction of the ballet masters R. N. Balanotti, K. Ia. Goleizovskii, A. M. Messerer, and P. P. Virskii, the theater’s ballet company (whose soloists included V. S. Dulenko, A. M. Sobol’, and A. V. Iarygina) gave fine performances of Glière’s The Red Poppy (1927), Vasilenko’s Joseph the Handsome (1927) and In the Sunlight (1928), Ianovskii’s Ferendzi (1930), Verikovskii’s Pan Kanevskii (Bondarivna, 1931), Pugni’s Esmeralda (1932), Asaf’ev’s Flames of Paris (1934) and The Fountain of Bakhchisarai (1938), Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty (1935), Solvejg’s Song to music by Grieg (1938), Klebanov’s Svetlana (1941), and Balanchivadze’s Heart of the Hills (1941).

During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) the theater was evacuated, first to Chita and then to Irkutsk, where it staged joint productions with the Ukrainian Theater of Opera and Ballet. On May 24, 1945, the theater opened its first postwar season in Kharkov. Among memorable operatic productions of the 1940’s and 1950’s were Glinka’s Ivan Susanin (1945), Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tsar’s Bride (1945), The Sevastopolians (1947) by Koval’, Klebanov and Sandler’s One Life (1947), Borodin’s Prince Igor (1949), Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades (1950), Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov (1951; State Prize of the USSR, 1952), Dan’ke-vich’s Bogdan Khmel’nitskii (1953), Dvor̆ák’s The Mermaid (under the title Mermaid’s Love, USSR première, 1954), and Lysen-ko’s Taras Bulba (1956). Outstanding ballet performances of this period included Dan’kevich’s Lileia (1946), Nakhabin’s Danko (1949) and Spring Tale (1952), Chulaki’s Youth (1951), Iarullin’s Shurale (1953), Lepin’s Laima (1954), and Prokofiev’s The Stone Flower (1962).

Turning to contemporary operatic works, the theater staged Karminskii’s The People of Bukovina (1957), lukhnovskaia’s Pavka Korchagin (1962), Klebanov’s Communist (1965), Iarovin-skii’s Lieutenant Schmidt (1970), Zhukovskii’s One Step From Love (1973) and Volga Ballad (opera-ballet, 1975), and Meitus’ The Young Guard (revised 1975). Contemporary ballets in the repertoire included Nakhabin’s Tavriia (1959) and Zhukovskii’s Song of Friendship (1961).

Among the most successful operatic productions of the early 1970’s were Khrennikov’s Into the Storm (1971) and Son-in-law Without Kin (1973), Paliashvili’s Daisi (1972), and Tchaikovsky’s The Sorceress (1974). The theater’s ballet company gave fine performances of Skorul’skii’s Forest Song (1970), Melikov’s Legend of Love (1971), and Gubarenko’s Don Juan (1972).

Over the years the theater’s productions have featured the outstanding singers A. Z. Levitskaia, I. L. Bronzov, B. V. Butkov, V. N. Budnevich, and T. N. Burtseva and the ballet soloists O. M. Shirai, N. V. Vinogradova, Ia. A. Dodin, O. A. Baikova, L. P. Kamyshnikova, E. I. Barannik, and V. I. Gudimenko. The theater has been well served by the conductors E. V. Dushchenko, I. A. Zak, A. A. Liudmilin, L. F. Khudolei, and I. S. Shtei-man, the directors M. V. Avakh, Iu. I. Ivanov, L. N. Kukolev, Iu. N. Lekov, and V. M. Skliarenko”, the choreographers M. V. Arnaudova, V. V. Boichenko, N. V. Danilova, I. K. Kovtunov, N. N. Koriagin, V. K. Litvinenko, V. N. Nikitin, A. I. Pantykin, and M. L. Satunovskii, and the stage designers I. S. Nazarov and D. P. Ovcharenko.

In 1977 the theater’s leading singers were People’s Artists of the USSR N. F. Manoilo and E. I. Chervoniuk, People’s Artists of the Ukrainian SSR V. F. Arkanova and L. V. Popova, and Honored Artist of the Ukrainian SSR L. B. Sergienko. Its ballet soloists included People’s Artists of the Ukrainian SSR S. I. Kolyvanova and T. K. Popesku. The principal conductor was Honored Art Worker of the Ukrainian SSR A. V. Kalabukhin: the principal director, Honored Artist of the Ukrainian SSR V. A. Lukashev; the principal choreographer, M. M. Gaziev; the principal chorus director, Honored Art Worker of the Ukrainian SSR E. A. Konopleva; and the principal stage designer, People’s Artist of the Ukrainian SSR L. S. Bratchenko.

The theater building, constructed in 1856 and restored in 1945, seats 1,191 persons. The theater was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor in 1960.


Myloslavs’kyi, K., P. Ivanovs’kyi, and H. Shtol’. Kharkiys’kyi derzhavnvi akademichnyi teatr operv la baletu im. M. V. Lysenka. Kiev, 1965.
Stanishevs’kyi, Iu. “Tradytsii i novatorstvo: Kharkivs’kii operi—40 rokiv.” Prapor, 1965, no. 11.
Chepalov, A. “Zolotoi iubilei Khar’kovskoi operi.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1976, no. 4.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.