In the building of the People’s Troitskyi House in 1907 the first stationary Ukrainian theatre was founded by M. Sadovskyi. The corypheuses who were working in the theatre since its foundation are the outstanding figures not only in the theatrical, but also in the political public sphere, who were working in the name of the foundation of Ukrainian national consciousness- Mariia Zankovetska, Marko Kropyvnytskyi, Panas Saksahanskyi, Mykola Sadovskyi and others. It was in the Kiev Operetta that in due time the premiere of the play “Natalka Poltavka” by the outstanding Ukrainian composer Mykola Lysenko took place.
The birth of the Kiev Operetta Theater is marked by two dates – January 13, 1934 and December 14, 1935.
1934, January 13 the stationary theatre of musical comedy under the direction of V. Benedyktov was opened (actors: N. Rodoshalskyi, R. Robertov, T. Yudina, L. Ohariov, A. Astakhov, Yu. Adynska; choreographer- S. Tomilin and others).
1935, December 14 the premiere- “The Bat” by J.Strauss- took place, and the performance “The Bird Seller” by K. Tseller, put up in the Ukrainian language for the first time, was staged soon.
Respecting the achievements of the classical operetta heritage is chosen to be the main principle of the collective creative life. These principles kept on determining the brave artistic searches of the founders of the capital’s collective.
In the days of the War the Kyiv Operetta Theatre was evacuated to Kazakhstan. Two theatre seasons of working in Almaty promoted the consolidation of the close creative relations between the artists of Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Russia. In spring of 1944 the musical comedy came back home after the evacuation.
During the 50s-60s years of the 20th century many talented young people came to the theatre. Later they will become acknowledgeable maestros: D. Shevtsov, O. Mykhailov, K. Mamykin, V. Borysenko and others.
The period of the 70s-90s years of the 20th century is marked by new bright events in the Kyiv Operetta creative life. The names of the distinguished directors, band masters, playwriters and composers of the second half of the 20th century such as V. Begma, V. Shulakov, S. Smiian, D. Shevtsov, B. Sharvark, Yu. Rybchynskyi, V. Lukashov, and many others are connected with it. The theatre repertoire was filled by the performances of absolutely different genres and themes: “Three Musketeers” by M. Dunaievskyi, “Comrade Love” by V.Ilin, “Montmartre Violet”, “The Princess of the Circus”, “Silva”, “Die Bajadere” by Imre Kalman, “Sevastopol Waltz” by K. Listov , “Kadryl” by V. Grokhovsky, “Star Time”, “One Hundred First Sultan’s Wife” by A. Filipenko.
In the 90s such respected scene maestros, the honoured artists of Ukraine as T. Tymoshko- Horiushko, L. Makovetska, S. Pavlinov, V. Chemena, V. Alioshyna- Kostiukova, O. Trofymchuk, O. Kravchenko, V. Bohomaz, the director S. Smiian, the chief choreographer O. Sehal are the treasure and the pride of the Operetta Theatre company. Behind their back there is the incredibly interesting scenic experience filled with diverse colours.
Since 2003 the Kyiv Operetta Theatre has been headed by the art director and headmaster the Distinguished Man of Art of Ukraine B. Strutynskyi. The director’s destiny was to open a new page in the history of the creative company. During a short period of time under the guidance of the young director the Kyiv Operetta went through fundamental changes. Foremost this is connected with the renewal of the creative company and successful classical and modern productions. The new art director opened a new page in the history of the creative company. Despite the inertia of the stereotypes, the director introduced the extraordinary events boldly, invited youth and provided a supportive environment for creative self- realization. The last theatrical seasons for the operetta were marked by significant changes and positive shifts in creative life. “Time requires of the theater to surprise the audience by a modern look at old things each and every time,” Bohdan Strutynskyi claims.
On the Operetta stage kids’ musical performances started to appear- “The carnival of Fairy Tales in Ukraine”, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” by V.Domshynskyi (director B. Strutynskyi), “Tommelise” by G. Kudinova (director O. Andriienko). The best actors of the theatre, the energy and sincerity of which create a tender and charming atmosphere that children need very much, are involved in the kids’ performances. In 2003 one of the best world operettas “The Bat” by J. Strauss was renewed (the director is T. Tymoshko- Horiushko).
In 2004 a new title of the Kyiv Academic Operetta Theatre was given to the theatre.
The opening of the chamber scene “Theatre in the Crush-room” on the eve of the 70th theatre anniversary is the big achievement of the theatre. In October, 2004 upon an initiative and at the production of Bohdan Dmytrovych the chamber scene was opened in the Operetta Theatre with the performance “A Dinner Party with Italians” by J. Offenbach. This event begins the series of creative experiments, as “Theatre in the Crush-room” was intented as a searching workshop for creative self-realization of actors and directors. In 2006 the premiere “Coffee Cantata” by S. Bach, whose “joky” music was the opening for both theatregoers and music fans, took place on the “Theatre in the Crush-room” stage. In 2009 B. Strutynskyi crested this trine on the small stage by the premiere of the comic operetta “The Key on the Roadway or the Adventures of a Wedding Night” by J. Offenbach.
In 2005 the premiere of the musical “My Fair Lady” by F. Loewe, which certified that this genre had a high potential and stayed one of the most favourite ones among the spectators, took place. And when together with the older generation of experienced actors a young talented group consisted of I. Bespalova- Prymak, H. Hrehorchak, H. Dovbnia, H. Koval, N. Krasovska, V. Odrynskyi, L. Sahat, A. Sereda- Holdun, H.Titova, O. Tkachova, O. Chuvpylo is working in the theatre, each performance is treated as a real holiday.
2007 р. відбулася прем’єра вистави «Містер Ікс» у постановці Богдана Струтинського. Вперше на території пострадянського простору герої знаменитої оперети заговорили та заспівали українською мовою. Виконавцями головних ролей – Містера Ікс і Теодори – стали солісти театру, лауреати міжнародних конкурсів з. а. України Сергій Авдєєв, з. а. України Олена Ширяєва та з. а. України Єлизавета Гаврилюк.
In 2007 the premiere of the performance “Mister X.” in the production of Bohdan Strutynskyi took place. For the first time in the former Soviet Union territory the characters of the famous operetta started speaking and singing in the Ukrainian language. The theatre soloists, the laureats of the international contests the distinguished artist of Ukraine Serhii Avdeiev, the distinguished artist of Ukraine Olena Shyriaieva and the distinguished artist of Ukraine Yelyzaveta Havruliuk became the leading people- Mister X and Theodora.
The premiere of the Ukrainian operetta “Sorochynskyi Fair” by O. Riabov (production director B. Strutynskyi), which got the theatrical award “Kyiv Pektoral” “for the most musical performance”, became a remarkable event in the life of the theatre.
In December 2009 the Kyiv Academic Operetta Theatre celebrated its 75th anniversary and got the National status for a big contribute to the national spiritual renaissance and a high level of creative activity. However, neither the considerate age of the theatre, nor the high recognition of the achievements of the company did not affect the relevance, wit and romantic elevation of its versatile performances. Besides “Theater in the Crush-room,” on the National Operetta’s billboards there appeared one more performance venue- “Music Room”, where chamber vocal and instrumental evenings took place – “Romance Evening”, “A Touch to the Genius’ Heart” to the 200th anniversary of the birth of F Chopin, “Bach is in Every Music, God is in Everyone” to the International Music Day.
These days the Operetta Theatre sets itself up as a universal theatre. Classical operettas and modern and classical musicals are performed on the Kyiv Operetta stage successfully, various concert programs (show programs, symphonic orchestra concerts, opera and ballet concerts) are widely represented, different creative experiments are implemented boldly.
The Kyiv Operetta is planning to keep on developing its creative potential and surprise its spectator with new versatile productions, extraordinary decisions and compulsorily the performances of the highest quality! The 76th theatrical season has presented new meetings with the charming art world to the operetta lovers. Each creative work of B.D. Strutynskyi as a director is a self-sufficient artistic space organized in accordance with its own laws of being. The spectacular examples of this are the operetta “Ball at the Savoy” by P.Abraham, whose premiere took place on October 22, 2010 with a great success, and the modern romantic musical “Welcome to Ukraine, or A Journey to Love” by B.Strutynskyi’s own libretto to the music of Ukrainian composers which premiere was greeted by the audience on March 25, 2011 with delight.
At the same time the Kyiv National Operetta is carrying on touring business both throughout Ukraine and beyond its borders- the spectators in Chernivtsy, Lvov, Ivano- Frankivsk, Cherkasy, Chernigiv and Donetsk applauded to the best performances of the company. The theatre took part in the theatrical fests in Romania, Serbia and Lithuania many times.
In October 2010 on the 5th Regional Festival of Comedy “Bukovyna Golden Applause” in Chernivtsy the Kyiv National Academic Operetta Theatre got two main honorary certificates- “For the Best Musical Performance” and “For the Best Role Performance (H.Hrehorchak)” for the one acted operetta “A Dinner Party with Italians” by J. Offenbach.
In the autumn of 2011 within the frame of the celebration of the 20th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Ukraine and the Republic of Lithuania a large-scale international project took place- two joint gala concerts featuring leading soloists, choir, ballet and orchestra of Kaunas State Music Theater and Kyiv National Operetta Theater – October 22 in Kaunas (Lithuania) and December 2 in Kiev, which became spectacular celebrations of music and dance. The spectators saw young and remarkably talented soloists of two theaters that impressed the audience with strong voices and high vocal culture.
November 19, 2011 in Bucharest (Romania) within the frame of the 4th International Festival of Musical Performing Arts «Viata e frumoasa» ( «Life is beautiful!”) Kyiv National Academic Operetta Theatre presented foreign spectators the operetta “Ball at the Savoy” by P. Abraham, which was named the best performance in the history of the festival unanimously, and which the audience even bought standing room on in order to see this show. And for the first time the Ukrainian stage director, the art director of the Kyiv National Academic Operetta Theatre, the distinguished artist of Ukraine B. Strutynskyi was invited to become the codirector of the grand Gala-concert devoted to the festival opening.
In the end of the year December 17 the premiere of the operetta “Chasing Two Hares” byV. Ilin and V.Lukashov, inspired by the cognominal comedy M. Starytskyi (the scenic edit and production of B. Strutynskyi), which rings the bell with the audience and differs by the production originality and the brightness of scenic and directing decision, took place.
In June 2012 the inhabitants of Kyiv saw the new interpretation of the most famous operetta “The Gypsy Baron” by J.Strauss.
For the first time the operetta “The Gypsy Baron” saw the light in 1885 from the stage of the Viennese Theater an der Wien. And since then the triumphant pageantry began with the capitals of the world – “The Gypsy Baron” took seats on the call board of the best opera theaters of Europe. Times and generations changed, war and revolution roared, countries changed boundaries and names, and the performance did not go away from theatrical stages. “The Gypsy Baron” appearing on the stage of the Kiev Operetta is not a coincidence, as due to the complexity and richness of music this operetta has become the differential peculiarity of the theatre repertoire, which has inexhaustible creative potential and technical capabilities.
The music by Johann Strauss and the libretto by Ignaz Schnitzer, written inspired by the novella “Saffi” by Mor Jokai, are used in the production. Besides, the “Czardas” by Vittorio Monti, the gypsy folk song “Malyarka” in mastering of the chief chapel master Ihor Yaroshenko and the gypsy folk dance in mastering of the orchestra soloist Oleksandr Korsh sound in the performance.
What is more, the production makers use new technologies – a range of special effects which are achieved with the help of multimedia and spatial play of scenery. The show features the items with acrobatics, a drum defile and a live horse on the stage. A separate direction was the Gypsy authentica: Gypsy folk music and a stylized marriage ritual of water purification which includes a genuine 100-year-old Gypsy handkerchief from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Bohdan Strutynskyi, the distinguished man of art of Ukraine: “It is always necessary to do courageous things that would break stereotypes. “The Gypsy Baron” should be the exceptional art event. I will also admit that a spectator will hear the production in the Ukrainian language. It is necessary to strive for making the theatre exemplary, for it to be fascinated by. The cathexis is the most important thing. It goes without saying that we are searching for the new facets of the interpretation of classical works. The social life conditions are changing, technical progress is increasing, but the human soul, believe me, does not change, it is concerned about the same true feelings as the souls of predecessors. “
In November of the same year it was the operetta “The Gypsy Baron” which the Kyiv National Academic Operetta Theatre represented Ukraine successfully at the 5th Performing Arts International Music Fest “Viata e frumoasa!” which was traditionally held in Bucharest National Operetta Theatre “Ion Dacian”.
“The European audience was waiting for the National Operetta performance impatiently, as the memories about the last year triumph with the operetta “Ball at the Savoy” had not been gone away yet.” But the spectators were waiting for “The Gypsy Baron” with the same impatience, as this was one of the favourite operettas of the European audience who was always treating new work productions with a great interest. We impressed the audience, critics, experts by our vision of a classical European performance – the house was giving a standing ovation. It is very pleasant when the work which you put your heart into is liked by such a great number of people”, the production director, the art director of the National Operetta, the distinguished man of arts Bohdan Strutynskyi said.
And November 30, 2012 on the occasion of Romania National Day the second in Ukraine gala concert cooperative with the Bucharest National Operetta Theatre “Ion Dacian” was held on the stage of the Ukrainian National Academic Operetta Theatre.
On New Year’s Eve, December 29, 2012, the National Operetta invited on the unique project- “Strauss concert” which the music of the Waltz King Johann Strauss and his family, which had not been played in Ukraine yet, was played in.
On May 15 during the celebrations on the occasion of All-Ukrainian Day of Cultural Workers and Folk Art Masters on behalf of the City Mayor Oleksandr Popov the Kyiv City State Administration awarded the Art director of the Ukraine National Operetta, the distinguished man of arts of Ukraine Bohdan Strutynskyi by the Honorary certificate “For strong personal contribution in the national culture development and complete professionalism.”
On May 17, 2013 the Kyiv National Academic Operetta Theatre opened the 9th International Theatrical Fest “Classical Music Today” (Dniprodzerzhinsk) with the bright and fiery opera-bouffe “A Dinner Party with Italians” by J.Offenbach. The international jury comprising leading theatre cognoscentes, directors and actors highly appreciated the mastership of artists play. As a result of this, the soloist- singer of the Kyiv National Operetta Theatre Halyna Hrehorchak- Odrynska won the nomination “The Best Women’s Role”.
On June 8 and June 9 initiated by Bohdan Strutynskyi for the first time in Ukraine the event of a global scale the International Music Fest “O-FEST” 2013 /Operetta- Musical-Opera/ took place!
The musical- theatrical project, founded by the Kyiv National Academic Operetta Theatre, united the classical and “open- air” format harmoniously. The main program of the fest features the operetta, musical and opera performed by the fest participants, and numerous performances of the fest guests also feature jazz, folk, pop music, modern poetry, sound-installations and a great number of innovations. The artists- singers from Ukraine, Russia, Austria, France, Romania, Lithuania, Poland, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran and many others took part in the fest. Among them there are world known stars- the Viennese Opera soloist Lena Belkina, the Mariinskyi Theatre soloist, the BBC International Contest finalist, “the World’s Singer” Andrii Bondarenko, the Pavarotti Contest First Award laureate Oleksii Saiapin and others.
The fest organizers are the Kyiv National Academic Operetta Theatre, the Bucha City Council.
Bohdan Strutynskyi, the distinguished man of art of Ukraine, says: “The holding of the Fest in Ukraine is a peculiar challenge. By combining the leading musical- theatrical genres on one stage such as operetta, musical and opera performed by famous artists from different parts of the world we made several decisive steps to Europe at one stroke. There a good tradition has been supported for a long period of time – summer theaters and music festivals. In Ukraine such an interactive form of sharing experiences, talents and emotions has the right to life undoubtedly. And “O-Fest” is an eloquent evidence of this.”
At the end of the theatrical season kaleidoscopic and bright events changed one another: the First International Opera, Operetta and Musical Arts Festival “O-Fest”, having just been founded by the theatre, followed by a new premiere – Cole Porter’s musical “Kiss me, Kate!” Each year the operetta theater presents an unusual, spectacular show of the new performance. The magic music performed by the symphony orchestra, amazing choreographic decisions, thoughtful, detailed directing are the signs that have become characteristic features of theater productions under the guidance of the distinguished man of arts of Ukraine Bohdan Strutynskyi.
The premieres of the last seasons were the prominent events in Kyiv theatrical life. Both the spectators, and theatrical critics understood that the Operetta Theatre offered new forms of musical theatre. The theatre cognoscentes, theatrical critics stated the complication of directing tasks, the growth of the artists’ professional level, and most importantly – the harmony and clarity of the productions created by orchestral music, choral and vocal singing, choreography and dramatic stories. In general, the Operetta Theater gained favour for the fact that it loved and could surprise everyone.
The days of the premiere of the musical “Kiss Me, Kate” June 14, 15 and 20 passed under the “Full House” slogan in the National Operetta of Ukraine. The full house of spectators gathered for the original Ukrainian translation of the most famous Broadway musical “Kiss me, Kate!” by the legendary American composer Cole Porter. It is an interesting and enthralling process to watch the rocky relations of the ex-spouses and at the same time the colleagues on the stage: scandalous actress Lille Vanessa and no less blasting director and actor Freddie Graham. After all, according to the plot, despite constant reproaches and arguments, it is necessary for these two people to play the premiere performance “The Taming of the Shrew” according to Shakespeare in the musical genre well. According to the spectators, who managed to be the first to get to the National Operetta on the musical, the performance is not alike any other, it is extremely bright and playful, a stormy whirl of activities captures in the very first seconds and does not let go to the final chord. Leading persons managed to transform into their scenic heroes utterly and completely. After all, they, largely, were playing themselves in the musical.
Additional powerful acoustic amplifiers, 30 new over delicate radio microphones, complex 8-metres-high theatricals-transformers – the National Operetta uses modern powerful technical capabilities especially for this musical. The musical is incredibly complex both in stage and in technical terms. The performance involves spatial transformation as much as possible, complex theatricals are changing right before the spectators’ eyes, and the latter are becoming direct witnesses of the real off-stage life of the theater. The famous Lithuanian artist Vilma Galjakcaite-Dabkiene, who was working with the best directors – Rimas Tuminas and Eimuntas Nekrosius, created the theatricals and costumes for “Kiss me, Kate!”
The 78th theatrical season in the Kyiv National Academic Theatre was over by the Grand Final Gala-Concert, but , according to the theatre art director, there is no time to relax. And in July the creative company of the theatre, led by the art director Bohdan Strutynskyi, presented the country at the international operetta festival “Zilele Monteorului” that took place in Sarata Monteoru (Romania), within the frame of which “Traditional Ukrainian night” was held, which was greatly admired by the public. The National Operetta was the only foreign delegation, which was personally invited by one of the co-organizers of the festival, a longtime friend and partner – National Operetta Theater “Ion Dacian” (Bucharest, Romania). The program of the festive cultural event, which lasted two days, included various art events – from parades to gala concerts.
On International Music Day October 1, 2013 the Ivan Kozlovskyi Art-Concert Centre of the Ukraine National Operetta opened its first season grandly (50 Khreshchatyk Street). The inhabitants of Kyiv and the guests of the city were waiting for the premiere of the musical performance “Ivan Kozlovskyi- belief, hope and love…”. The Ivan Kozlovskyi Art- Concert Centre is one more creative laboratory of the Operetta Theatre which was opened on June 9, 2013 within the frame of the program of the First International Music Fest “O- FEST 2013” and the core activity of which was unfolding around the opera genre. As Ivan Semenovych Kozlovskyi, first of all, is the outstanding tenor of the 20th century, opera and chamber singer.
The art director of the National Operetta, the distinguished man of art of Ukraine Bohdan Strutynskyi notes: “The Ivan Kozlovskyi Centre will be developing and functioning as the establishment where operas are staged, the contests and festivals of this genre are held. However, there will be some place for everything creative and talented. We won’t be limited to only one direction in our work and the diversity of the theatre repertoire palette testifies this.”
From now on in the Art-Concert Centre in the very heart of the capital operas will sound, the musical performances will be staged and concerts and master-classes will be held. Literary and poetic evenings, conferences, trainings, vernissages, benefit performances, forums and other cultural events are on the establishment repertoire. In the nearest time after the reconstruction of the building lower storey another house is planned to be opened, where the opera club as well as chamber opera stage will be created.
From October 23 to October 31, 2013, the National Operetta of Ukraine, led by Bohdan Strutynskyi, took part in the 9th Regional Comedy Festival “Golden applause of Bukovyna” (Chernivtsi) for the fourth time. The theatre artists showed a famous musical “Such Jewish happiness” by I.Poklad about laughter and tears, loyalty and betrayal, hypocrisy and courage to the Bukovynian spectator. And all this was done with a unique coloring of the famous Odessa yards. The play received accolades, the sea of ovations and a great tornado of applause. A bright, dynamic and vital musical called out positive emotions and gave unforgettable impressions. And the Honoured Artist of Ukraine Tamara Tymoshko-Horyushko got the grand prize in the nomination “The Best Female Lead” for the Baba Mania role.
In December, 2013 the premiere of the operetta “Mademoiselle Nitouche” by F.Herve in the production of B. Strutynskyi took place successfully. The plot of the work is known to the spectator from the legendary screen musical “Heavenly Swallows” by Leonid Kvinihidze. The Soviet movie with A.Mironov and L.Hurchenko came out in 70s with a great success, and the French motion picture “Mademoiselle Nitouche” with Louis de Funes came out even earlier.
To 2014 International Theatre Day the Ukraine National Operetta presented one more experiment- the ballet “Carmen Suite” to the music of G. Bizet. This is the bright and original “Carmen” reading, which the ballet classics, contemporary and flamenco are united in. The final edge of the performance is that the Kyiv Carmen stays… alive.
In summer 2014 the theatre gladdened its admirers by the production of the famous musical “Truffaldino from Bergamo” by Oleksandr Kolker. Specially for the Kyiv production the original translation of the play by Carl Goldoni was made. The famous composer came to the premiere personally from Saint Petersburg and, having seen the wonderful reading of the work by the director B. Strutynskyi and choreographer V. Prokopenko, the costumes of extraordinary beauty by I. Davydenko, the masterful acting, said that “The Ukraine National Operetta is the theatre of future.”
In 2014 the 2nd International Music Fest “O-FEST” where more than 10 countries were represented, including not only the CIS, Baltic and West European states, but also the Far East ones.
The Operetta gives much attention to the upbringing of the young spectator’s aesthetic beauty. Such musical fairytales for children as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Cipollino” by V. Domshynskyi, “Aladdin and the Magic Land” by S. Bedusenko, “The Bremen Town Musicians” by H.Hladkov are on the theatre repertoire. The musical “Treasure Island” by V. Bystriakov, the libretto to which Davyd Cherkasskyi and Arkadii Hartsman wrote inspired by the famous cartoon especially for the National Operetta, has become the last premiere.
Today the National Operetta sets itself up as the universal theatre, where a classical operetta, contemporary and classic musicals are on successfully, various concert programs are widely represented, diverse creative experiments and fulfilled. This is a full scale and polyfunctional musical theatre with clear- cut development strategy, which is constantly broadening the mind of its company and spectators, adopting absolutely different styles and directions, inviting the artists from other theatres and countries, is constantly searching new big ideas. As a contemporary achievement- oriented theatre should move ahead of the audience tastes, promote new aesthetic priorities, acquainting a spectator with the best achievements of the world musical theatre. And today this lets the theatre to set itself up in the international level, go on overseas tours and festivals, feeling in the European context.
Taking into consideration the idea of the official slogan of the theatre “The Kyiv National Academic Operetta theatre is a STEP TO A HOLIDAY!”, the creative company is trying to give the feeling of true happiness to its spectators.
Kyiv National Academic Operetta Theatre is the only one in Ukraine!
Kyiv National Academic Operetta Theatre is a step to a holiday!