Odessa National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet started its existence from the first days of the city's foundation. The Opera & Ballet Theatre of Odessa is recognized as the elder institution among a great number of cultural institutions. Odessa Opera House was built in 1809. It took 5 years to built Odessa Opera House. In February 1810 the first opera was staged: the Russian troupe by Fortunatov staged a one-act opera "A New Family" by Fralih and a "A Consolating Widow", vaudeville. Odessa Opera House existed till 1873: in 1873 an old building of Odessa Opera House was completely burnt - the restoration was out of the question. Once old theatre was burnt it was suggested to built new one on the same place. It was decided to draw up a draft of a new city theatre to Vienna architects F. Felner Y. Helmer. Construction of the new Opera House started and took about 11 years. The construction of new Opera House was finished in 1887.
The building of Odessa Opera and Ballet House was fulfilled in the style of Vienna "baroque" (it was designed in accordance to projects of Vienna architects F. Felner Y. Helmer), which was the main in the European art from the end of the 16th century up to the middle of the 18th century. There is a sculptural group over the front, portraying one of the muse Melpomena (a patroness of art): she is sitting in the chariot, harnessed by the four furious panthers, which were subdued her. A bit lower there are sculptural groups of subjects from the ancient mythology. At the bottom, near the central entrance, on the high pedestals, two sculptural groups are presented, personifying Comedy and Tragedy: on the left - a fragment from the tragedy by Evripid "Ippolit", on the right - an episode from the comedy by Aristophane: "The Birds".
The hall of Odessa Opera and Ballet Theatre is the most beautiful part of the building. Its architecture is maintained in "rococo" style. The ceiling is of a special interest: four pictures by Lefler in the form of a locket (medallion) are in its basis. The scenes from the works by Syakespeare: "Hamlet", "The Winter Fairytale", "A Dream in the Summer Night" & "As You Like It", are depicted. Multiple lampions, candelabrums and bronze ornamented inlays are originally and inventively made. The curtain, outlined by the prominent theatrical painter – Golovin deserves special attention. The area of the stage is 500 sq.m. The unique acoustics system allows delivering even a whisper from the stage to any part of the hall.
The Theatre itself is interesting not only by us architecture, but by its rich creative biography. The great merit in the development of musical culture in the south of our country belongs, to this theatre. P.Tchaikovsky, S.Rachmaninoff, N.Rimsky-Korsakov, Ezhen Izai, Pablo Sarasate and others performed their works. Great singers: Fyodor Shalyapin, Solomiya Grushelnitskaya, Leonid Sobinov, Antonina Nezhdanova acted in Odessa Opera House. Tito Ruffo, Batistini, Jeraldoni sang here, Anna Pavlova, the first world ballet dancer, had been dancing here. In 1926 the theatre was awarded the title of "Academic". The theatre ballet group consists of 50 people.
"Jizelle", "Sleeping Beauty", "Nut-Cracker", "Don Quihote", "Chopiniana", "Un Ballo in Maschera", "Hunchback Horse", "Carmen-Suite" are in the repertoire of the theatre. The ballet dancers were touring in Canada, Japan, Vietnam, Ceylon, China, Hungary, Bulgaria, Finland, South Korea, Italy, Spain and Portugal - with Maya Plisetskaya and in Indonesia, Switzerland, Sweden and other countries. The opera singers troupe consists of 40 people. They are National artists of Ukraine, Laureates of International Contests. There are 25 operas, such as "Carmen", "Aida", "Il Trovatore", "La Traviata", "Cavaleria Rusticana", "I Pagliacci", "Iolanta", "Madam Batterfly", Rigoletto", and jthers are in the repertoire of theatre. The theatre opera singers were appearing on the stages of Spain, Italy, France, Finland, Japan, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Belgium, Greece and the individual opera soloists - practically in all the countries of the world.
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