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Theatres and concert halls

The elements of the theatrical and musical arts have been known in Kyiv since the Old Rus times. The witness to this is, for example, the 11th-century fresco "Musicians" in St. Sophia Cathedral. It presents the actors playing various musical instru-ments: organs, kettle-drums, trumpets, etc. The 12th-century bracelets bear representations of a psaltery player. Well-known is a school drama of the 17th - 18th centuries performed by the pupils of the Kyiv's Brotherhood and Lavra schools, Kyiv Mohyla Academy. In the late 18th century there were performances in one of the wings of the Mariinsky Palace. Other premises, among them the Contract House in Podil, were also used for perfor-mances. Since that time and during the 19th century numerous professional companies, including the Russian, Polish and Italian ones, have toured in Kyiv. In the 19th century the professional Ukrainian theatre came into being.

In the early 19th century a building of the first City's theatre was erected in Khreshchatyk, and after its destruction, in 1856, the second City's theatre was built. It was located on the site of the modem building of the National Opera of Ukraine. At that time its stage was used for dramatic, ballet and opera performances. The first opera performance "Askold's Grave" by 0. Verstovsky was held on 27 October 1867. The modern Neo-Renaissance building of the theatre was erected in 1898 - 1901 by Acade-mician of Architecture V. Nikolayev to the competition design of architect V. Schreter on the site of the building which burned down in 1896. Sculptor E. Sal took part in its decoration. In the 1980s the theatre was overhauled, restored and completed, its stage box height increased by 5 m and a new three-storeyed auxiliary building added. The contrivances applied to suit techni-cal and technological requirements did not affect an architectural aspect of the building. More than one generation of opera and bal-let performers, musicians, choreographers and artists famous far outside Ukraine have mastered within the precincts of the the-atre. Among soloists of the troupe were coryphaei of the Ukrainian art Z. Haidai, B. Hmyrya, M. Hryshko, M. Lytvynenko-Volgemut, I. Patorzhynsky, M. Donets, M. Donets-Tesseir, 0. Petrusenko and others. At one time the prominent artists such as F. Chalyapin, L. Sobinov, A. Nezhdanova, V. Barsova, I. Kozlovsky, S.Lemeshev, M. Battistini, T. Ruffo appeared on the theatre stage. Foreign masters of many countries of the world performed on tour here. The names of soloists of the Ope-ra and Ballet Theatre D. Hnatyuk, A. Solovyanenko, Ye. Miroshnychenko, G. Tsypola, M. Stefyuk, 0. Basistyuk, A. Mokrenko, V. Kalinovska, Ye. Potapova are well known far beyond the borders of Ukraine. Here worked conductors A. Pa-zovsky, N. Rakhlin, K. Symeonov, V. Vilinsky, 0. Koshyts, I. Al-tani, S. Turchak, A. Margulyan, producers M. Smolych, I. Molostova, artists A. Petrytsky, 0. Khvostenko-Khvostov, F. Nirod, ballet-masters P. Virsky, L. Zhukov, M. Moisyeyev, V. Vronsky, V. Verkhovynets, leader of the chorus M. Tarakanov and many other outstanding masters of art. The best performances of the world classics, including the Ukrainian one, were played on the stage of the theatre. Quite a number of talented plays were produced here.

The concert programs, as in the kaleidoscope, change one another in the "Ukraina" Palace, the biggest one in the country. The building with the hall seating 3780 and the stage accommodating up to 1500 performers was built in 1970. Thanks to the newest equipment and design it boasts favourable conditions for rest. Not only famous variety actors and actresses give their performances in the palace, but also illustrious national colletives such as the P. Virsky Dance Ensemble, the H. Veryovka Folk Choir, the Folk-Instruments Orchestra, the "Dumka" Chorus and others.
The Ukrainian National Drama Theatre named after I. Franko dates back to 1920. It came into being in Vinnitsa on the basis of the New Lviv Theatre and famous "Young Theatre" of Les Kurbas. Since 1926 it has been working in Kyiv, on the stage of the "Solovtsov" theatre - the most famous theatrical troupe of the turn of the 20th century for which, in 1898, a special Eclectic building was erected (architects H. Schleifer and E. Bradt-man). The interiors of the hall (seating 1200), staircases and foyers are lavishly decorated with the stucco mouldings, architectural details in the Baroque and Rococo style (architect V. Horodetsky). In the post-war construction the building's architecture was partly changed.

Founded in the years of the Civil War, the theatre passed a difficult way of cre-ative searches, and nowadays it is one of the leading artistic collectives.
In different days here worked such outstanding masters of stage as A. Buchma, A. Gashynsky, B. Dalsky, V. Dobrovolsky, M. Krushelnytsky, P. Kumachenko, 0. Kusenko, I. Maryanenko, N. Uzhvii, Yu. Shumsky and many others. They are followers and successors of the traditions of the coryphaei of the Ukrainian realistic theatre of the late 19th - early 20th cen-turies. The settings of the performances were designed by such masters of the theatrical-decorative art as A. Petrytsky, B. Erdman, M. Umansky, M. Drak, B. Meller, F. Nirod, the music was written by M. Verykivsky, K. Dankevych, Yu. Meitus, V. Rozhdestvensky, M. Skoryk.
Its repertoire includes the Ukrainian and foreign classical and modern plays. Today the threatre is proud of one of the best creative collectives in Ukraine.

In 1926 on the basis of the former "Solovtsov" theatre was created a new artistic collective - the Russian Drama Theatre - which since 1941 has taken the name of the Ukrainian literature classic and a poetess of genius Lesya Ukrainka. It works in the building, now considerably reconstructed, of the former theatre of Bergonye founded in 1868 by the Frenchman 0. Bergonye, who did build it in 1875 (architect V. Nikolayev).

Many of the theatre's productions have been notable events in the theatrical life of the capital of Ukraine. These are stagings of plays by O.Pushkin, L.Tol-stoi, O.Ostrovsky, O.Gorky, A.Chekhov, O.Tolstoi, Lesya Ukrainka, modem play-wrights. The theatre is also famous for wonderful actors and actresses that for dozens of years made a brilliant success on its stage. They are 0. Borysov, V. Dobro-volsky, L. Dobrzhanska, Yu. and K. Lavrovs, M. Romanov, Ye. Samoilov and others. K. Khokhlov, a disciple of K. Stanislavsky and V. Nemirovych-Danchenko, played first fiddle in the formation of the theatre.
Since 1966 the theatre has the title of the academic one.

The capital boasts a large variety of theatres to choose of. Every evening also open their doors the Musical Comedy Theatre, Young People's Theatre, Theatre of Drama and Comedy on the left-hand bank of the Dnipro, Theatre in Podil, Jewish Theatre "Mazltov", various expe-rimental studios, etc. The Young Spectator's Theatre in Lypky, Children's Musical Theatre and Puppet Theatre have their own admirers.

Classical music lovers have every opportunity to satisfy their refined tastes. They may go to the Conservatoire, Philharmonic Society, House of Organ Music, Refectory in Lavra, International Centre of Culture and Arts, Ukrainian House and others concert halls, each offer-ing its rich repertoire.