HISTORY OF LVIV OPERA HOUSE

Lviv Opera House, located in the very heart of the city, is the most distinctive and recognizable building of Lviv. It has always been in the center of historical and cultural life; experienced a change of four governments, has been renamed four times and it is printed on the 20 Hryvnia banknote.

Located in the heart of the historical center, Lviv Opera is one of the most beautiful and magnificent opera houses in Europe. When you look at the stunning facade, exquisite stucco molding, gilded interior, you can only imagine, how long and complicated its history is.

At the end of the 19th century, Lviv was the capital of Galicia province, which belonged to Austro-Hungarian Empire. Grand Theatre, as it was called, should have emphasized the greatness of the city and became the center of cultural life. The project was designed by one of the most prominent architects, Zygmunt Gorgolewski. Such ambitious building required an appropriate location. However, at that on a place of a modern Svobody Avenue there were a marshland of the submerged Poltava River. During the construction, a new innovative technology was used; thereby the river was enclosed underground.

The best architects, painters, sculptors worked on the construction of Lviv Opera House. The project was lead by Zygmunt Gorgolewski It. It was the first building in Europe where the concrete foundation had been used. It was also the first building in Lviv, which had electrical lighting, provided by Austrian company “Siemens”.

Lviv Opera House in XIX century
Lviv Opera House in XIX century

The construction lasted for 3 years, since 1897 till 1900. And on the 4th of October Grand Theatre was opened. The first staged opera was “Janek”, which told about the life of Carpathians.

A few years later the theater repertoire comprised of more than 40 operas and almost 50 operettas.

In the 1921 year the first ballet, “Swan Lake” by Tchaikovsky, was staged. The most prominent actors had performed in Lviv Opera House. It became one of the greatest theatres in Europe.

During 1934 – 1939 years the theatre was closed due to financial difficulties.

In 1939 Lviv Grand theatre had been renamed as Lviv National Theatre of Opera and Ballet.

In 1956 Lviv Opera House was named after Ivan Franko.

And finally in the 2000 year, during the centenarycelebration of the theatre, it was named after Solomiya Krushelnytska, a famous opera singer.

The Lviv Opera House is built in a Neo-Renaissance style, which combines the elements of Renaissance, Baroque and Classicism. The facade of the theatre is splendidly decorated with allegorical sculptures of muses, Corinthian columns, niches, balustrades.

On the top of the façade, you could see two allegoric bronze sculptural groups, which symbolize Drama, Comedy, and Music. In the center a sculpture of Glory with a palm branch is placed.

The interior is richly decorated with oil paintings, sculptures and molding. For internal gilding, a few kilograms of gold had been used. And the true masterpiece in Opera House is a curtain Parnassus (1900), painted by polish master Henryk Siemiradzki. It is used nowadays for the special occasions.

Today Lviv Opera House plays an important role in the city’s cultural life and is one of the favorite places for tourists to go. You can discover the beauty of the building and learn the most interesting facts and legends on a private guided Lviv Opera House tour.