Odessa Opera House is one of the most remarkable point of interest in Ukraine. At the same time, Opera theater is a heart of Odessa and its main attraction. In any time of the year, one can visit the theater and enjoy opera or ballet performances. The Opera located at the beginning of Rishelievskaya street – tourist area of old city.
Odessa Opera House – history
First opera house in Odessa appeared in 1809. The young, quickly developing city, constructed opera building for being a cultural center of region. Having totally different architecture forms, first opera house was in the same place as modern one. Having served more than 60 years, the first opera theater burned by accident. Right after this event, city government started to decide, what to build instead of losted one.
Modern Odessa opera and ballet theater appeared in 1887. The main aim was to create big, modern and safe theater for needs of contemporary city. That’s why city proclaimed competition for the best opera house project. As a result, 30 projects took part in competition, but none of them didn’t get first place. Afterwards, separate design created austrians architects and the jury gave him preference.
Architects and architecture
Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer were the architects, who designed Odessa Opera House. In their firm worked more than 20 architects and the main directions of their work was development projects of theaters, banks, hotels and other elite buildings. According to their projects were built about 200 buildings in Europe, that include architectural styles of Italian Renaissance, Baroque and Art Nouveau. In addition, Fellner and Helmer built 48 theaters throughout Europe. Two of them are in Ukraine.
Constantly experimenting and improving the design of theaters, the architects have made the construction process cheaper. Therefore, in whatever competition for the construction of theater they took part, they always won. The company Fellner and Helmer did not create standard projects, each theater was unique and unrepeatable. Therefore, you will not find another identical theater.
Facade of opera theater looks at Rishelievskaya street, as it used to be main street. The entrance portal decorated by sculptures, which represent greek mythology and theater art. According to the fashion of late 19 century, all the building designed in austria baroque with some details of classicism. That’s why opera looks festive and magnificent in any weather.
Everything in the Odessa Opera and Ballet theatre made in order to feel fullness of feelings from contact with the art. Main hall designed to impress visitors with luxury and splendor. This impression creating late french rococo, smartly chosen for a main decoration. Because all walls covered by various stucco ornaments with fine gilding, the visitor find himself in a world of light, softened by red tones of seating places.
Сeiling of main hall painted by famous austrian painter Heinrich Lefler, who was book and scene decorator. The plots of four ceiling paintings not chosen randomly. They represent episodes from William Shakespeare works: “Hamlet”, “Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “Winter’s Tale” and “As You Like It”. As you can see, all opera house decor has connection to theater and opera art.
Repertoire of Odessa opera
Сurrent repertoire for 2020 you can look at the official website. Repertoire of Odessa Opera and Ballet theater includes performances by Gioacchino Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini, Domenico Cimarosa, Gaetano Donizetti, Giuseppe Verdi. The Odessa audience applauded Catherine Amatti, Arrighi and Angelica Catalani, Giuseppe Marini, Catherine Patti-Barilli, Josephine and Teresina Brombilla, Ponti del Armi, Alde Bianchi.
The great theater director Konstantin Stanislavsky said: “Never forget that the theater does not live with splendor of lights, luxury of scenery and costumes, spectacular mise en scene, but the ideas of a playwright.” Beginning in the 1820s, the famous opera singers, troupes of the imperial and royal theaters performed on this stage. Drama and comedy also often were on stage, the names of outstanding actors and playwrights constantly were on the posters. Ballet divertissements in operas and ballets appeared in the repertoire a little later.
Among the repertoire of Odessa opera house today are: “Giselle” by Adolphe Adam, “Sleeping Beauty” by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, “The Nutcracker” by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, “Don Quixote” by Ludwig Minkus, “Chopiniana” by Frédéric Chopin, “Masquerade”, “Carmen Suite” by Georges Bizet ect. Ballet dancers toured in Canada, Japan , Vietnam, Ceylon, China, Hungary, Bulgaria, Finland, South Korea, Italy, Spain and Portugal.
How to find Odessa opera house tours?
- First. We have special little tour inside Odessa Opera house, which totally devoted to this amazing building and its history. You will get inside the theater, know lot of interesting facts about building and construction, observe main hall and parade stairs. Also there is small museum with interesting artifacts.
- Second. Every Odessa tour includes opera house in program. During sightseeing tour you will see Opera House from outside and hear many unusual information about the building and couple of secrets. Check out the list of city tours in Odessa.
- Third. If you want just observe the building without guide, the easiest way to visit opera house is to watch opera or ballet performance. Since Odessa opera works throughout the year, you need only to buy a ticket and enjoy the beauty of this theater. To buy ticket you can in theater itself.
Odessa Opera facts
- Personalities. In 1847 Franz Liszt gave six solo concerts in Odessa and also took part in several charity evenings. It was the first time Liszt played solo in Russian empire. Concert-tour of 1847 was farewell-tour of a great musician.
- Architecture. Considering the fact that general sculpture decor of the opera building devoted to greek mythology, but there is exception. On a facade, one can notice four bust devoted to famous russian people: Alexander Pushkin – poet, Mikhail Glinka – composer, Alexander Griboedov – playwright and Nikolai Gogol – writer.
- Secrets. Few people know, but there is an organ in Odessa Opera House. It is impossible to see, because organ embedded inside. During the concert, you do not see an organist, but you hear a sound coming from special sound channels.
- World War 2. In 1941, during the Second World War, command staff put the special anti-aircraft unit on the roofs of buildings around Opera theater. Their strategic objective was to protect the theater building from enemy bombing. Preserving the theater was an important task, no less than defending the city.
Famous people about Odessa Opera House
- Feodor Chaliapin. One can add to this that beauty of theater determined not only by beauty of building, its technical characteristics, but above all by artists, collective performing in it. In this respect Odessa Opera House was lucky. Famous russian opera-singer Feodor Ivanovich Chaliapin sang on a stage of the theatre. He recalled: “I never left Odessa theater. I always met the grateful public. Singing in such a theater is a pleasure. “
- Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Pyotr Ilyich came to Odessa twice: in 1887 and in 1893 – in the last year of his life. Great composer wrote to his relatives: “They think about me here, like I’m some great man, almost a savior of his fatherland.” For two weeks Tchaikovsky gave a number of concerts in Odessa.
Places to visit around
Around Odessa opera and ballet theatre there are many tourist places: restaurants, cafes, museums, a beautiful theater square with a fountain – where tourists like to do foto. In the evening, 46 spotlights provide illumination of the falling jets of fountain. Every day near the fountain more than 200 people make a photo. Every week more than 1000 coins of various denominations and origin are taken from the fountain bowl. Once a year Opera House becomes the venue of Odessa International Film Festival.