The Kharkiv National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater named after M.V. Lysenko/Skhid Opera is an artistic team in which dedication to the best cultural traditions is organically synthesized with brave searches for the most modern forms of artistic expression.
It is this combination that turns SKHID Opera into a real modern multicultural outpost in Eastern Ukraine and a strategic center of influence in the region.
After all, Kharkiv is the second largest city of Ukraine after the capital, a significant cultural, scientific and industrial center that holds a full set of awards of the Council of Europe and is recognized by UNESCO as the «city of music» due to a large number of festivals and musical institutions. The largest and most powerful of these institutions is the Kharkiv National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater named after M.V. Lysenko / SKHID Opera.
The history of the formation of opera and ballet art in Kharkiv began as early as 1780.
And on October 3, 1925, the First Ukrainian Opera and Ballet Theater was opened, which became a powerful center of the Ukrainian avant-garde. Its artists and directors managed to make a real breakthrough by decisively moving away from clichés, activating the imaginative thinking of the audience and the participants of the creative process themselves. The first Ukrainian State Capital Opera of those times made its name in the artistic circles and, despite the ideological dictate, bravely implemented its productions into the European artistic context.
The theater has had a long and difficult path since then. But it always did its best not to lose focus on the high professionalism of the creative team, bright imagery of its performance, search for new and brave experiments.
The Kharkiv National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater named after M.V. Lysenko/Skhid Opera always did its best to be at the cutting edge of modern culture. In the last few years it actively developed new methods of interaction with the audience, attracting them with extraordinary performances. The spacious Grand Hall allowed housing in comfortable conditions up to 1,500 visitors, and the large lobby allowed holding exhibitions and presentations, as well as other artistic projects. Other actively used venues included the Music Salon “Maestro” and new stage areas: the Chamber Hall and the Loft Stage, the Summer Theater (Skhid OPERA OPEN AIR stage), where concerts and performances of modern composers were held. A number of important projects were implemented by the theater in collaboration with the Ukrainian Cultural Fund. The theater launched a number of arts festivals including “SKHID OPERA FEST”, “Summer OPERA Fest”, “Gaudeamus OPERA”, “Kharkiv Music Fest”. Great attention was paid to the national patriotic projects.
The company and soloists of the theater successfully performed in many countries of Europe, Asia and America. An important event for KhNATOB / Skhid Opera was becoming a member of the European Opera Association – “Opera Europa” (2019).
Currently, the theater’s repertoire includes many pearls of the world opera and ballet classics, over 50 operas and 30 ballets. Moreover, some recent premieres had a significant resonance in Ukraine and Europe. For example, one of the brightest and most creative performances is the ballet “Spartacus” by A. Khachaturian, where classical choreography is combined with acrobatic elements and stunts, creating a unique example of a powerful “male” ballet. The artistic solutions of the opera “Cinderella” by J. Massenet are unique and innovative, featuring unusual experimental stage design technologies. The opera “Vyshyvany. King of Ukraine” by Alla Zagaikevych to the libretto by Serhii Zhadan in the interpretation of R. Derzypilskyi, dedicated to the dramatic fate of the archduke, member of the Austro-Hungarian imperial family Wilhelm von Habsburg-Lothringen, who sacrificed his life for the freedom of Ukraine, became the first large-scale opera of this genre staged since independence. A separate part of the repertoire is directly connected with Ukrainian culture, demonstrating a wide temporal and stylistic spectrum, from the first examples of the national opera art to the modern avant-garde.
Since the beginning of the Russian aggression, Kharkiv became a front-line city that has been under constant bombardment. The artistic group of the theater was divided. Those who stayed in Kharkiv were united by the management of the theater into a concert group that performs in bomb shelters and at small concert venues, where it is possible to provide the artists and the audience with safe conditions. The main part of the theater company went on a European tour, which gave the artists an opportunity to keep their creative form. In order to save the artistic team, management of the theater organized a humanitarian tour “The European Way” with the mission of presenting the Ukrainian culture to wide circles of audiences. The theater company has already been on tours in seven European countries with this program. For the tour, the theater prepared several performances – operas “Carmen” by G. Bizet, “Othello” by G. Verdi, ballets “Mysteries of Pandora” to the music of R. Wagner, “Don Quixote” and “Giselle” by A. Adam, “Walpurgis Night” by C. Gounod, opera-choreography performance by C. Orff “Carmina Burana”, as well as the Opera Gala and the Ballet Gala concerts. In every location of the tour, which the theater artists visited, their performances had a significant public resonance and received the highest ratings of the viewers and the professional part of the audience.