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Kiev Municipal Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre for Children and Youth (Kiev)

2 Mezhigorskaya Street, Kiev (tel.: +38 044 425-31-16, +38 044 425-30-15, +38 044 425-34-97, +38 044 425-42-80), Metro station: "Kontraktovaya Square".

Map

The Kiev Municipal Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre for Children and Youth (the Theatre, for short) is situated in Kontraktovaya Square in Podol, Kiev's oldest district.

The Theatre's history started in June of 1982 when a decree of the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (then part of the USSR) was signed; this decree created Kiev State Musical Theatre for Children (as the Theatre was known until 1998). In December of the same year, Ivan Doroshenko, an experienced theatre organiser, was appointed the head manager of the Theatre; previously, he had earned a good reputation as the head of the Kiev Union of Musical Ensembles and also as the first director of the Ukrainian State Wind Orchestra. It was Doroshenko who led the two-year work on selecting management and creative staff for the Theatre and on preparations for the opening of the Theatre.

In early February of 1985, the Theatre was officially opened; at the time, it was Ukraine's first, the USSR's second and the world's second state musical theatre for children. The Theatre made its debut on the stage of the Opera Studio at Kiev Tchaikovsky State Conservatory with three productions: Nikolay Lysenko's fantasy opera for children Winter and Spring, M. Silvansky's ballet Malchish-Kibalchish (based on Arkady Gaidar's book Tale of the Military Secret, Boy Malchish Kibalchish and His Firm Word) and Mark Minkov's fairy-tale opera The Magic Music. These productions immediately defined the Theatre as one oriented towards Russian classics and works of contemporary composers written for children's audiences of various age as well as towards premiere productions.

By late 1985, the Theatre's repertoire had been enlarged with 5 more productions; among those was the premiere production of Dmitry Kabalevsky's ballet The Comedians.

In 1985, the stage director Nikolay Merzlikin joined the Theatre, becoming its head stage director. His debut was the premiere production of Aleksandr Kostin's fairy-tale opera The Golden-Horned Deer (based on the poem by Dmitry Pavlychko), and the following season saw him producing Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tale of Tsar Saltan (based on the poem by Aleksandr Pushkin).

In two seasons, the Theatre staged 13 shows, and in 1988 the Theatre's repertoire contained as many as 10 operas and 10 ballets.

The 1995 arrival of Aleksey Balkan, a young master and a student of the famous Stepan Turchak, as a new head conductor generated a new impulse in the creative work of the Theatre. The "music culture" of productions grew significantly; with the Theatre's repertoire having included large-scale symphonic as well as vocal and symphonic works of the world-music classics, the Theatre's orchestra was more often invited to perform abroad, at the world's most prestigious concert halls.

Besides performing, the Theatre did some work on bringing up the young generation aesthetically. Every year such events as the Weeks of Music for Children and Youth and the Days of Theatre were held at schools, and spectator conferences and opinion polls were organised by teachers of the Theatre.

It is hard to believe that for a long time a theatre that performed such an honourable and critical mission that of aesthetic upbringing was deprived of the most important thing, its own stage. During the time when it was being founded, the Theatre received rooms for rehearsals only. The issue of its own stage and of constructing its own building was supposed to be settled soon. However, the decision was always postponed until finally the last hope was lost. It seemed that the company had performed on each and every stage in Kiev.

Since it was not realistic to count on construction of a new building, it was decided to give the Theatre the building of the Slavutich Arts Centre situated in Podol. This building had been constructed as early as in the 1930s as the House of Food-Industry Workers, belonging to the corresponding trade union.

The time when the Theatre received the building coincided with the time when three companies were being reorganised, which was initiated by Doroshenko.

A decree of the Kiev City Administration merged the Musical Theatre for Children, the Kiev Theatre of Classical Ballet and the Kiev City Slavutich Arts Centre, creating the Kiev State Musical Theatre for Children and Youth based in the building of the former Slavutich Centre. Finally, the reorganised company had received a stage and a name that corresponded to its function and that allowed to widen its repertoire by addressing various age groups.

The reorganisation took place in February of 1998, and it was as early as on 12 and 14 March that the Theatre opened its own stage in the building of the former Slavutich Arts Centre.

Today, the Theatre's repertoire contains around 50 shows (since its foundation, the Theatre has performed over 100 productions in total); among them are operas, ballets, musicals, musical tales, symphonic as well as vocal and symphonic works, for spectators of widely various age. These shows have made a significant contribution to Ukraine's national music and theatre art.

Among the best productions of the last years are Guiseppe Verdi's opera Rigolleto, the opera-ballet L'enfant et les sortileges ("The Child and the Spells") to the music by Maurice Ravel, the children's operas Snare for Witches by I. Sherbakov and Little Red Riding Hood by Mikhail Rauchwerger (based on the tale by Charle Perrault); Igor Poklada's musical How the Cossacks Tamed the Dragon; ballets: Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, Adolphe Adam's Giselle, Ludwig Minkus's La Bayadere ("The Temple Dancer"), Cesare Pugni's La naiade et le pecheur ("The Nayad and the Fisherman"), Yevgeny Stankovich's A Night in May, Ball at Strauss's to music by Johann Strauss, Celebration at Seville's to music by Jules Massenet and La carriole du Pere Junier (a "choreographic animation" of the painting by Henri Rousseau) to music by Richard Strauss; Carl Orff's scenic cantata Carmina Burana; the symphonic concert Musical Fireworks; the literary and musical composition The Forest Song based on the drama by Lesya Ukrainka, to music by Mikhail Skorulsky, Georgy Sviridov's "musical illustrations" to Pushkin's novella The Snow Storm and others.

The Theatre's international prestige is growing year by year. Promoters are happy to work with the Theatre, which enjoys great success demonstrating its skills in music and choreography in many countries of the world, namely, in Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, former Yugoslavia, the Netherlands, Japan, South Korea and others, where it goes on tours and participates in prestigious international music festivals.

Today, the Theatre employs over 200 creative staff. The Theatre is officially known as Kiev Municipal Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre for Children and Youth. The Theatre's leading singers are known outside Ukraine; among them are talented singers such as Vitaly Zhmudenko, Ukraine's Meritorious Artist, and Lyubov Kanyuka, Viktoriya Chenskaya and Vasily Grokholsky, award winners at international competitions; as well brilliant dancers such as Ukraine's People's Artist Sergey Bovdur, an award winner at international competitions, and Ukraine's Meritorius Artists Irina Gordiychuk and Andrey Vdovichenko.

At their performances, the Theatre's company is always happy to see little, young and mature spectators alike.

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Kiev Municipal Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre for Children and Youth

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