The Kiev Academic Operetta Theatre (the Operetta Theatre or the Theatre, for short) was founded in 1934. At that time, it was known as the Kiev Theatre of Musical Comedy. In 1996, the Theatre received its current name.
The Theatre occupies the building of the former Trinity People's House, a working-class community centre. The building was constructed in the early 20th century using charity funds. The People's House hosted concerts and vaudeville performances, the first of the vaudevilles being held on 5 December 1902. The first production of the Theatre was that of Carl Zeller's operetta The Bird Seller (its premiere took place on 1 December 1935). Alongside The Bird Seller, the Theatre's repertoire contained the world's best classical operettas such as Johann Straus II's The Bat, Franz Lehar's Gypsy Love and Jacques Offenbach's The Bluebeard.
In 1938, a great event in the history of contemporary theatre happened, namely, the brilliant premiere of Aleksey Ryabov's Wedding in Malinovka, a contemporary Ukrainian operetta (it was using story lines and music fragments of this operetta that one of the most famous Soviet films, of the same name, was produced).
After the Second World War had started, the Operetta Theatre was evacuated to Kazakhstan, staying there from 1942 to 1944. The Theatre started its first "war" season in the city of Almaty, then the capital of Kazakhstan. A direct respond of the Theatre to the events of the war was contained in the operetta Blue Stone by Ryabov and in Maksim based on the libretto by B. Turovsky.
During the many years of the Theatre's existence, many famous actors such as Vera Novinskaya, Grigory Loyko, M. Blashuk, L. Presman, Dmitry Ponomarenko, Ye. Mamykina, D. Shevtsov and many others worked here.
Among the Theatre's first stage directors were S. Kargalsky, Boris Balaban and Aleksandr Barsegyan. For a long time, the position of the Theatre's head stage director was occupied by the famous composer and conductor Aleksey Ryabov, the author of many famous Ukrainian operettas such as Wedding in Malinovka (1938), The Fair at Sorochintsy (1943; based on the novella by Nikolay Gogol), and Red Kalina (1954).
The Theatre's stage has also seen productions of classical vaudevilles such as Nikolay Lysenko's Natalka Poltavka (1943; based on the play by Ivan Kotlyarevsky), Kirill Stetsenko's Marriage Proposal in Goncharovka (1953; based on the comedy by Gregory Kvitka-Osnovyanenko), and V. Rozhdestvensky's After Two Hares (1953).
Alongside Ukrainian works, the Theatre's performances of the world's best shows such as Strauss II's The Bat and A Night in Venice as well as Imre Kalman's The Riviera Girl (known in the former Soviet Union as Silva), The Circus Princess, The Yankee Princess and many others.
Taking into consideration the modernisation of the society and the radically new requirements of the present audience, the Operetta Theatre's company has developed a plan for the future evolution of the Theatre. First of all, using its long traditions, the Operetta Theatre is modernising its image to bring itself closer to the requirements of the young audience. For this reason, alongside traditional and popular operettas, the Theatre is staging musicals and other musical shows, "musical and plastique shows" and various show programs.
New stage directors and young actors are being invited to collaborate. Now, the Theatre's repertoire is containing over 16 shows of various genres: operettas, musicals, musical comedies and musical tales.
A chamber stage of the Operetta Theatre, called the Lobby Theatre, was opened in 2004 (the year of the Theatre's 70th anniversary). It was created at the initiative of Bogdan Strutinsky, the head art director and the head manager of the Theatre.
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