Ukraine is rich in art and culture. It is a country with numerous art galleries, museums, cultural institutions besides being home to world class artists and prolific artistes. The Lviv Solomiya Krushelnytska Opera House is one of the foremost cultural centers of the nation. This impressive opera house with its grandeur and the cultural events held here beautifully blends richness of culture with architectural magnificence.
The Lviv Theater of Opera and Ballet was opened on October 4th, 1900 in a majestic building amidst the presence of a galaxy of well known European artistes, writers, composers, painters and delegates that included eminent writers like Henryk Sienkiewicz and famous composers like Ignacy Jan Paderewski. It was originally named as the Grand Theater. However later in 1939, it was renamed as The Lviv Theater of Opera and Ballet.
At present it is called Lviv Solomiya Krushelnytska Opera House named after one of the brightest Ukrainian Soprano opera stars Solomiya Krushelnytska (23 September 1872 – 16 November 1952). At the end of the 19th Century when an acute need for a large theatre hall was felt, the authorities called for an architectural design competition. The design prepared by Zygmunt Gorgolewski, a graduate of Berlin Building Academy and the Director of Lviv Higher Art Industrial School, was accepted due to its uniqueness and innovative idea. Gorgolewski impressed the jury board by proposing to locate the building at the middle of the city in a densely populated region. However to solve the land acquisition problem he suggested to enclose the Poltva River underground and instead of using a conventional foundation introduced a solid concrete base for the first time in Europe.
After much discussions and slow resolution of various technical problems, it took 3 years for the construction of the grand building. Lviv Solomiya Krushelnytska Opera House architecture reminds us of the Renaissance and Baroque styles, which are also sometimes referred to as the Viennese neo-Renaissance style of architecture. The multi tiered auditorium bears numerous Corinthian columns, cornices, balustrades, pilasters, stucco garlands, allegorical figures, bronze statues, oil paintings.
Both the exterior and interior are splendidly ornamented. The facade is highly impressive and has a festive appearance with numerous niches portraying Glory, Poetry and Music. The architectural and ornamental magnificence and elegance of the building is truly unparallel. Upon its grand opening a ballet Baśń nocy świętojańskiej (Tale of the Midsummer Night) by Jan Kasprowicz andSeweryn Berson, a comedy by Aleksander Fredro and a lyric drama Janek was staged.
Today, Lviv Solomiya Krushelnytska Opera House is one of the best opera houses of Europe and is world famous for its magnificence and cultural events that is held throughout the year. It is a center of cultural history, art and entertainment. The opera house is a tourists’ delight and whoever visits Ukraine comes to see the building and if luck favors they witness performances as well. The legacy of the cultural renaissance of Europe is being preserved beautifully by the Lviv Solomiya Krushelnytska Opera House.