Kyiv Opera Reopens in the Midst of War

By Francisco Salazar

The Kyiv Opera reopened three months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began.

According to the Guardian, the opera house reopened on May 21, 2022 with “the Barber of Seville” and received a 10-minute standing ovation.

Performances will only take place on weekend afternoons with a maximum of 300 tickets sold. Additionally, the audience has to be ready to move quickly to the basement cloakrooms if air-raid sirens go off during a performance.

While many members of the opera company are still abroad, and some in the orchestra are fighting on the frontline or serving in the territorial defense forces, the company was able to get enough artists and technical staff back to work.

In a statement to the Guardian, Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko said, “We wanted to open with symbolic performances: first a European classic and then a Ukrainian classic.” The company will present the opera “Natalka Poltavka.”

The minister also noted that the theater will remove all Russian repertoire and is currently lobbying opera houses abroad to remove Russian works from their repertoires.

He said, “We’re trying to argue that in a time of war, it is a symbolic move, and we should find ways to celebrate French, Italian, and certainly Ukrainian composers,” added Tkachenko.

This month the opera house will also present productions of “La Serva Padrona” and “Rigoletto.”