They say opera makes you see and feel the world differently. It is the form of art that comes the closest to pure human emotion, offering the most vivid storytelling. So, when in Kyiv, you must stop by the National Opera of Ukraine to witness a unique and thrilling experience in one of (what used to be) Russia's most prestigious opera houses.
The neo-renaissance building
Founded in 1901, the National Opera of Ukraine is more than just a house for magnificent performances. It is a building that must be seen at least once, designed by well-known German-Russian architect Victor Schröter. With an Art Nouveau style, it is a feast for every architecture connoisseur. The interior features a half-oval façade, Venetian mirrors and lamps, a patterned ceiling and elegant velvet arm-chairs with outstanding acoustics. The building you will behold has miraculously survived the different wars. For over 80 years now it has been standing in the same place with only minor reconstructions. Throughout the years the opera house has hosted several successful productions of classical operas attracting famous stars from all over the world. Picture elegant people dressing up to see masterpieces of the likes of Figaro, Tchaikovsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov. After its golden Soviet era, it officially became a national building, once Ukraine gained independence in 1992.
What to see?
There are a variety of operas and ballets for every taste. Operas are sung in Italian, French, or Russian. Experience classical ballet like Bolero by Maurice Ravel, Don Quixote, or Julius Caesar. Keep an eye on the repertoire on the opera house's website for all the details.
The theater is conveniently located in the city center, between the famous golden-domed Saint Sophia Cathedral and the classic building of Shevchenko National University. The closest metro station is Zoloti Vorota on the Green Line.
Good to know
If you don't have time to watch a performance, the cheapest seat ticket is worth purchasing to admire the whole building and the interior design. There are performances every evening and tickets can easily be bought in the box office without prior reservation, as the opera can hold up to 1300 guests. In the interval, check out the exhibition of the Lladro figurines or enjoy a light refreshment in the coffee bar. Compared to other European venues, watching a performance in this theater is quite inexpensive, even for the best seats in the house. So, make sure you don't miss the opportunity to witness opera like the locals do while staying in Kyiv.