13 Interesting Fun Facts About the House of Opera in Lviv, Ukraine

A House of Opera is a building that may house several ballet and opera companies.

The Opera House in Sydney, Australia; the Opera House Boston, the Michigan Opera Theater, the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, the San Francisco Opera, USA; the Vienna Opera House and the London Opera House (Covent Garden) in Europe are all opera houses that stage grand opera, opera shows, opera events, all of them incorporating opera music.

Historically, the Lviv Opera House Theater was built as a city opera, financed by the local citizens. Today, the Lviv Opera Theater has been given the title of National Opera of Ukraine. In many ways, the opera house built by a local architect, was meant to be a mini Opera House of Paris. In Lviv, the opera house location is central – walking distance to the old section of town and all major tourist attractions.


Read to Discover: Interesting Fun Facts About the Lviv Opera House

House of Opera, Lviv, Ukraine
House of Opera, Lviv, Ukraine

13. The Lviv House of Opera and Ballet seats 1,002 persons.

12. The Lviv Opera Theatre is a showcase for 12 different artists.

11. The House of Opera building sits on a river.

10. The Opera House has been resident in 8 countries.

9. A unique proscenium curtain was specially created by Henryk Siemiradzki.

8. The Opera House features a full scale ballet company.

7. The Opera House Theatre was designed by a resident Lviv architect.

6. The House of Opera in Lviv has been used for various political purposes.

5. Over 700 people are employed at the House of Opera and Ballet in Lviv.

4. The House of Opera building is frequently used for wedding photo shoots.

3. Famous opera Singers from around the world have performed on the Lviv Opera stage.

2. The Lviv Opera and Ballet Theatre celebrated its 115th anniversary in 2015.

1. Over 200 performances are given annually at the Lviv House of Opera and Ballet.


The Lviv House of Opera and Ballet Seats Over 1,000 People

Lviv Opera House Seating
Lviv Opera House Seating

The Lviv House of Opera and Ballet is considered a small opera house. It has:

  • 403 parterre seats
  • 66 parterre box seats
  • 58 balcony I seats
  • 90 balcony I box seats
  • 84 balcony II seats
  • 66 balcony II box seats
  • 235 balcony III seats

which is 222 box seats and 780 regular seats, for a total of 1,002 seats.

Around the world, Houses of Opera range from small ones seating around 800 – 900 people (Prague Opera House seats 812 people) to large facilities intended for an audience of 3,500 to 4,000 opera lovers (Metropolitan Opera House seats 3,800 people).

What is a parterre seat? What is the difference between a box seat and a regular seat? Where is the best seat in the house to enjoy an opera performance?


12 Different Artists Created the Lviv House of Opera Auditorium Ceiling

Lviv House of Opera Ceiling
Lviv House of Opera Ceiling

The Lviv House of Opera auditorium ceiling is the combined work of the following artists:

  • Aleksander Augustynowicz (1865 – 1944)
  • Zygmunt Gorgolewski (1845 – 1903)
  • Piotr Witalis Harasimowicz (1857 – 1914)
  • Stanisław Kaczor-Batowski (1866 – 1946)
  • Ludomir Köhler (1859 – 1915?)
  • Edward Miron Pietsch
  • Tadeusz Popiel (1863 – 1913)
  • Stanisław Reichan (1858 – 1919)
  • Zygmunt Rozwadowski (1870 – 1950)
  • Tadeusz Rybkowski (1848 – 1926)
  • Antoni Stefanowicz (1858 – 1929)
  • Piotr Basyli Woytowycz (1862 – 1936/38)

In the past, many European theatres and churches were designed by one master artist. The master artist would engage and supervise his students as they realized his creation.

In Lviv, the tradition of one artist being credited with adorning the walls and ceiling of the Opera House was not upheld. Instead, the Opera House Theater is a showcase for many artists, all of whom lived and created in the city of Lviv at the beginning of the 20th century.

For art history enthusiasts, a closer examination of the art works in the Lviv Opera House is an opportunity to discover a vibrant art culture that flourished in the City of Lviv at the end of the 19th century.


The Lviv House of Opera Has Been Resident in 8 Countries

20th Century Lviv
20th Century Lviv

The Lviv House of Opera and Ballet building has been part of:

  • Hapsburg Empire (to 1914 and again 1915 – 1918)
  • Romanov Empire (September, 1914 – June, 1915)
  • West Ukrainian People’s Republic (1918 – 1919)
  • Ukrainian National Republic (1919 – 1920)
  • Commonwealth of Poland (1920 – 1939)
  • Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (1939 –1941 and again 1944 – 1991)
  • Germany Reich (1941 –1944)
  • Ukraine (1991 – present).

The Lviv Opera House reflects the history of the Eastern European region and its people, who during the 19th century lived under various regimes and foreign governments in the struggle to finally achieve independence and self-rule.


Famous Opera Singers at the Lviv House of Opera in Ukraine

Famous Opera Singers
Famous Opera Singers

Before World War I, when the world was divided into empires ruled by hereditary family lineages, opera was financed and controlled by royal courts. (Conceivably, this is why the idea developed that opera is an “elite” art form.)

Contrary to what history textbooks teach us, the “elites” of these empires were not at constant war between each other. Instead, evidence shows that they intermarried, created mutually beneficial territorial alliances and conducted trade transactions that allowed them to increase their personal wealth. In short, they were the oligarchs of their day, who enjoyed the boxes and foyer’s of major opera houses within their empires.

Famous opera singers of the 19th and 20th centuries were dependent on the support of these “elites”. It should come as no surprise that they would travel to perform for them. What is worthy of note is that, prior to World War I, there were troupes of so-called “Italian opera singers”. These leading opera singers would go on tour performing in the far reaches of the Habsburg, Romanov and Bourbon empires.

At the time, the City of Lviv was known as Lemberg and was a major cultural center within the Habsburg Empire. As such, even though it did not have a full fledged house of opera until 1900, it was on the opera traveling circuit. Famous opera singers – Mattia Battistini (1856 – 1928), Alexander Filippi (1853 – 1922), Gemma Bellincioni (1864 – 1950), Solomiya Krushelnytska (1872 – 1952) – regularly performed for Lviv audiences.

Come and visit the unique Lviv House of Opera in Ukraine!

Text by Oksana A. Wynnyckyj-Yusypovych


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