Cover photo © credits: iStock/speakingtomato
Cover photo © credits: iStock/speakingtomato

The Opera House - the architectural icon of Lviv

3 minutes to read

Lviv is one of the most charming cities in Ukraine. You won't find any place with such a high number of architectural wonders. Walking around the narrow streets of Lviv is a favourite activity of every guest of the city. Every walk will surely bring you to the architectural icon of the city, the majestic Lviv Opera House, that was built many years ago. It is located in the city centre, on Svoboda Avenue (the main avenue of the city), near a beautiful fountain. The Lviv Opera House is a truly iconic sight of Lviv

Photo © credits: iStock/Vera_Petrunina
Photo © credits: iStock/Vera_Petrunina

The history of the Opera House

The building of the Lviv Opera House demanded a distinctive and central location. Construction began on the main avenue of Lviv, even though the river Poltva sometimes flooded there. It was decided to take the river to the collector, and use the concrete blocks for the building's foundation. Construction began in 1897, and it was the first case of such a building technology in Europe. This architectural wonder was designed by the famous European architect, Sigmund Gorgolevsky.  Lviv Opera House is an excellent example of Neo-Renaissance style, which became an ornament of Lviv, and the whole of Europe.

Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet, Ukraine
Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet, Ukraine
проспект Свободи, 28, Львів, Львівська область, Украина, 79000

The construction of the opera house lasted about three years at the expense of the city treasury. The cost of the construction was 2.4 million Austrian crowns. Some of the brightest minds in the architecture sphere in Lviv worked on the development and decoration: P.Vytytovych, T.Baronch, A.Popel, T and S. Reyhan. The theatre and opera house opened on October 4, 1900, with the premiere of Vladislav Zhelensky's lyrical opera “Janek”, about the lives of the Carpathian inhabitants. The place was named after the prominent Ukrainian singer Solomiya Krushelnytska. Throughout her life, she has been recognized as the most reputable opera singer in the world. The official name of the opera house is The Solomiya Krushelnytska Lviv State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet.

Photo © credits: iStock/Tsekhmister
Photo © credits: iStock/Tsekhmister

The distinctive features of the Lviv Opera House

The shapes of the facade of the Lviv State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet are very complex and varied: there are columns, balustrades, and niches, full of allegorical sculptural figures. Above the main cornice of the facade, there are raised statues of eight muses, and a high ten-figure composition "Joy and suffering of life" above them. The pediment in the top ends with a sculptural triad of winged bronze figures of the Genius of drama and comedy, tragedy and in the centre - Glory, which holds the golden palm branch. Prominent Lviv artists Popel, Baronch, Viytovych, created these sculptures.

Photo © credits: iStock/IgorChus
Photo © credits: iStock/IgorChus

The interior of the Lviv Opera is impressive no less than its appearance. The interior decoration of the building is decorated with gilding (made of gold, weighing several kilograms), coloured marble, decorative paintings, and sculptures. The auditorium has a form of the lira and accommodates more than a thousand people. The decoration of the scene is the decorative curtain "Parnas" (1900) known in Europe by its painter Henryk Semiradsky - an allegorical interpretation of the meaning of human life in the figures of Parnassus. The hall of the Lviv Opera House is noted for its excellent acoustics. Here, you can see the performances of the renowned opera and ballet groups of Ukraine and tourists from other countries. The Lviv Opera House hosts Vienna Points Ball every year. 

Today, the Opera House continues to be the main venue for cultural entertainment of the citizens of Lviv. Many operas and plays you can hear in the original language, with subtitles in English. Therefore, you are welcome to visit the architectural icon of Lviv - The Solomiya Krushelnytska Lviv State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet and enjoy its cultural programme.


Interesting towns related to this story


The author

Marusia Bilous

Marusia Bilous

Hi, I’m Marusia from Lviv, Ukraine. My life is a permanent movement in a search for unforgettable impressions and interesting people. I promise that your virtual trip to my country will be interesting, and you will definitely plan one of your travels to Ukraine.

View more stories

Stories you might also like