The Kharkov National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre is one of the oldest musical theatres of our country, successor of the best traditions of the Ukrainian, Russian and world culture. The history of the musical theatre in Kharkov traces back to 1780. Further history of this genre in connected with the creation of opera companies, as well as guest performances by foreign private companies, including Italian companies. Operas and ballet divertissements were staged in various theatrical premises, not always suitable for such purposes. December, 1874 (January, 1875 according to the new style) can be considered a starting point of a relatively stable status, when, due to the efforts of the patron V.Paschenko, the first performance of F.Berger company was staged in the newly-built theatre house. Since 1891 the theatre received a permanent “residence address” in the former Commercial club, where it had been working with a short break for 100 years (currently, these premises are used by the Kharkov Philharmonic Hall).

The end of the XIX century became the period of prosperity of opera in Kharkov, when F.Shalyapin, M.Battistini, A.Nezhdanova and L.Sobinov, N.Zabela-Vrubel and I.Alchevskiy, as well as many other prominent artists gave performances on the opera stage in Kharkov. Their legacy became an example to follow for the artists of the new epoch and was organically combined with the of the Ukrainian stage art school represented by M.Kropivnitskiy, P.Saksaganskiy, M.Zankovetska. Due to this artistic consonance, the Kharkov Opera Theatre found its unique art style. In October, 1925, according to the Soviet Government Decree, the first State National Opera and Ballet Theatre was created in Kharkov, at that time, the capital of Ukraine. The backbone of the theatre’s company were the artists of Kharkov musical and performing school, well-known artists from other cities, talented young artists. It is worth noting that in 1920s-30s Kharkov opera and ballet stage became the artistic cradle for such future national art stars like I.Kozlovskiy, M.Reisen, B.Gmyrya, Z.Gaidai, M.Grishko, I.Patorzhynskiy, M.Litvinenko-Volgemut, V.Dulenko, R.Zakharov. In the same years the Kharkov Opera Theatre became a creative laboratory for producing the first opera and ballet performances: “Pan Kanyovsky” by M.Verikovskiy, “Kupalo” by A.Vakhnyanin, “Karmelyuk” by V.Kostenko and many others. In December, 1944 the theatre was named after N.V.Lysenko, in recognition of the performing group’s merits in the foundation of the national musical art and for commemorating the memory of its founder, whose operas “Christmas Night” (1883), “Drowned Maiden” (1885), “Taras Bulba” (1924) were staged in Kharkov for the first time. Over the last decades the best performing traditions were preserved and perfected by such outstanding artists as E.Chervonyuk, L.Popova, N.Manoylo, T.Popesku, as well as S.Arkanova, S.Kolyvanova, who continue to pass on their artistic experience to the younger generation. Among the well-known artists who started their career on Kharkov stage there are current famous names from opera and ballet companies of Moscow, Kiev and other European cities – A.Vostryakov, D.Popov, V.Verestnikov, M.Paster, A.Durseneva and others. Since October 1991 the theatre works in a new building with advanced technical capabilities, allowing to fully realize the artistic potential of the performers and creating large-scale artful performances, including the operas “Taras Bulba” by N.Lysenko, “Poet” by L.Kolodub, “Turandot” by G.Puccini, musical fairy tale for children “When animals could speak” by N.Stetsyun, “Boris Godunov” by M.Mussorgsky, “Carmen” by G.Bizet and the ballets “The Sleeping Beauty” by P.Tchaikovsky, “La Bayadere” by L.Minkus, “Petrushka” and “The Rite of Spring” by I.Stravinsky. The repertoire of the theatre is constantly evolving and currently includes over 60 opera and ballet performances. Currently, over one thousand highly-qualified artistic professionals and technical staff work in the “Town of artistic trades”, as the giant building of the Kharkov opera and ballet theatre is figuratively called (the area of all premises on all floors is approximately 7 hectares). For all performances of the theatre, as well as on requests of other theatres and performance groups from other cities and countries, the artistic service facilities of the theatre manufacture costumes and decorations by own forces. Two theatre halls can accommodate up to 2000 thousand visitors at the same time. The hall of chamber concerts is created in the premises of the gallery “Maestro”, in which the exhibitions of various genres of fine arts are regularly held. HATOB is probably the only theatre in our country, where, along with famous honored artists, young artists reveal their talent and join the casts of the opera and ballet companies. In the framework of the theatre a number of artistic groups are working, including the opera studio of the Kharkov University of Arts named after I.Kotlyarevskiy, the chorus of boys “Az Buki”, the department of classical dance of the Kharkov Art School and the theatrical department of the Art College. Artists and artistic groups of the Kharkov Opera and Ballet Theatre regularly give performances in many countries of Western Europe, Northern and Southern America and Asia. At this difficult time for the art, the theatre has the potential to remain the main center of cultural life of our region.


1780 The first musical performance in the history of Kharkov was held.
1841 The first staging of the opera “A Life for the Tsar” (“Ivan Susanin”) in the new building of the city theatre.
1868-1874 Musical performances are held in the premises on Pavlovskaya square (currently R. Luxembourg square).
1875 (26.12.1874 according to the old style) Performances of the stationary Russian opera company began in the new theatre building on Ekaterinoslavskaya street.
1883 The premiere in Kharkov of the operas by N.Lysenko “Christmas Night” and “Chernomortsy”.
1884 The first staging in Kharkov of the opera “Drown Maiden” under the direction of the author and premiere of the opera by S.Gulak-Artemovsky “Zaporozhian Cossack Beyond the Danube”.
1890 Beginning of opera seasons in the premises of the Commercial club on Rymarskaya street.
1893 P.Tchaikovsky visit the Kharkov Opera Theatre and writes a favourable comment.
1897 The first performance of F.Shalyapin on the Kharkov stage.
1899 The first staging of the opera by N.Rimsky-Korsakov “The Tsar’s Bride” in the province.
1902 Guest performance of the outstanding Italian opera singer M.Battistini in Kharkov.
1920 Ending of non-repertory opera companies in Kharkov. Creation of the Russian Opera.
1924 The world premiere of the opera by N.Lysenko “Taras Bulba”.
1925 Opening of the State Ukrainian Opera and Ballet Theatre in Kharkov by the decree of the Council of People’s Commissars.
1926 By the decree of the People’s Commissariat of Education of Ukraine the theatre receives the status of the Academic Theatre.
1929 The first staging in the USSR of the modern ballet “Football Player” by V.Oranskiy.
1931 The premier of the first Ukrainian ballet “Pan Kanyovsky” by N.Verikovskiy.
1935 The first staging outside Moscow and Saint Petersburg of “The Sleeping Beauty” by P.Tchaikovsky.
1938-1941 The theatre performing group works in the premises of Chervonozavodskoy theatre (after rebuilding – the Culture Center of Kharkov Electromechanical plant).
1941-1945 Artistic work in Siberia in cooperation with the Kiev Opera and Ballet Theatre. Participation of the artists in frontline concert groups.
1944 The theatre is named after the founder of the Ukrainian national music N.Lysenko. 1945 Opening of the first post-war season in the premises of the theatre on Rymarskaya street.
1952 Awarding of the principal performers of the theatre with the State award for the performance “Boris Godunov” by M.Mussorgsky.
1960 Participation of the theatre in the Decade of Ukrainian literature and arts in Moscow, awarding of the theatre group with the Order of the Red Banner of Labour.
1964 The First All-Union Festival of young opera singers was held.
1967 Guest performance tour of the theatre in Moscow.
1968 The Second All-Union Festival of young opera singers was held.
1972 The theatre is awarded with the Diplomas in the All-Union Festival of musical theatres.
1978 The theatre brings the initiative “Muses for children” and is awarded with the Diploma of the Republican Festival of performances for children and youth.
1986 Awarding of the theatre performing group with the Honorary Diploma of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of Ukraine.
1989 Opening of the small hall of the new theatre.
1991 Opening of the large hall and beginning of operation of the whole complex of the new theatre building.
1996 Guest performance tour of the theatre to France with the performance “Boris Godunov”.
1997 Beginning of holding festivals “Artistic Kharkiv”.
1999 The new premiere of the opera “Taras Bulba” by N.Lysenko commemorated to the 75th anniversary of the first staging in Kharkov.
2000 Beginning of promenade-concerts with the participation of the symphonic orchestra, chorus, ballet and theatre soloist artists. The theatre is awarded with the Diploma of the International Union of Musical Performers for the significant contribution to the world musical culture.
2001 The world premiere of the opera “Poet” by L.Kolodub dedicated to the life and creative work of T.Shevchenko in the framework of the festival “Masters of Arts to Kobzar”.
2002 Beginning of holding musical evenings in the exhibition gallery “Maestro”.
2003 The theatre is awarded with the Award of the Festival “Golden Voices of Ukraine” in Donetsk for the production of the opera performance “Turandot” by G.Puccini.
2004 The VIIIth Festival “Artistic Kharkiv” was held, dedicated to the 350th anniversary of Kharkov - “Ode to our native city”.
2008 The premiere of the requiem performance “Requiem for the victims of famine” by E.Stankovich and D.Pavlychko.
2009 The theatre ballet company gave a three-month tour to the Great Britain with the performances “Coppelia” by L.Delibes and “Swan Lake” by P.Tchaikovsky.
2010- By the Decree of the President of Ukraine the Theatre received the status of the National Theatre.