Anatoly Solovyanenko: Now there is no Swan Lake – this is our principled position

Anatoly Solovyanenko: No Swan Lake Now – this is our principled position

The National Opera of Ukraine has resumed its work in Kyiv. For her fans, such an event is like a sip of clean water when thirsty. The demand for tickets is insane.

How the theater works now, what plans for the summer, “KP in Ukraine” learned from the chief director of the theater, People's Artist of Ukraine Anatoly Solovyanenko.

It is symbolic that in European classics sounded this day

– Anatoly Anatolyevich, why did the resumption of the theater start with the light and playful Barber of Seville?

– Our first block consisted of two performances – “The Barber of Seville” and “Natalka Poltavka”. This is no coincidence. On May 21, when we resumed work, Europe Day was celebrated in Ukraine. Ukraine has chosen its European vector, and I think that now no one doubts this choice. Therefore, it is symbolic that European classics sounded on that day.

Spectators go to the performance in order to move at least for two or three hours to another world, to other realities than those that they see around.

The next day there was a Ukrainian performance – “Natalka Poltavka”. This is also symbolic – this was the last performance we had before the start of the war. The opera sounded on the stage on February 23, and on the 24th we all know what began…

Yes, these operas are not tragic, but art has its own purpose. I talk a lot with people who come to the theatre. They go to the performance in order to move at least for two or three hours into another world, into other realities than those that they see around. We give them this opportunity. Also in our current repertoire are Madama Butterfly and La Traviata, which will be on this weekend, and the opera Rigoletto, which sounded last Saturday.

– What about ballet fans?

– The ballet troupe is also resuming its work. Already this Friday there will be a ballet evening on our stage. All tickets are sold out, as was the case for previous performances.

Anatoly Solovyanenko: No Swan Lake now – this is our principled position

“Natalka Poltavka” was the last theater before the start of the war. The opera sounded on stage on February 23. Photo:

They made a shelter out of the wardrobe

– How does the theater work now?

– We sell 300 tickets out of 1304 seats. This is because the State Emergency Service surveyed the premises and identified our wardrobe as an adequate air-raid shelter. The room accommodates just such a number of people.

Thank God that so far there have been no air raid alerts during the performances. But we know that they often sound in Kyiv. If this happens, the performance will be suspended, the audience will be directed to the shelter, and after the alarm is over, the performance will continue.

– Are the performances related to the curfew?

– Yes. The curfew starts at 23.00, the metro and all public transport stop working at 22.00. Many of them have transfers, so you need to have some extra time.

There are artists who went to the defense – our ballet dancers Alexei Potemkin and Olesya Vorotnyuk. There are orchestra artists who serve in the Armed Forces of Ukraine – all volunteers.

Therefore, we must finish all the work no later than 20.30 so that the workers can get home. Who lives in Kyiv, and who, for example, in Brovary. Therefore, the journey can take up to two hours. If the performance starts at 2 pm and lasts 3.5 hours, like The Barber of Seville, then you need to have time to dismantle the scenery and fold the costumes. There are services in the theater where work is just beginning when the performance is over.

– Summer is a traditional time for touring. How will it be this year?

– This summer we will work in Kyiv, we see from the performances and the hype with ticket sales that people need it.

< strong>– 300 tickets is not much for such a big theatre. How do you survive financially?

– We are grateful to the state, which in such a difficult time does not leave us without attention. During the period when the theater could not work, all our employees received two-thirds of their official salary. This is very important support. Wages go for budgetary funds, everything else, including a communal apartment, security, new performances – for our own. Therefore, we will work, earn money and try to cover our current expenses.

Actors both at the front and in the defense

– For obvious reasons, some actors could go abroad. Are there those who went to the front or to the defense?

Anatoly Solovyanenko: No more Swan Lake now – this is our principled position

Chief Director of the National Opera Anatoly Solovyanenko. Photo:

– Yes, there are artists who went into the defense – our ballet dancers Alexei Potemkin and Olesya Vorotnyuk. There are artists of the orchestra who serve in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. We are very proud of them.

– Was it their personal choice?

– Yes, they are all volunteers. There has not yet been and we hope that there will not be a situation when it will be necessary to mobilize artists into the ranks of the army.

– Everyone remembers how our prima Lyudmila Monastyrskaya took the stage of the Metropolitan Opera with the flag of Ukraine. Does she plan to return to her native stage?

– Yes, she plans, but now she has a fairly tight schedule. She gives many charity performances and concerts in Europe and around the world. Now he cannot come, because if you need to urgently go to a concert, then to get from Kyiv only to Warsaw, you need two days. When it gets a little easier logistically or when Lyudmila has a break for a few weeks, she will definitely come and sing for the Kyiv audience.

Lyudmila does a lot abroad for Ukraine, including raising funds for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. All our soloists, who are in Europe or other countries of the world, gave dozens of charity concerts during this period and raised a lot of money for the army.

There will be a new La Traviata by autumn

– In the past, for many, the informal symbol of the ballet was Swan Lake. Will it stay in the repertoire?

– At present, we have removed from the repertoire all the works of composers representing a well-known country. This is the fundamental position of our team. In today's realities, Swan Lake is impossible.

– And what kind of performance can become a symbol of the Ukrainian opera and ballet theater?

– “Forest Song” by Mikhail Skorulsky. With great pleasure, people go to “Natalka Poltavka” by Nikolai Lysenko, “Zaporozhets beyond the Danube” by Gulak-Artemovsky.

We have completed work on the Ukrainian contemporary children's opera “Puss in Boots” based on Charles Perrault. About 85% completed the preparation of a new production of “La Traviata”.

We have completed work on the Ukrainian contemporary children's opera “Puss in Boots” based on the fairy tale by Charles Perrault. The poetic text was created by Nikolai Brovchenko, music by Yuri Shevchenko. Unfortunately, Yuri Valentinovich passed away two months ago, but he managed to complete work on this work, we have the entire musical set.

As soon as finances allow, we will take up this work. Because all new productions, as I said, are being prepared for the funds that the theater itself has earned.

– Are there any other premieres planned?

– We have completed about 85 percent of the preparation of a new production of La Traviata. I hope that over the summer we will finish it and in the autumn we will be able to release the premiere. It is difficult to say when the next one will be, because the funds that we are now earning are barely enough to pay for the communal apartment. And this is in the summer, but what will happen with the onset of cold weather?

– Did something happen in the theater during the months of inactivity?

– We could not work in the theater, but many worked outside of it. As I have already said, many concerts were given in Europe and around the world, they worked both for the image of Ukraine and for the financial component. I personally participated in several international events. In addition, he received two invitations from fairly prestigious European theaters as a director. But he categorically refused, because it was about staging Russian works of Eugene Onegin and The Tsar's Bride. I refused, because this is my principled position.

– When did you return to Kyiv?

– More than a month ago. Immediately got back to work. On March 27, although without spectators, but with an online broadcast, we held an event dedicated to the International Theater Day. During this event, they honored Nikolai Lysenko, who had an anniversary a few days before, Yuri Shevchenko, who passed away into another world, and Miroslav Skorik, who had been the head of our theater for five years. We have combined all these events in one event. A recording of the event is available on the theatre's YouTube channel.

Anatoly Solovyanenko: No Swan Lake now – this is our principled position

When it is easier logistically or when Lyudmila Monastyrskaya has a break for several weeks, she will definitely come to Kyiv. Photo:

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