National Opera of Ukraine, which was formerly named the National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre of Ukraine named after Taras Shevchenko, is located in the center of Kiev and was established in 1867, immediately winning the title of one of the best in the Russian Empire.
The work of Opera and Ballet Theater began with opera "Askold's Grave" by Verstovsky. It was followed by other theatrical performances, the premieres of which were visited by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Rimsky-Korsakov.
After a fire in 1896, which completely destroyed the building of the City Theater, it was announced the competition to design the new building. The construction started in 1898. The new hall contained the stalls, an amphitheater and a dress circle with a capacity 1650 people. Over the main entrance there was located the Kiev coat of arms, depicting the Archangel Michael. At the insistence of the Metropolitan Feognost, who considered the theater a place of sin, the figure of Archangel Michael was replaced by a composition in which the Griffins kept lyre in the clutches, symbolising the art of music. On the facade there were set the busts of T.G. Shevchenko, Mikhail Glinka and Alexander Serov.
In August 1911 the theatre became wide known due to the tragic event: the Prime Minister Stolypin was killed during intermission near the orchestra pit.
In Soviet times, the theater was nationalized and renamed; in the 30 years there were removed the busts of Russian composers and in the 80 years there was carried out the fundamental reconstruction.
Among the famous artists who worked in the theater were: Nathan Rachlin, Arnold Azrikan, Boris Gmyrya, Maria Litvinenko-Wohlgemuth, Anatoly Kocherga, Feodor Chaliapin and others.
In 1949 the theater was awarded with the Stalin Prize of the second degree for the performance of the opera by M.I. Glinka "Ivan Susanin”.