Russian Opera and Ukrainian Musical Theater in 19th-Century Kyiv: Case Study in Empire-Nation Relations, Cultural Politics and Public Reception

Academic & Research
Open to the Public
Nador u. 11
Hanak Room
Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm

The Department of History cordially invites you to: 

Russian Opera and Ukrainian Musical Theater

in Nineteenth-Century Kyiv:

Case Study in Empire-Nation Relations, Cultural Politics and Public Reception

 a public lecture by

Ostap Sereda

Ivan Krypiakevych Institute of Ukrainian Studies, National Academy of Science of Ukraine

The paper focuses on the cultural politics in one of the most contested and rapidly growing provincial centres of the late Russian empire, the city of Kyiv (Kiev, Kijów); in particular, it focuses on the introduction of permanent Russian opera (1867) and Ukrainian professional musical theater (1882).  A close reading of such traditional sources as press and governmental documents reveals the dynamics of a polyphonic urban public sphere, the interaction between the imperial government and various segments of urban society, and the role of musical theater as an important site of urban sociability and as a cultural contact zone. Notwithstanding the direct intervention of imperial authorities into the cultural politics in Kyiv, local actors exercised considerable influence on the implementation of imperial policy in the region. Study of the theatrical repertoire and public discourse demonstrates the problematic relationship between the issues of genre and national representation. The theatrical politics in Kyiv became an arena for negotiations between the imperial political interests, the national representational strategies of various urban publics, the artistic  aspirations of leading cultural figures, and the popular demand for entertainment.


Ostap Sereda

received his Ph.D. in Comparative History from the Central European University in 2003. Since 1994 he has been at the department of modern history of the Ivan Krypiakevych Institute of Ukrainian Studies in Lviv (Ukrainian Academy of Sciences). He also lectured at the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Ukrainian Catholic University and Macquarie University, and was a visiting researcher at the European University Institute in Florence and at Harvard University. His publications deal with the political discourses and cultural practices of nationalism in 19th-century Austrian Eastern Galicia, and with cultural politics and musical theater in Russian-ruled Kyiv in the second half of the 19th century. During 2012/2013 (Fall semester) Ostap Sereda has been teaching a course on Nineteenth-Century Eastern European Borderlands at the CEU.


Wednesday, 5 December, 17:30

 Hanák Room