The National Opera of Ukraine was founded in 1867 at a time when the country was part of Russia and loomed large on the world cultural stage. It was originally housed in the City Theatre, but that burnt down in 1896 and was replaced by today’s vast, gloriously ornate Neo-Renaissance concert hall, which was designed by German-Russian architect Victor Schröter and reopened in 1901. By the 1920s the National Opera was one of the most prestigious in Russia, performing great works by the likes of Tchaikovsky, Wagner and Rimsky-Korsakov while attracting famous opera stars from across the world. Having survived both world wars, the National Opera House was restored in the 1980s and its acoustics, stage equipment, rehearsal rooms and dressing rooms were much improved. The concert hall is lavishly decorated on the interior, with a colonnaded foyer dripping in chandeliers and molded ceilings; its plush gilt and red auditorium can seat 1,300. Today the award-winning National Opera performs a repertoire of Verdi, Ravel, Paganini and Chopin among many others, and the National Ballet is also in residence here. Going to the opera in Kiev is a dressy affair; anyone wearing jeans, shorts or sneakers will be refused entry.
Volodymyrska Street, 50, Kiev. Box office: daily 11am–7.30pm (Mon 7pm). Ticket price depends on event. Take the metro to Zaloti Vorota.