Architecture / Landmarks / Theatres

“Vasile Alecsandri” National Theatre

The history of dramaturgy was marked by many premieres in Iași. Worthy of mentioning are: the first theatre play in Romanian, in 1816, the founding of the first National Theatre in the country or the founding of the first Jewish Theatre in the World (1876).

As an institution, the first steps in the founding of the Iași theatre were taken in the boyar houses, with a small public. After that, through the presence of foreign bands in the city, the “Théâtre des Variétés” appeared. The first National Theatre in Romania came to life at the initiatives of the politicians and people of culture like Vasile Alecsandri, Costache Negruzzi and Mihail Kogălniceanu in 1840.

In the same period of intense cultural activity, the first opera show was also performed – “La dame blanche”, played at the “Théâtre des Variétés”, in 1883. Three years later, under the coordination of Gheorghe Asachi, the Drama Philharmonic Conservatory is founded, having as members the headman Ștefan Catargiu, Vasile Alecsandri (the father), the tenor Paul Cervatti and the actor Matei Millo.

Since 1846, the Iași theatre shows, but also the opera shows were played in the hall of the Big Theatre in Copou, constructed on the place of the current building of the University, but destroyed in a fire in 1888. Here, various premieres took place, such as the first Romanian operette – “Baba Hârca” of Matei Millo (1848), the first performance of the theatre plays having as leading character the famous “Coana Chirița” (1850), plays written by Vasile Alecsandri, the first ballet band (1866) and after that, the operettas (1874). The Vaudeville also begins to be developed – a combination between satire and music, also played by the first Jewish professional theatre band in the world, led by the playwright Avram Goldfaden.

The new building of the National Theatre was inaugurated in 1896, on the place of the old city hall, demolished at the proposal of mayor Vasile Pogor. This shelters the institutions of the “Vasile Alecsandri” National Theatre of Iași and of the National Romanian Opera House of Iași. The latter was founded only in 1956, although composers, conductors and singers from Iași have tried this thing since the ‘20s. The opening show of the first season was “Tosca” by Giacomo Puccini, under the baton of the conductor Radu Botez. In 2003, the State Opera House of Iași, as previously named, becomes the National Romanian Opera House of Iași.

The theatre and opera shows will offer you here unique experiences, from performances of classical plays, to nonconformist or interactive plays, where spectators find themselves on stage. At the same time, you can see premiere theatrical performances, played by theatre artists also known for their parts in famous Romanian films.

MUST SEE at the Theatre and Opera House of Iași

The National Romanian Opera House of Iași and the “Vasile Alecsandri” National Theatre of Iași offer, each season, special performances made by Romanian and foreign directors. Some titles not to be missed from the current season would have to comprise, at the Opera House of Iași, the three shows of the world renowned director, Andrei Șerban – The Snowdrifts after Euripides, Les Indes galantes by Jean-Philippe Rameau, Lucia di Lamermoor by Gaetano Donizetti or Aida by Verdi. At the National Theatre, the shows The Café by Carlo Goldoni, directed by the master Silviu Purcărete, The Old Lady’s Visit by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, directed by Claudiu Goga, The Butchery of Job by Fausto Paravidino, directed by Radu Afrim or The Birdcage by Georges Feydeau, directed by Gabriel Avram are monumental!

Strada Agatha Bârsescu nr. 18, Iași 700074
Photo by Andrei Cucu