Iași National Theatre

The Iași National Theatre (or Vasile Alecsandri National Theater; in Romanian: Teatrul Național Vasile Alecsandri) in Iași, Romania, is the oldest national theatre and one of the most prestigious theatrical institutions in Romania. In 1956, it was given the name of the renowned Romanian playwright and poet Vasile Alecsandri.

Vasile Alecsandri National Theatre
Teatrul Național „Vasile Alecsandri” din Iași
Great Theatre of Moldavia
Teatrul Național „Vasile Alecsandri” din Iași.JPG
Front view
Address18 Agatha Bârsescu Street
TypeNational theatre
CapacityLarge Hall 850 seats
The Cube Theatre 180 seats
Teofil Vâlcu Hall 100 seats
The Theatre Plant 100 seats
ProductionFântâna Blanduziei [1][2]
ArchitectFellner & Helmer


The old building of the National Theatre, 1846

The first dramatic play presented in the Romanian language (and one of the first theatrical performance in Romanian[3]) was Mirtil and Hloe,[4] adapted and staged by Gheorghe Asachi, and held in the capital of Moldavia, Jassy/Iași, on 27 December 1816.[5] In 1834, a Romanian production took place in Iași on the stage of the Théâtre de varieté, built in 1832 for the French Fouraux troupe.

The National Theatre was founded on 15 May 1840, as the Great Theatre of Moldavia, when the Romanian language troupe, led by Costache Caragiali, was united with the French troupe, under a single direction of Vasile Alecsandri and the management of Costache Caragiali.[6] On 22 December 1846, a new audience hall was inaugurated in the former mansion of Prince Mihail Sturdza, on the Hill of Copou.[7]


On the night of 17/18 February 1888, the theatre building was destroyed by the fire.

The efforts to build the new theatre edifice culminated in 1894 when a contract was signed with the Viennese architects Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer, who designed several theatres and palaces across Europe, including the theatres in: Cluj-Napoca, Oradea, Timișoara and Chernivtsi (Romanian: Cernăuți).

The main auditorium

For the building work, a contract was signed with a Bucharest company, and the power station was built by a company from Berlin. The Theatre’s power station also supplied with electricity the 12 electric-arc lamps lighting the Theatre Square, marking the beginning of electrification in the city of Iași. The works to building took two years, and on 1 and 2 December 1896, the inauguration festivities took place with Flechtenmacher's National Overture, the vaudevilles Muza de la Burdujeni (The Muse from Burdujeni) by Costache Negruzzi and Cinel-cinel (The Riddle) by Vasile Alecsandri, as well as the verse comedy Poetul romantic (The Romantic Poet) by Matei Millo.

Nowadays, the building also hosts the Iași Romanian National Opera.

The Iași National Theatre building is listed in the National Register of Historic Monuments.[8]


With a Neoclassic exterior and a richly decorated interior in Rococo and Baroque styles, the building is considered one of the most elegant in Romania.[9]

The main auditorium is organised in stalls, boxes and a balcony. The curtain painted by the Viennese M. Lenz, presents in the middle, an allegory of life with its three stages and, to the right side, the allegory of Romanian Unification. The left-hand side, painted by Lenz’s apprentice, differs from the rest of the curtain in style and colouring.

The ceiling and the iron curtain were painted by Alexander Goltz. The iron curtain, which completely separates the scene from the hall, shows ornaments placed symmetrically, while the ceiling has as a narrative basis the Archetypal Story, shown in paradisiacal allegories, with nymphs and cupids framed in rococo stucco.[10]

The 1,418 electric lights and the chandelier with 109 Venetian crystal lamps light up a playhouse with a unique architectural personality.


  1. ^ "Articole :: TEATRE, EDIFICII, SOCIETĂŢI ŞI ASOCIAŢII CULTURALE". Imagoromaniae.ro. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-22. Retrieved 2013-10-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Cornis-Pope, Marcel; Neubauer, John (25 February 2019). History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe: Junctures and Disjunctures in the 19th and 20th Centuries. John Benjamins Publishing. ISBN 978-9027234551. Retrieved 25 February 2019 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Solomon Gessner (1850). Mirtil şi Hloe: pastorală : cea întâiu piesă dramatică prezentată în limba română. Tipografia Institutul Albinei.
  5. ^ Țabrea, Dana (20 August 2016). "200 de ani: Mirtil și Hloe". Ziarul de Iași. ziaruldeiasi.ro.
  6. ^ Banham, Martin; Brandon, James (21 September 1995). The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. Cambridge University Press. p. 933. Retrieved 25 February 2019 – via Internet Archive. first first theatre performance Romanian.
  7. ^ "Teatrul National "Vasile Alecsandri" Iasi". En.teatrulnationaliasi.ro. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  8. ^ "The Romanian Register of Historical Monuments in Iași County" (PDF). Patrimoniu.gov.ro. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  9. ^ "IASI, Romania - Travel and Tourism Information". Rromaniatourism.com. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  10. ^ "Istoric - Teatrul-National-Iasi". Sites.google.com. Retrieved 25 February 2019.

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