NATIONAL THEATRE OF IASI, 180 YEARS

Romfilatelia proposes to collectors a new topic dedicated to cultural anniversaries, through the postage stamps issue National Theatre of Iasi, 180 years, which will enter into circulation on Tuesday, July 21th, 2020.

A city promoting culture and personalities of great value, Iasi hosted the first theatrical events, starting with 1816, year when the exceptional scholar Gheorghe Asachi organised a first performance with the pastoral work “Mirtil and Hloe”, after Salomon Gessner and Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian.

After more than two decades, Gheorghe Asachi stood out by presenting theatre performances in Romanian, staged with the direct help of students from the Conservatory of Iasi. The posters of the performances were already listing the title of National Theatre. In parallel, French-loving spectators could watch performances that promoted the atmosphere of the Parisian cult theatre.

The idea of creating a prestigious theatrical institution was taking shape, and on March 18th, 1840 a project meant to ensure the “unity of national and French theatres” was authenticated in the form of a contract by which Costache Negruzzi, Vasile Alecsandri and Mihail Kogalniceanu were appointed “managers of the two companies, for four consecutive years”. The contract thus became the birth certificate of the National Theatre of Iasi, the first Romanian theatrical institution.

Along with the three managers, Costache Caragiale was responsible for finding and selecting future actors.

The performances usually hosted in the luxury houses of some wealthy people, culture lovers, finally found a suitable place in 1846, with the inauguration of the Great Theatre in Copou. On the stage of this theatre, upon inauguration, a creation of Gheorghe Asachi was presented – The Battle of the Moldavians with the Teutonic Knights at Marienburg. For 42 years, the seasons included theatre, opera and operetta performances in Romanian and French.

In 1888, the Great Theatre in Copou was destroyed by a devastating fire. After this unfortunate event, Titu Maiorescu wrote to the Minister of Education: “For Iasi, the lack of theatre is a lack that cannot be compared to anything else. It’s as if the borough of Iasi was left in the dark…”

As from 1896, Iasi took proud in one of the most sumptuous and beautiful buildings of this type erected by courtesy of the mayor Vasile Pogor. The theater received, starting with 1956, the name of the poet Vasile Alecsandri.

The postage stamps of the anniversary issue entitled National Theatre of Iasi, 180 years suggestively illustrate the association of the founder’s portraits of the first Romanian theatrical institution: Vasile Alecsandri, Costache Negruzzi and Mihail Kogalniceanu.

On the stamp with the face value of Lei 5, the portrait of the “bard from Mircesti”, Vasile Alecsandri, has as thematic background the image of the National Theatre that bears his name.

The portraits of the other two founding personalities are reproduced on the postage stamp with the face value of Lei 12, in association with the sumptuous image of the great performance hall, with a perspective that follows the background with the curtain of the stage and the very valuable chandelier, with 109 Venetian crystal bulbs.

 Romfilatelia thanks the National Theatre “Vasile Alecsandri” Iasi and the Iasi branch of the Romanian National Archives for the documentary and photographic support granted to the achievement of this postage stamps issue.