From Odesa to the West End: Golda the musical

Golda Amirova’s Jewish journey of courage, comedy and conflict


Golda the musical (Photo: Tatiana Gorilovsky)

Two days before Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, Golda Amirova was on stage in Kyiv starring in a musical about her upbringing in a vibrant Jewish family in Odesa.

She fled Kyiv with one suitcase and tonight, two years after her escape, she’s on stage in a West End musical that chronicles her journey from the land of her birth to London, via Israel.

Her new show Golda is a “mix of Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Bob Fosse and old Hollywood” and includes the songs Shma Israel, Am Israel Chai and Hatikva, says the 30-year-old singer.

“There are two sides of my heart, Jewish and Ukrainian,” she says.

When the war hit, Amirova was well on her way to stardom, having, in 2019, reached the final of Ukraine’s The Voice with a rendition of her grandmother’s favourite Yiddish song Bei Mir Bist Du Shein. Her music blends, she says, Ukrainian, English, Hebrew, Russian, and Yiddish melodies with Odesa humour.

Born to an Ashkenazi mother and a Mountain Jew father, she changed her first name from Tetyana to the more Jewish-sounding Golda at the age of 22.

After Putin’s invasion, some of her family moved to Ashdod, in Israel. She also spent time in Israel, but then came to London and after four months with a host family now flatshares in St John’s Wood where she attends the local shul. She has also forged close ties with Chabad Belgravia.

The musical has been in development for a year and premiered at Notting Hill’s Tabernacle Theatre in November.

One day, she hopes to take her show that “spans love, loss and resilience” to the land of her birth. “My dream would be to perform at the opera house in Odesa.” In the meantime, she is already in conversation with a theatre in Tel Aviv about staging Golda in the Jewish state.

GOLDA: A Musical Story of Love, Loss and Resilience will be at the Theatre Royal Haymarket Sunday 17 March

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive