National Opera and Ballet of Belarus
The National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus is located in a park in the Trinity Banlieu of the city of Minsk. Local people call it the "Opierny Teatr" (Belarusian) or the "Opera and Ballet Theatre". It opened on 15 May 1933 but it first did not have its own venue for presentations at the Belarusian Drama Theatre building until 1938.
The first permanent theatre was founded in Belarus in 1933 on the basis of the Belarusian opera and ballet school, the organizer of the studio being the famous Russian Opera singer Anton Bonachich (Bonatschitsch) (ru: Антон Петрович Боначич). He was the first head of the new theatre. But he stayed in this position for a very short time, dying in 1933.
The current theatre building was opened in 1939. It was designed by the Belarus architect from Leningrad, Iosif Langbard, whose original design was only partially implemented and some design details were omitted yielding to financial and other problems; the theatre has reliefs done by Zair Azgur.
The first permanent theatre was founded in Belarus in 1933 on the basis of the Belarusian opera and ballet school, organizer of the Studio being the famous Russian Opera singer Anton Bonachich (Bonatschitsch) (ru: Антон Петрович Боначич). He was the first head of the new theatre, but he stayed in this position for a very short time and died in 1933.
Bizet's Carmen opened the theatre on 25 May 1933 with the title role being sung by Larisa Aleksandrovskaya. Several professional soloists and dancers were added to the troupe in the first few years at this location. Swan Lake, performed by K. Muller, was the first show on the stage of the new theatre. By 1940, Bolshoi (Russian for "big") was added to the theatre's name to indicate its expansion. The performances by the theatre company during the "Decade of Belarusian Art" in Moscow in June 1940 was a great success which included the first Belarusian ballet, The Nightingale composed by Mikhail Kroshner, as well as other national operas such as "In the Dense Forest of Palesse", "The Flower of Fortune", and the second verson of "Mikhas Padgorny". Performances continued during the war in Nizhny Novgorod, then known as Gorky until the liberation of Minsk in 1944; after that performances took place in Kovrov.
Enrichment of post World War 2 repertoire and expansion
During this time the repertoire was greatly enriched. The most famous operas staged in this theatre include Boris Godunov by Modest Mussorgsky, Otello and Don Carlo by Giuseppe Verdi, Jacques Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann, Sadko and The Golden Cockerel by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and Lohengrin by Richard Wagner. Socialist realist operas by Belarusian composers such as Yuri Semenyako, Yevgeny Glebov (Your Spring, 1963) and Heinrich Wagner were included. In 1967, the theatre was awarded the title of Academic for its status in the progression of the performing arts.
In 1996 the State Theater was divided into two independent theatres: the National Academic Bolshoi Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus and the National Academic Opera Theatre of Belarus, but in 2008 they once again combined to become the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus.
The building was renovated and it reopened in 2009. Many sculptures were added around the theatre, its stage was slightly moved and audience space expanded. The most up-to-date lighting and motion equipment was added while adhering to the original design. The ballet company is considered one of the foremost companies in the world.
The theatre today
The company tours a lot and it is welcomed in many countries all over the world. In Spain, Russia, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Israel, Portugal, China admirers of opera are well acquainted with the repertoire of this Belarusian theatre. Its participation in the well-known annual German festival known as "Classic Open Air" has already become a tradition.
- History of the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belaraus
- The New Encyclopædia Britannica. Macropædia Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. 1993: "Among the most notable composers has been Kulikovich Shcheglov, who like some of the writers went into exile after the war. Others include Yevgeny Glebov, composer of the opera Your Spring (1963) and the ballet Alpine Ballad (1967), ..."
- Belarus p. 99. Patricia Levy, Michael Spilling (2009): "Opera and ballet are very popular in Belarus, and the state opera and ballet companies perform regularly... The National Academic Ballet Theatre in Minsk is considered one of the foremost ballet companies in the world"
- The Grey Legend returns to the Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus 2011
- National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus Official website (in English)