The Jugendstil building was designed by Finnish architects Armas Lindgren and Wivi Lönn. It was built as a national effort with the leadership of Estonia society in 1913 and was opened to the public on 24 August. At the time, it was the largest building in Tallinn.
The opera house was heavily damaged in the Soviet air raid on Tallinn on 9 March 1944. It was reconstructed in a classical and Stalinist style, and reopened in 1947.
In 1946, it served as the home of the newly created Tallinn Ballet School and was the location of the debut of one of the graduates of the school's first class, Helmi Puur. She was the prima ballerina of the theater between 1954 and 1956, 1958 and 1960, and 1964 to 1966.