Latvian National Opera and Ballet
the home of opera and ballet in Riga
The grandiose building was unveiled in 1863, and was originally constructed and utilized as the Riga City Theater building according to the design of architect Ludwig Bohnstedt (St Petersburg). Unfortunately, the building suffered a fire in 1882, which caused major damage. The building’s reconstruction process was overseen by Riga’s chief architect Reinholds Smelings.
The building itself was handed over to the Latvian National Opera in 1919, and in 1922 the first professional ballet ensemble in Latvia joined the opera troupe
The Latvian National Opera and Ballet desires to maintain classical and romantic opera and ballet traditions, however, contemporary forms are now also a stable part of the repertory. Each year, about five brand new opera and ballet productions are mounted.
Many world-renowned music stars have launched their careers at the Latvian National Opera and Ballet, including conductor Andris Nelsons, divas Kristine Opolais, Elina Garanca, Marina Rebeka, and tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko, who have all since captivated audiences in the world’s major opera houses. Whenever these world famous Latvian stars return to perform in their homeland, it is truly a major event.
Meanwhile, the Riga-born ballet superstar Mikhail Baryshnikov returned to his place of birth in 2015 to participate in "Brodsky/Baryshnikov" at the New Riga Theater, directed by the world-famous Alvis Hermanis.
The first Riga Opera Festival was held in 1998 and is the first event of such magnitude in Eastern Europe. It has become a much-appreciated tradition for Latvian audiences as well as foreign opera-lovers. The festival caps the Latvian National Opera and Ballet season every summer by presenting the newest productions.
Summer – Sigulda Opera Festival
In the summer, opera music fans are invited to attend the Sigulda Opera Festival, which always gathers a strong line-up of opera singers, original productions and concerts performed on the open-air stage in the stunning surroundings of Sigulda Castle’s courtyard.
International Baltic Ballet Festival
The International Baltic Ballet Festival is the brainchild of former principal dancer of the Latvian National Ballet, Lita Beiris. Every spring, Beiris without fail puts together a superb line-up of dance performances, combining classical traditions with contemporary styles.