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The Saratov opera and Ballet’s history embraces over two centuries of creative progress.
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Grigory Vassilievich Gladkov
the landlord founded the city’s first theatre for the public at large in Dvoryanskaya Street (now Sacco and Vanzetti St.) where his own peasants were actors.
Gladkov’s theatre could boast of a huge repertoire: in 1806 alone, premiered were 28 comedies, 27 operas, 3 dramas, and 3 tragedies. In 1807, however, the company moved to Penza where a small theatre was built to host the performances.
Gladkov’s theatre in Saratov was succeeded in 1810 by the theatre under the auspices of
. the Governor. A building was specifically erected in the city’s main square Khlebnaya, which for that reason was renamed Teatralnaya. For long years since, the theatre was the one and only establishment in the region to promote scenic art.
In 1860, an
theatre was built in Saratov to be used as a venue for traveling companies and guest stars. In 1875 it hosted the first Russia’s opera company directed by
Peter Medvedev the renowned actor and entrepreneur. The bulk of their repertoire comprised works of Russian composers, among them,
A life for the Tzar
Ruslan and Ludmilla
Saratov Opera and Ballet
A photo from the company archives
In 1887, Russia’s most prominent conductor Ivan Palitsyn took charge of the company. In later periods the company had the privilege to perform under the batons of brilliant conductors
The first professional company stationed in Saratov was recruited in 1928 to perform Peter Tchaikovsky’s
The Sleeping Beauty
by A.Krein, Sergey Prokofiev’s
The Stone Flower
, and other ballets.
During World War II, the company was strengthened by the Bolshoi’s artists including orchestra members and singers, among them
Olga Kalinina (soprano) and
Nisson Shkarovski (Chief conductor) who contributed tremendously to the company’s success at the time.
In 1956, the company guest performed in Moscow to gain a high acclaim with the metropolitan mass media. In1959, a production of Rigoletto made an event of the season , giving a fabulous start to the principal singers Yuri Popov (Rigoletto) and Galina Kovaleva (Gilda), the then recent graduates of Saratov Conservatoire, who were later on awarded honourable titles of People’s Artists of the USSR.
In 1977, Saratov Opera once again made the Bolshoi audience admire the series which gained the company a designation of an «Academic Theatre».
It was during that period that the talent of the company’s leading soprano People’s Artist of the USSR Olga Bardina evolved to the full; People’s Artist of the USSR Leonid Smetannikov, People’s Artists of Russia Alexandra Rudes (mezzo-soprano) and Nelly Dovgaleva (soprano) were also in the prime of their remarkable careers.
As from 1975 until now, the Chief Conductor’s position has been held by National Award winner People’s Artist of Russia
In 1986 the company launched, and has ever since hosted, the Annual
Sobinov Festival of Music.
In 1997 the production o
Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
by Shostakovich was presented at the «
» National Festival, where Yuri Kochnev was awarded a «Golden Mask» Special Prize in the nomination of «the best conductor», for his masterful and spiritual rendition of Shostakovich.