Theatre History Theatre

History Theatre

The Saratov opera and Ballets history embraces over two centuries of creative progress.

Saratov Opera and Ballet inSaratov Opera and Ballet in


In 1803, Grigory Vassilievich Gladkov the landlord founded the citys first theatre for the public at large in Dvoryanskaya Street (now Sacco and Vanzetti St.) where his own peasants were actors.

Gladkovs 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.

Gladkovs theatre in Saratov was succeeded in 1810 by the theatre under the auspices of A.D. Panchoulidzev . the Governor. A building was specifically erected in the citys 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  open-air theatre was built in Saratov to be used as a venue for traveling companies and guest stars. In 1875 it hosted the first Russias 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 by M.Glinka, Ruslan and Ludmilla by A.Dargomyzhsky, Rogneda by A.Serov, Ascolds Grave by A.Verstovsky.

Saratov Opera and Ballet, 1860

Saratov Opera and Ballet 1860

A photo from the company archives

In 1887, Russias 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 A.Pazovski, A.Pavlov-Arbenin , V.Suk.

. . .  .


The first professional company stationed in Saratov was recruited in 1928 to perform Peter Tchaikovskys  Swan Lake , The Sleeping Beauty , The Nutcracker , Laurencia by A.Krein, Sergey Prokofievs  The Stone Flower and Cinderella , and other ballets.

During World War II, the company was strengthened by the Bolshois artists including orchestra members and singers, among them Olga Kalinina (soprano) and Nisson Shkarovski (Chief conductor) who contributed tremendously to the companys 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 Peoples 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 companys leading soprano Peoples Artist of the USSR Olga Bardina evolved to the full; Peoples Artist of the USSR Leonid Smetannikov, Peoples 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 Conductors position has been held by National Award winner Peoples Artist of Russia Yuri Kochnev.

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 Golden Mask 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.


© 2006–2022 «Saratov Opera and Ballet»
All rights reserved.

Contact Information

Russian version


Web-site created by — Mediaproduct

smSupport site —
Company Sitemedia