Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre

The Perm Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre is an opera and ballet theatre in the city of Perm in Russia. It is one of the oldest theatres in the country, and it has remained a major musical centre during its history, in which many significant art events have taken place. Its ballet troupe is one of the most popular in Russia.[1]

The Perm Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre
AddressPetropavlovskaya st. 25A
Coordinates58.015975°N 56.246052°E / 58.015975; 56.246052
Years activesince 1870
ArchitectR.O. Kavrovsky

The theatre is often named "Tchaikovsky's House", and all stage works of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who was born in the region, are presented in its repertoire: 10 operas and 3 ballets. Festivals of Tchaikovsky's works were notable cultural events of the country.


The theatre was inaugurated on 24 November 1870 with the premiere performance being Mikhail Glinka's A Life for the Tsar. The building was constructed from 1874 to 1879, after which the first performance took place in the winter of 1879/1880. At the time, the general manager was the later famous entrepreneur P.P. Medvedev.

A new epoch in the history of the theatre started in 1896. It received the patronage of the city parliament, which decided to finance the theatre and the opera troupe from the city budget. A board of directors was elected for managing the theatre and inviting the artists.[2] Aida was the first presentation with the assistance of the city.

The first season after the end of the Civil War opened on 20 August 1921. Among the performances were Demon, Faust, Aida, Eugine Onegin, Boris Godunov, Rigoletto, Il Barbiere di Sevilla. Perm had become one of the major operatic centers of Russia by the end of the 1920s.

During World War II, when the Leningrad State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet evacuated its personnel to the city, its performances were given in the Perm theatre. The artists from Leningrad had worked in Perm for three winters and two summers.[2]

In 1956, the Perm theatre was renamed in honor of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and given Academy status in 1969.[3]


The theatre was awarded the National Glinka Award for the performance of Sergei Prokofiev's War and Peace in 1984. Also, the artists of the theatre have got the Golden Mask Award for many performances:

  • 1996: Don Pasquale for Best Actor and Best Actress
  • 1998: The Queen of Spades for Best Set Design
  • 2004: Ballet Imperial for Best Ballet
  • 2009: L'Orfeo for Best Set Design and Best Stage Direction
  • 2010: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich for Best Conductor's Work
  • 2012: To See The Music Special Awards of Musical Theatre Jury[4]
  • 2013: Così fan tutte for Best Opera Director
  • 2013: Medeamaterial for Best Opera Actress[5]


Many opera premieres in Russia were given in this theatre: Edison Denisov's The Foam of Days, Jules Massenet's Cléopâtre, Claudio Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, George Frideric Handel's Alcina, Antonín Dvořák's Rusalka, Rodion Shchedrin's Lolita, Anton Rubinstein's Christ, Alexander Tchaikovsky's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Five operas based on Pushkin's works were presented during the 200th anniversary year of the poet.

The theatre held the first festival in the 20th Century of the Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev's work, where it opened with a two-evening version of the opera War and Peace and gave stage life to the opera The Fiery Angel.


There is a good tradition of collaboration with directors and choreographers from Germany, United States, Spain, and Switzerland on the Perm stage. Due to long-term projects between Russia and United States in collaboration with The George Balanchine Foundation and The Jerome Robbins Foundation, the repertoire of the theatre gets many masterpieces of the most distinguished choreographers of the 20th Century.

For many decades the theatre has been the launch site for many artists who are famous far away from Russia. Many stars of Moscow and Saint Petersburg theatres and other famous theatres of the world have begun their careers in the Perm theatre. Among those artists are: Galina Ragozina-Panova, Lubov Kunakova, Nadegda Pavlova, Olga Chenchikova, Marat Daukaev, Yuri Petuhov, Galina Shalyapina, Svetlana Smirnova, and Monica Loughman.


Arabesque is a ballet competition headed by Vladimir Vasiliev, which has taken place in Perm since 1990. More than 650 young ballet artists from Russia, former republics of the USSR, Austria, Argentina, Bulgaria, Belarus, China, Croatia, Egypt, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Mongolia, Slovenia, South Korea, Turkey, United States and Venezuela have participated in it.[6]

International festivals known as the "Diaghilev Seasons: Perm-Petersburg-Paris" have become some of the most visible events in the cultural life of Russia. The festival has taken place in the theatre every two years since 2003.[7] Georgy Isaakyan was an art director of the festival until 2010, but the new art director of the theatre Teodor Currentzis will replace him on this position.

Concert tours

The ballet troupe successfully performs abroad under the name of The Tchaikovsky Ballet. Promotion of the opera troupe in the United States began with a performance of Mazeppa in Carnegie Hall in January 2008 using the name The Tchaikovsky Theatre.

There were many concert tours in Saint Petersburg and Moscow which always drew a wide response. The artists of the Perm Theatre have participated in many festivals, such as White Nights Festival on the stage of Mariinsky Theatre, Baltic Seasons in Kaliningrad, Panorama of Musical Theatres in Omsk and Crescendo on the stage of Bolshoi Theatre.


The famous pilot Valery Chkalov visited Perm in February 1937 and went to a performance of Eugene Onegin. The singer in the role of Tatyana bent forward towards a candle, and her wig caught fire. Then Chkalov, who was sitting in a side directorial box, jumped out onto the stage, plucked the wig from the actress, and extinguished it. Chkalov wrote in the guest book after the end of the performance: "Wonderful performance. Good voices. Excellent choir… I wish the delightful team of the theatre every success in subsequent work!"

Arts management

  • Teodor Currentzis – art director
  • Marc de Mauny – general manager
  • Galina Polushkina – executive director
  • Valery Platonov – general conductor
  • Alexey Miroshnichenko – general ballet master
  • Vitaly Polonsky – general choirmaster



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