Many opera and ballet performers from the Latvian National Opera are now widely recognised around the world, and now they delight audiences in the most famous opera and ballet houses on the planet. Māris Liepa, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Aleksandrs Godunovs made their first steps on the stage of the Latvian National Opera, as did the renowned coloratura soprano Inessa Galante, mezzo soprano Elīna Garanča, sopranos Inga Kalna, Kristīne Opolais and Maija Kovaļevska, tenor Aleksandrs Antoņenko and bass-baritone Egils Siliņš. But the opera and ballet soloists are not the only ones to have become recognised around the world: outstanding performances during guest appearances or concert tours have also been given in front of audiences abroad by the ballet company, which was formed in the best traditions of Russian classical ballet and continues to be committed to them, the opera chorus, and productions have boldly been submitted to directorial experimentation.
Theatre arts are also highly developed in Latvia. There are several theatres in Latvia with excellent actors: the Daile Theatre, the Latvian National Theatre, the Daugavpils Theatre, the Liepāja Theatre, the Valmiera Theatre and even a Puppet Theatre. The New Riga Theatre and its artistic director, Alvis Hermanis, deserve a special mention. Hermanis produces plays in other European theatres as well. Also noteworthy is the Mikhail Chekhov Riga Russian Drama Theatre, which will open its 128th season in the autumn of 2010 in the newly renovated historical building, which is now being recognised as the most advanced theatre building in Northern Europe. The Riga Russian Drama Theatre is the oldest professional Russian-language theatre company outside Russia.
The Latvian New Theatre Institute organises international theatre festivals and master classes that are well attended, as they bring world-famous playwrights, directors and choreographers to Riga. The Baltic International Ballet Festival, traditionally held in April, also enjoys high esteem. For one week in 2010, all imaginable trends in global ballet and dance arts, great appearances and heartfelt applause could be experienced for the fifteenth time in Riga.