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Opera and Theatres
Latvia boasts a high level of achievement in the performing arts. Many world famous opera singers began their careers on the stage of the Latvian National Opera. Opera lovers are also pampered by foreign artist performances.
Theatre is also dear to Latvians, and is performed in the capital as well as in the regions. Performances are staged by both professionals and amateurs, occasionally bringing in guest directors or performing artists from abroad.
The Latvian National Opera offers a high level of opera and ballet performances. Several of the world’s major opera stars call Latvia home – Elīna Garanča, Kristīne Opolais, Maija Kovaļevska, Marina Rebeka, Inga Kalna, Inese Galante, Aleksandrs Antoņenko, and Egils Siliņš.
The Riga Opera Festival has become a summer tradition which concludes the Latvian National Opera’s season with the musical highlights of the year, and offers a peek at the next season’s productions. Another big summer event is the Sigulda Opera Festival. The main event of the festival is a unique, original outdoor production especially adapted to incorporate the Sigulda castle ruins into the opera’s scenery.
The ballet troupe has been formed in the Russian ballet tradition. This tradition, passed down from generation to generation, gave the world such Riga-schooled ballet stars as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Māris Liepa and Aleksandrs Godunovs. The Latvian National Ballet’s repertoire consists of classical ballets, as well as original ballets written by contemporary composers.
Theatre is a favoured form of Latvian culture. Professional theatres mostly operate in Riga, however almost every Latvian cultural and historical region has a body of professional theatre.
- Liepaja Theatre, Kurzeme
- Daugavpils Theatre, Latgale
- Valmiera Drama Theatre, Vidzeme
An important role is played by independent theatres like Ģertrūdes ielas teātris and Dirty Deal Teatro. They stage a mix of classic works, as well as ones by previously unknown foreign authors and young local playwrights.
Latvia’s largest theatres offer performances in both Latvian and Russian. Sometimes, the performances offer subtitles in Latvian and Russian to increase the accessibility of the audience and aid people with hearing impairments. On select occasions, subtitles or dubbing in other languages may be available.
The repertory theatre season usually runs from September to June. During the rest of the time, theatre can be enjoyed during touring and outdoor performances in various Latvian cities.