Latvian National Opera. The impressive white building surrounded by beautiful park was built in 1860-63 to house German speaking theatre and eventually Latvian artist also performed here. The Latvian has produced great artist like ballet star, Mikhail Baryshnikov. The National Opera building was the first given renovation after independence in 1991, it was very important to restore Latvian identity and culture. Today performances include ballet, opera and others are held here.
The National Opera House is set in a lovely position overlooking some very nice Parks and gardens.
The Theatre is affectionately known as “The White House,' and when viewing it, I could see why!
An old German Theatre once stood here, but after a fire in 1882, this new Theatre was built in 1863, then becoming the National Opera House in 1919.
From 1837 to 1839 Richard Wagner was Music Director and amongst its founding fathers.
It's the main venue in the country for Opera.
It is easy to be cultured in Riga. Like most former socialist countries, enormous emphasis was placed on promoting and popularising the performing arts, and one of the happy outcomes of this focus is that 'culture' is not seen as being the sole preserve of a priveleged elite.
Looking at the tourist literature, it seems as thought the summer in Riga is one long procession of festivals - to give you an idea, we were there during the opera festival, which came after the ballet festival but before the international music festival, the film festival and the contemporary music festival!
Ticket prices are reasonable compared to what you would pay for similar events in Western Europe or North America, but be warned that the combination of affordable tickets and a well developed local interest in the performing arts means that performances sell out quickly.
The National Opera in Riga is where I first went to the opera and where I learned to enjoy it. The Opera in Riga is very high class, and if you in any way enjoy operas, operettos or ballet, do make sure you fit in an evening at the opera.
Prices are decent, from a few LVL to about 35 LVL a piece. There are also internationally renowned dancers and singers there every now and then, and the Latvian dancers and singers are also very talented. Opera and ballet are also not entertainment enjoyed only by a precious few but something all ages relish. It is not unusual to see children going to the opera or ballet together with their parents or grand-parents.
Notice that the opera is a place to dress up for, so do put on your Sunday best.
Located by the Ridzene canal, the Opera building dates back to the 1860s, when it was first built, and opened in 1863. A fire in 1882 destroyed much of the building and so it was rebuilt and reopened in 1887. Until the 1970s, only minor touch-ups were done. In the 1970s it was realised it needed to be modernised to meet the demands of present day opera. Research and planning work continued into 1990, when the opera closed for 5 years for the renovation. In 2001 an annex was opened, providing much needed new space.
When you go there, enjoy the classy interior. It is impossible not to notice the love with which it was renovated and redone.
White, surrounded by park, fountain, small river and sculptures, Opera looks great. The opera was designed in the second half of 19th century and from first years started to be used for the main opera and ballet events in country.
In 1912 under the guidance of conductor Pavuls Jurjans (1866 - 1848) the first true Latvian opera company is born - the Latvian Opera (Latviesu opera).
...I suggest you take a day to explore Riga City Centre;
- walk around the Old Town on your own or join a walking tour
- enjoy the parks if the weather allows
- go to the market located in three old hangars
- go to the numerous museums around
The Occupation Museum by the House of the Blackheads in the Old Town is a rather gloomy place so it is a good idea to round it off with something fun at the end.
I am partial to traditional Latvian cooking so I always go for a meal at Lido - either in the city centre or the one just shy of the city centre.
If you have the time and inclination, a night at the Opera is also worth splashing out on. Remember to dress formally, though :)
Info about walking around the Old town in my Travelogue.
Info about the market among my shopping tips.
Info about Lido among my restaurant tips.
Info about the Opera among my things to do tips.
The National Opera houses mainly opera and ballet performances, but some pop concerts have taken place there like A-ha. The building was constructed in 1860 as the German Theatre. Later it chanced name to the National Opera, but the building is also called the White House. The National Opera is located by the city canal. And the Nymph of Riga fountain from 1888 is in the front of the building.
The National Opera was constructed between 1860 - 1863, but then had the name the German Theatre. The outside has got a classical design and the inside has got a baroque style. The acoustic is good and there are mainly opera and ballet performances, but also pop concerts sometimes. If you don’t attend one of the performances you take a guided tour of the opera or visit the café.
The opera is situated by the city canal with nice walkways. In front of the opera there is a fountain called the Nymph of Riga. It is from 1888.
In the city centre of Riga there are a few parks, and at least one you should not miss on any account, and that is the park that runs along the Pilsetas canal (also called Ridzene canal, which is assumed to have given Riga its name), alongside the Basteja Bulvaris on the one side and the Raina Bulvaris on the other.
This is the park which you cross when going from the Old Town towards the Statue of Liberty and Riga Hotel, and the close to which the Opera is located.
Just off Basteja Bulvaris, close to the Jekaba Kasarmas (Jabob's barracks), there is a small part of the park that is called little Paris, which is distinguishably by the little hill-top and the lovers that often walk there - Paris naturally being the romantic capital of the world.
This has now been reinforced, as lovers' locks have now been put on the railings of a small bridge, the locks engraved with the lovers' names and locked to the railing to symbolise the eternal nature of the relationships thus committed to.
The park offers a nice stroll along the canal on sunny days, but it does have a sinister past too. During the occupation of Riga by the Russian army in 1991, a few people lost their lives in this park, and not far from little Paris, by the canal, there is a stone commemorating the dead. Usually, flowers mark this particular stone.
The Latvian National Opera is a repertory theatre which performs opera and ballet in a season that runs from September to the end of May.
In the course of a season, the LNO will perform approx 200 performances. In a year, generally six new productions will be made, shared across both artforms. Since 1997 the annual Riga Opera Festival takes place over 2 weeks in June.
The festival is a showcase for the season's new productions and repeats of former successes. The closing of the season's performance in the Cesis castle grounds has become a tradition, as have guest performances in other Latvian rural cities during the summer. Since 2005, the LNO features a series of special summer performances at the height of the tourism season in August so that visitors to Riga can share the experiences that the inhabitants grow accustomed to throughout the year.
The LNO has more than 600 full-time employees. Of those, 28 are opera soloists, 105 orchestra musicians, 62 chorus members and 70 ballet dancers.
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