The theatre was founded in 1920 by the Society of Lithuanian Art. The first performance of the theatre, "La Traviata" by Verdi, took place on the stage on December 31, 1920. Very soon the theatre became famous for its superb troupes of singers. Italian operas dominated in the theatre repertoire. Its soloists successfully performed on the stages of Paris, Milan, Rome, Prague and other European capitals. The repertoire of ballet troupe included "Giselle", "The Swan Lake", "Coppelia" and other gems of the world ballet art. Lithuanian theatre was the first to present "Raymonda" ballet, Petipa's choreography masterpiece, to the West.
World War II and nazi occupation painfully affected the theatre and disturbed its work. The Lithuanian theatre lost half of the ballet and opera troupes, perfect conductors, chorus masters, stage designers and composers. Nevertheless, the theatre survived and became an important center of national culture. After the end of the war, it started to function again, and soon became one of the most famous stages of the former Soviet Union. Modern technical equipment allowed new possibilities for productions, and the repertoire was extended.
Today the performances of the Lithuanian theatre are appreciated in most European countries. Opera and ballet troupes leave for touring almost every year. The most famous performances of the theatre are "Don Carlos", "Nabucco", "Lucia de Lammermoor", "Romeo and Juliet", "Carmen", "A Midsummer Night Dream", "The Swan Lake". Recently the ballet repertoire was renewed by such premieres as "Macbeth", "Daphnis and Chloe", "Caligula".
Opera and ballet productions of the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre are often included in the programs of different international festivals; the soloists are welcomed guests on the stages of European capitals. Recently the theatre celebrated its 80th anniversary.
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