History of the Theatre

Long before the appearance of regular opera in the city, individual opera performances were given in Kazan from the end of the 18th century. On 26th August 1874, the artists of the Kazan Opera Company, assembled by the famous entrepreneur Pyotr Medvedev, gave their first performance of Glinka’s opera A Life for the Tsar (Ivan Susanin) in the city and it is this date which is considered to mark the beginning of regular opera seasons in Kazan. Virtually all the well-known Russian, Italian, German and French operas were regularly performed in Kazan, before the Revolution. Famous singers from Moscow, Petersburg and Europe were invited to take part in these performances (and it is not without interest that today the Theatre has returned to this practice of inviting guest singers, dancers and conductors to participate in its repertoire productions).

Tatar opera which traces its history back to 1939 took shape on fertile soil. The graduates of Moscow’s Tatar opera studio formed its base and its trump card was the outstanding composer Nazib Zhiganov. The modern Theatre building on Kazan’s Freedom Square opened on 28th September 1956 with a performance of Zhiganov’s opera Altynnchech (The Golden-haired). In the same year the Theatre was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union and the title of Musa Jalil, the poet who from 1939-1941 worked at the Theatre as Head of its Literary Department. In 2005 the theatre building underwent major Reconstruction, as a result of which its technical equipment was brought up to European standards.