Raufal Mukhametzyanov
He has been manager of the Tatar Musa Jalil State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet since 1981. In 1982 he was the initiator and organizer of the Chaliapin Opera Festival. Originally an All-Russian Festival, in 1992 the Festival assumed international status and today it is the oldest opera forum in Russia and a genuine cultural brand of Kazan and the Republic of Tatarstan. In 1987 Raufal Mukhametzyanov founded the Classical Ballet Festival, in Kazan. In 1992, at the invitation of Raufal Mukhametzyanov, Rudolf Nureyev attended the Festival and gave his personal permission for the Kazan ballet forum to bear his name.

In 1988 Raufal Mukhametzyanov overhauled the Theatre’s artistic and administrative structure, he broke new ground in Russian theatre management by introducing the positions of Artistic Directors of Opera and Ballet. He introduced a contract system, making possible the widespread use of guest artists and directors from Russia and the world at large.

Since 1991 all opera performances at the Theatre have been sung in the language of the original. From 1994 the Theatre initiated the practice of annual international tours of its opera and ballet companies to the countries of Western Europe (the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Denmark, Spain, Portugal etc.,). As a result of these tours, the Theatre gives over 100 opera and ballet performances abroad per year. The Tatar Theatre of Opera and Ballet productions are very popular in Europe and its touring schedules are booked for several years in advance. In 2011 Raufal Mukhametzyanov was awarded the Order of Friendship for his many years of service in the promotion of the art of theatre in Russia and Tatarstan. Among his many other awards are the Order of Honour (1986), he is a Merited Arts Worker of the Russian Federation and Merited Arts Worker of the Republic of Tatarstan.