Cultural institutions

State Opera - Varna

Varna Opera House was registered under the name of Varna Public Opera House on 6th April, 1947 and was officially opened on 1st August of the same year. Stefan Nikolaev was appointed as its first Director and Peter Raichev, the distinguished Bulgarian singer, was invited as the first Art Director.

Being an experienced artist with a good command of the staging and directing process, Peter Raichev selected fifteen young, talented and enthusiastic singers for the soloist cast. An orchestra, a choir and a ballet group were also formed under the leadership of the young conductor Ruslan Raichev, the choir-master Dimitar Mladenov and the choreographer Assen Manolov. The cast, including the stage designers Asen Popov and Vladimir Misin, prepared the first stage production - the opera "The Bartered Bride" by B. Smetana, within less than a month.

In the first two seasons alone, more than ten performances were staged, predominantly titles from the world opera classics - "Madama Butterfly", "Cavalleria Rusticana", "La Traviata", "Tosca", "La Boheme". The history of the Varna Opera was marked by the contributions of many conductors, singers, ballet dancers, composers, directors, choreographers and scenographers.

The summing-up of the fifty-year-record of the Varna opera house amounts to over 200 productions and nearly 7000 performances for more than three millions of spectators! The repertoire is rich and diversified both in genre and style. It covers the major share of the opera heritage from the 18th and 19th century and a number of the 20th century masterpieces of the music stage art. A number of them were produced for the first time in Bulgaria on the Varna stage, among them were; Mozart's "Cosi Fan Tutte" (1960), Dvorak's "The Devil and Kate" (1961), Prokofiev's "Betrothal in a Monastery" (1962), Britten's "Albert Herring" (1964) and "The Beggar's Opera" (1982), Bellini's "Norma" (1972), Rimsky-Korsakov's "The Golden Cockerel" (1973), R. Strauss's "Ariadne auf Naxos" (1975), Rossini's "La Cambiale Di Matrimonio" (1977), "Il Turco in Italia" (1988), Stravinsky's "Oedipus Rex" (1995), the ballets "Spartacus" by A. Khachaturian (1977), "Arabian Nights" by F. Amirov (1983), etc.

In its quest to broaden its audience, the troupe staged a number of operettas, mainly the classics in the genre: Offenbach, Strauss, Lehar, Kalman, etc. The opera house has also staged modern musicals and a number of children's productions.

The Varna Opera is a regular participant in the international music festival Varna Summer and a number of other art forums. The achievements of the casts who staged "The Marriage of Figaro" and "Macbeth" were awarded the Varna Prize. At the National Reviews of Opera and Ballet Art in Stara Zagora, the Varna Opera received awards for the productions of "Prince Igor", "Der fliegende Hollander", "Simone Boccanegra". In 1995 the first production of I. Stravinsky's "Oedipus Rex" received the Premiere of the Year award of the Allegro Vivace show of Bulgarian National Radio.
Scoring success, the Varna opera house performed in Yugoslavia (1965), Czechoslovakia (1968), the Ukraine (1971, 1975), Italy (1975, 1996), Spain (1977, 1978, 1984), Greece (1987, 1989, 1990, 1991-1995), India (1991), Romania (1991, 1993), Egypt (1989, 1990, 1991, 1996), Germany, Switzerland, Austria (1995).

The numerous guest performances of distinguished Bulgarian and foreign singers are a credit to the Varna opera: Gena Dimitrova, Nikolay Giaourov, Raina Kabaivanska, Nikola Gyuzelev, Anna Tomova-Sintova, Maria Corelli, Peter Glosop, Elena Nikolay, Ava June Cooper, Zinaida Paly, Nicolae Herlea, Elena Obrastzova, Vladimir Atlantov, Emil Ivanov, Vesselina Katzarova, Galina Savova, Ivan Konsulov, and others.

In 1999 the Varna Opera House merged with Varna Philharmonic Orchestra and continued its mission as a state cultural institution under a new name - Opera and Philharmonic society - Varna. The halls where the productions and concerts are staged are in Stoyan Bachvarov Drama Theatre (550 seats), Summer Outdoor Theatre - Varna (2400 seats) and Festival and Congress Center - Varna (800 seats).

Varna 9000, 1 Nezavisimost sq.
tel.: +359 52 669 680

Drama Theatre "Stoyan Buchvarov"

The building of the Drama Theatre "Stoyan Buchvarov" is one of the most emblematic and beautiful buildings in Bulgaria. It is one of the city's cultural centres where lots of theatre performances are being organised along with symphony concerts and operas. Drama Theatre "Stoyan Bachvarov" hosts the International Theatre Festival "Varna Summer" held every year at the beginning of June.

A glimpse of history:
The idea for the building belonged to the Mayor Ivan Tserov. The building was designed by Nikola Lazarov and the building works started in 1912. It was finished between 1929 and 1932 with the assistance of the famous architects Dabko Dabkov and Jelyazko Bogdanov. The theatre was named after the prominent actor Stoyan Bachvarov who was its first director.

Varna 9000, 1 Nezavisimost square
tel: +359 52 66 50 22

State Puppet Theatre

In 1951, the community of Varna invited Georgi Saravanov, famous puppeteer, stage designer and director who had laid the foundations of the marionette theatre in Plovdiv (1948) to establish a puppet theatre in Varna. He accepted the invitation, came to Varna and established a group of beginning actors, part of which have graduated from a musical school.

In August 1952, the puppet performance The Duckling by Nina Gernett and Tamara Gurevich was played in the old hall of the Varna Commune theatre with marionettes that Saravanov made by himself. His unique puppets from the first performances can be seen at the Museum of Puppets nowadays.

On 12th July 1985, the theatre was accommodated in a new building in the city centre – a valuable architectural monument that was originally adapted to the needs of a modern cultural institute.

Opening hours: 
Tuesday - Friday: 10:00 - 17:00hrs
Saturday - Sunday: 17:00 - 19:00hrs
Day off: Monday

4 “Dragoman” Str. 
Tel. +359 52 607 844, +359 888 123 604

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