Estonian and Latvian Opera Trade Places

19. January 2011

A series of Latvian National Opera performances kicks off a week-long engagement in Tallinn on January 18 while the Estonia Theatre's company is to be found performing in Riga.

Opera and ballet are beloved of Rigensians and the national love affair showed no signs of wearing off during the recession - last year attendance was 144,000, 3 percent more than in 2009. 

Large billboards in front of the National Opera in Riga announce the Estonia Theatre's engagement in the Latvian capital. 
There is no outward sign of financial trouble, even though state support dropped by one-quarter last year.
Major sponsors will provide more than 700,000 euros of support for Latvian National Opera in 2011. The average ticket cost less than 10 euros last year, although the performances of "Giselle", "The Bright Stream", and "Eugene Onegin" and "Madame Butterfly" in Tallinn from January 18 to 23 will fetch around 50 euros per seat. 
"Opera here has a venerable history stretching back to the 19th century," Latvian National Opera director Andrejs Zagars told ETV. "Due to cultural policy and location, German and Russian influences can be felt in Latvian opera. Latvia's singing traditions and musical educational opportunities along with general cultural influences are what determine our place in the international music world."
The Latvian National Opera will perform "Giselle" on January 18 followed by "The Bright Stream", a trenchant look at idyllic life on a kolkhoz, on January 19. The Latvian National Ballet will perform  "A Midsummer Night's Dream" on January 19.
The Estonia Opera will guest perform in Riga from January 18-23, with "Love For Three Oranges" and "Cosi Fan Tutte" and ballets "Three Musketeers" and "La Sylphide".