Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre, or NOVAT

‘Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre, of NOVAT, its brand name, is the largest one in Russia’. This is how I typically start the downtown tour. When I say ‘the largest’ I really mean it, as it is the biggest theatre building in Russia. Of course, everyone has heard of the Bolshoy Theatre in Moscow or the Maryinsky Theatre in St.Petersburg at least once, but it is worth mentioning here that the whole building of either of them will easily fit inside the great hall of NOVAT.

Not to mention the quality and grandeur of ballets and operas. Russian ballet is famous all over the world for its premium performance and skills of dancers. Russian opera has been gaining popularity recently. In Novosibirsk you can enjoy both opera and ballet of the highest performance quality, but at prices considerably lower than in both capital cities.

The building of the theatre is a real architectural  masterpiece. It is massive and impressive, a typical Soviet so-called Stalin Empire Style building,  perfectly matching the rest of the city. Located in the heart of the city, this grand House dominates the whole area and is visible from the distance of a couple of kilometers.

After the renovation in 2015 the inside of the House strikes the visitor with luxury of its interiors. The Great Hall surprises with its size and very natural-looking copies of famous Greek and Roman statutes like Venus and Apollo. A small but informative exhibition of opera and ballet costumes and delicious coffee and cakes in the theatre cafeteria will make a perfect pre-party.

Besides, mot every Siberian city can boast of an Opera and Ballet house, which makes it a popular travel destination for the locals from the smaller towns.

There are many mysteries connected with and caused by the theatre. They say there are complex and deep underground passageways under the building. What is certain is that there are really 4 levels under the great hall, where costumes are made and kept and where stage scenery is manufactured.

Impressive is the chandelier in the grand hall. It weights about 2 tons, and before the reconstruction nearly 12 hours were needed to put it down to do cleaning or replacement of lamps. Now it can go up and down within minites, though its weight remains the same.

Initially the building was designed as a house of culture and science, which had to include a theatre, a circus and a planetarium under one roof. However, the project turned out to be impossible to implement, and an ‘ordinary’ theatre was built, though of course it is not at all ordinary.

Be sure to include an evening at the theatre into your itinerary for Novosibirsk. The season is September to July, performances taking place basically every day except for Monday. But the exact schedule is always presented in the website:

Tickets are available online, but even if you don’t see any on sale, but you are desperate to visit the theatre, just go there about an hour prior to the performance to try getting a last minute ticket. Lots of pleasure guaranteed!


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