Turkmen Theater of Opera and Ballet

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Turkmen Theater of Opera and Ballet


(full name, Makhtumkuli Turkmen Theater of Opera and Ballet), a theater that opened in Ashkhabad in 1941 and was named in honor of Makhtumkuli in 1956. The theater was originally an opera studio (founded 1937) with vocal and ballet divisions. The first Turkmen opera, Kakhiani’s The Fate of a Bakhsha, was staged in 1941. V. Mukhatov, A. Kuliev, D. Ovezov, and other composers were instrumental in the development of the theater, creating its first musical works in collaboration with Russian and Ukrainian composers.

Early operatic productions staged by the theater included Sha-poshnikov and Ovezov’s Shasenem and Garib (1944) and Aina (1957), Meitus and Ovezov’s Leili and Medzhnun (1946), and two works by Shaposhnikov and V. Mukhatov—the comic opera Kemine and Kazy (1947) and the second version of Zokhre and Takhir (1953). Ballet productions included Korchmarev’s Aldar-Kose (1942) and Znosko-Borovskoi and V. Mukhatov’s Akpamyk (1945). The staging of Meitus and A. Kuliev’s opera Abadan in 1943 was a milestone in the company’s development.

During the 1940’s and 1950’s the theater also turned to world classics; Turkmen-language versions of operas by P. I. Tchaikovsky, N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov, A. P. Borodin, G. Verdi, G. Puccini, and many others have been staged. Works by Soviet composers of other republics include the operas Ker-ogly by U. Gadzhibekov and Keto and Kote by Dolidze and the ballets The Red Poppy by Gliére, Youth by Chulaka, and The Path of Thunder by K. Karaev.

In the 1960’s and early 1970’s, the theater was concerned mainly with the development of the Turkmen repertoire. Young Turkmen composers have been working on musical stage works alongside the older generation. Turkmen operas staged at the theater include Meitus’ Makhtumkuli (1962), Agadzhikov’s Sona (1964) and Night of Alarm (1969), and Nuryev’s Flaming Hearts (1974). Ballets include Ravich and N. Mukhatov’s The Miraculous Doctor (1960), Nurymov’s The Death of Sukhovei (1967), K. Kuliev’s Happiness (1970), Agadzhikov’s Firiuza (1974), and A. Kuliev’s The Heart Found in the Sands (1975). The staging of V. Mukhatov’s opera The End of the Bloody Divide (1967) was a milestone for the musical culture of the republic.

As of 1975, vocalists in the company included People’s Artists of the USSR A. Annakulieva, M. Kulieva, and M. Shakhber-dyeva, People’s Artist of the Turkmen SSR Kh. Annaev, and Honored Artists of the Turkmen SSR A. Alashaeva, R. Gre-khova, E. Korolev, M. Kul’mamedova, A. Kurbanov, M. Mamed’iarov, Kh. Mamed’iarov, N. Ped’ko, and R. Turaeva.

Ballet soloists include Honored Artists of the Turkmen SSR G. Musaeva and A. Pursiianov. N. Mukhatov, V. Momonov, and M. Meredov, all Honored Art Workers of the Turkmen SSR, are the theater’s principal conductors. Directors at the theater have included A. Makarovskii, M. Kepbanov, and B. Seiidov, also Honored Art Workers of the Turkmen SSR. K. Dzhaparov and K. Niiazov, Honored Art Workers of the Turkmen SSR, are the theater’s principal choreographers.

The theater was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor in 1955.


Kerimi, K. Turkmenskiiteatr. Moscow, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.