Uzbek Theater of Opera and Ballet

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Uzbek Theater of Opera and Ballet


(full name, A. Navoi Academic Bolshoi Theater of Opera and Ballet), a theater that opened in Tashkent in 1939. The theater was originally founded in 1929 as the Uzbek Theater of Musical Drama and became a theater of opera and ballet in 1939. It was named in honor of A. Navoi in 1948 and was designated an academic theater in 1959; it acquired the title Bolshoi in 1966.

The first Uzbek opera, Ashrafi and Vasilenko’s The Blizzard, was staged in 1939, and Brusilovskii’s ballet Guliandom and Gulière and Sadykov’s opera Leili and Mejnun were staged in 1940. During the Great Patriotic War (1941–15) the theater staged such varied operas as Kozlovskii’s Ulug Beg, Chishko’s Mahmud Torabi, and an Uzbek-language version of Bizet’s Carmen. In 1948 the company acquired a new building designed by A. V. Shchusev and merged with the company of the Ia. M. Sverdlov Tashkent Russian Opera (founded 1918).

During this period the theater also staged Uzbek-language versions of Tchaikovsky’s operas The Queen of Spades and Eugene Onegin, and Sadykov and Glière’s opera Giul’sara. Ballets staged by the theater included Coppélia by Delibes, Don Quixote by Minkus, The Red Poppy by Glière, and Ballerina by Mushel’.

The theater’s repertoire expanded considerably between the 1950’s and 1970’s, including Russian and Western European classics and works by Soviet composers. Particular attention has been devoted to the creation of a national repertoire. Uzbek operas staged in the theater include Ashrafi’s Dilorom (1958) and The Heart of a Poet (1962; in Russian, 1967), Iudakov’s Maisara’s Pranks (1959), S. Babaev’s Khamza (1961) and Eriltosh (1971), Iusupov’s Song of Khwarizm (1964), R. Khamraev’s Light From Darkness (1966) and Before Dawn (1972), Zeidman’s Twelfth Night (1968) and Russian People (1970), I. Khamraev’s Oidzhamol (1969), and Musaev’s Immortality (1974).

Ballets staged included Akbarov’s Dream (1959), Zeidman’s He Who Laughs (1962), Feigin’s Forty Maidens (1967), Leviev’s Sukhait’ and Mekhri (1968), and Ashrafi’s The Amulet of Love (1969), Timur Malik (1970), and Love and the Sword (1974).

Important figures in the history of the theater have included the composer-conductors M. A. Ashrafi and T. S. Sadykov; the conductors N. A. Gol’dman, B. A. Inoiatov, and F. Shamsud-dinov; the stage directors Z. Kabulov, S. U. Mukhamedov, M. Mukhamedov, and M. Tadzhizade (Tadzhiev); and the choreographers Usto Alim Kamilov and Tamara Khanum. Prominent singers have included N. Akhmedova, M. Kari-Iakubov, Kh. Nasyrova, and N. Khashimov.

As of 1976, the theater included the following singers: People’s Artists of the USSR Kh. Nasyrova and S. Kabulova and People’s Artists of the Uzbek SSR S. Ben’iaminov, V. A. Grinchenko, M. D. Davydov, K. Zakirov, P. B. Laut, D. Nizamkhodzhaev, G. G. Khanedan’ian, R. Iusupova, L. E. Iuldashev, and S. Iarashev. Leading dancers include People’s Artists of the USSR G. Izmailova, B. Karieva, and M. Turgunbaeva, People’s Artists of the Uzbek SSR V. A. Vasil’ev, Kh. Kamilova, K. Iusupova, and R. Tanguriev, and Honored Artists of the Uzbek SSR S. Tanguriev, and Honored Artists of the Uzbek SSR S. Tangurieva and G. Khamraeva.

The principal conductor is People’s Artist of the Uzbek SSR D. Abdurakhmanova, and the principal stage director is Honored Artist of the Moldavian SSR G. M. Gelovani. The artistic director of the ballet company is Honored Artist of the Kara-Kalpak Autonomous SSR K. Sagatov, and the principal stage designer is Honored Artist of the Kara-Kalpak Autonomous SSR T. Sharakhimov.

The theater has been awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1937).


Korsakova, A. F. Uzbekskii opernyi teatr. Tashkent, 1961.
Pekker, Ia. Uzbekskaia opera. Moscow, 1963.
Istoriia uzbekskoi sovetskoi muzyki, vol. 2. Tashkent, 1973.


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