Opera, Theatre & Ballet
Nikola Lazarov, the architect who designed the National Theatre in Sofia, won a competition to design the theatre in Varna. Initially, his design also included a casino and an open-air stage, but those ideas were inconsistent with the morals of 1912, when the foundation-stone was laid. The ensuring Balkan Wars delayed construction of the remarkable Baroque building. The theatre was finally inaugurated in 1932, and at last the city's professional theatre troupe had a stage to perform on. Nowadays, the building houses bothe the Varna theatre and its opera. In the summertime, it is the venue for an international theatre festival, as well as a musical one called "Varna Summer".
The 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.
Varna Ballet was founded with the establishment of the Varna Opera. The first choreographer was Assen Manolov. Apart from its regular participation in opera and operetta productions and children's music shows, the corps de ballet stages ballet productions. The Varna Opera Corps de ballet has had many tours in Greece, India, Egypt, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Romania.
In the first two seasons alone, more than ten performances were staged, predominantly titles from the world opera classics - "Madamа 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.
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, Summer Outdoor Theatre - Varna and Festival and Congress Center - Varna.