The Kolobov Novaya Opera Theatre of Moscow, one of the youngest musical theatres in Russia, born concurrently with the New Russia, was founded in 1991 on the initiative of prominent Russian conductor Evgeny Kolobov (1946–2003) and the then chief of the Moscow city administration, Yuri Luzhkov. When creating the theatre, Evgeny Kolobov was 45 and by that time he had worked in some of the USSR’s largest theatres, including the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theatre where he had been artistic director.
For almost fifteen years the Novaya Opera was an outstanding author’s theatre and, moreover, a conductor’s theatre. Evgeny Kolobov’s artistic principles, his uncompromising stand in art and his team of like-minded colleagues made the theatre very popular with the public. The two most important and often converging directions in the repertoire were, on the one hand, the opening of the classical legacy’s unknown pages (the Novaya Opera staged the first Russian productions of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, Catalani’s La Wally, Verdi’s I due Foscari, Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov in the composer’s original version, and Thomas’ Hamlet) and, on the other hand, Evgeny Kolobov’s original versions of popular operatic masterpieces (Verdi’s La Traviata and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin).
Evgeny Kolobov’s untimely death created a need for change. A prominent role at that critical moment was played by Chief Choirmaster Natalya Popovich, conductors Felix Korobov (Chief Conductor in 2004–2006), Eri Klas (Chief Conductor in 2006–2011) and Jan Latham-Koenig (Chief Conductor since 2011).
Today the Novaya Opera’s repertoire has several directions: Russian and Western classics, original shows and divertissements, and operas of the 20thand 21st centuries. The last-mentioned line is becoming increasingly important, giving the name of the theatre a new meaning. Recent years have seen productions of Strauss’ Capriccio (Russian premiere) and Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortileges, Martynov’s The School for Wives, the DIDO project comprising Nyman’s Prologue to Dido and Aeneas and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. Coming soon are Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette and The Nutcracker. Opera (to the Tchaikovsky ballet music). The theatre has made a number of large-scale productions, including the Moscow premiere of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde.