Visiting The Opera and Ballet House in Sofia, Bulgaria
Visiting the Opera and Ballet House is a great activity for both locals and foreigners! However, it somehow remains underrated with lots of people not knowing how rich and interesting their repertoire is. With so many concerts, opera and ballet performances, it is something that you can appreciate and enjoy regardless of your experience and relationship with art in general. With this article, I aim to give you some practical information, tips and insight and to hopefully inspire you to visit the Opera house more often or in case you haven’t visited it yet – to encourage you to give it a try and choose your first performance!
For our visit, we chose to see La Dame aux Camelias – a ballet based on the music by Guiseppe Verdi and the story of Alexandre Duma’s book of the same name. A tragic love story between a desirable Parisian courtesan Marguerite Gautier and a young man Armand Duval that has fallen in love with her. We truly enjoyed the ballet thanks to the live orchestra, beautiful choreography and well-designed costumes and stage art that made for a sublime performance!
Why should you visit the Sofia Opera and Ballet House?
The Bulgarian Opera and Ballet House in Sofia has an impressive calendar with regular performances (about 4 days a week). They also have a wide variety of opera, ballet, and concerts as well as spectacles for children, so there’s a good chance that you will find something just for you and even bring your family or friends along. Actually, there are so many interesting performances that we had a really hard time choosing which one to attend! From Russian to Oriental themes, from Wagner to Verdi and Rossini, there is surely something that will catch your eye and spark your curiosity!
Classical masterpieces from worldwide authors and composers, performed by Bulgarian singers, dancers, and artists with some international guests in a lot of the plays.
A few times a year there are special events organized when the opera performances go outside creating a sublime experience for the audience. Once the magnificent cathedral Alexander Nevsky was used as part of the background in an opera performance, building and implementing the stage around it and looked incredible! There is also regular ‘Opera In The Park’ performances in the last couple of years and this summer there will be a few performances at the natural phenomenon Belogradchik Rocks close to Vidin. I can only imagine how breathtaking it will be!
Visiting the National Opera and Ballet house is a perfect activity for travelers exploring Sofia and looking to emerge into the history and culture of the city. It is also a great idea to bring your foreign friends for a spectacular performance. While the theater is often not an option for tourists due to a language barrier, an opera or ballet is a form of art that can easily be enjoyed and understood regardless of the language. However, they’re not the easiest kind of art to comprehend in general (especially opera), but you can read more about that below.
Lastly, the prices are very affordable and it might be one of the most inexpensive ways to attend an opera or ballet performance in Europe. Prices start from 10 euro and considering that the building and the hall are rather small you will get a nice place and see the stage well even if you are on the balcony.
If I’ve managed to convince you and inspire you to visit the Sofia Opera and Ballet, then here are a few tips that could be helpful (especially if this is the first time you attend an opera or ballet performance):
– Tickets for the plays could be purchased online (there’s also an English version of the website) or at the ticket office located on the right side of the main entrance.
– If you’re attending an opera or ballet for the first time, you would benefit from choosing a light and fun play, that is easy to follow or a story that is familiar. Comedies are a much better choice for newbies, instead of elaborate historic dramas. When it comes to opera and ballet reading a little bit about the story beforehand could make your whole experience better.
– You can buy a leaflet (at the foyer) with information about the play, the artists, and the plot so you can get acquainted with the story before the show starts.
– Before entering the main performance hall, you can leave your coat at the wardrobe space. It is free of charge and the staff is really nice.
– Most performances are between 2 and 4 hours long. This means that there is at least one intermission between the acts. You can use the break to refresh yourself or chat with your friends. If you expect fancy food catering and ladies with formal gowns walking around, you would be disappointed. You can still get a glass of wine and champagne, though, as well as small packaged snacks if you, like me, have sudden chocolate cravings.
– Speaking of fancy attire – do not overdress or underdress. No one wears gowns or tuxedos as it is not such a formal event that it used to be in the past but it is a manner of respect to the artists to dress at least business casual. Maybe I am an old soul but I believe that for such events we should know how to behave appropriate, dress well and don’t be late. We don’t go to the opera every day, so I think that it would be nice to dress up and feel special even just for yourself!
Sofia Opera and Ballet House
Address: 30 Vrabcha str, Sofia, Bulgaria
Monday – Friday 9:00 to 18:00
Saturday and Sunday 10:00 to 14:30
Phone: + 359 2 8006266
It was a pleasure to be a guest of the Sofia Opera and Ballet house! As always all opinions are my own.