Estonia’s National Opera Act Promotes National Theatrical and Musical Culture :
The Estonian National Opera (Rahvusooper Estonia) is housed in a theatre complex which is also home to the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and the State Concert Institution (Eesti Kontsert) .
In Estonia, the advancement of the country’s national theatrical and musical culture locally and abroad is governed by an act of parliament. The National Opera Act was passed in 1997 (amended 2002).
A Brief History of Estonian National Opera
The original Estonian theatre building was designed in Jugend-classicistic style by Finnish architects Armas Lindgren and Wivi Lonn. The two-winged building in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, catered for theatre on one side and a concert hall in the other. When it was inaugurated on August 24, 1913, the theatre and concert building was the largest structure in Tallinn during that time.
With the outbreak of World War 1 in the following year, part of the building was used to house a military hospital and the balcony side of the concert hall was used as an Orthodox church. The theatre hall had not been taken over by the military and this allowed the actors to continue performing here, although at their own expense.
A new era began in the theatre’s history when the first Estonian Parliament assembled in the concert hall and the building was subsequently reconstructed in 1934.
A Change in Building Design
During the Soviet aerial bombardment of March 1944 the Estonian theatre was destroyed, together with many other buildings. When the building reconstruction took place in the second half of the 1940s, a change in style occurred. One of the new architects Alar Kotir was inspired by the neo-classicism of the 1930s and by the post-war Stalinist-classicism. He tried to preserve the look of the Estonia Avenue facade of the building but totally changed the other facades. The interior was also re-modelled to a more sombre classicist design. Although the reconstruction was completed in 1951, parts were not completed till 1991. Between 2003 and 2005, further improvements were made to the building.
Today the Rahvusooper Estonia has a full programme of operas, ballets and concerts throughout most of the year.
Estonian National Opera
Estonian Avenue 4