The history of one of the oldest and most famous theaters of the country — the State Big Academic Theatre of opera and ballet named after Alisher Navoy is connected with creation in 1926 of the first national-ethnographical ensemble under the leadership of Mukhiddin Kari-Yakubov. After such musical plays as «Arshin Mal Alan» by U.Gadjibekov, «Rizavarchi» by A.Karmelinsky, «Halima» by G.Zafary had been successfully staged, the troupe was awarded the status of Uzbek state theatre. Many actors with professional vocal technique and acting skills joined the troupe and spectators saw new musical plays on the basis of national melodies and dances. The year of 1939 can be considered the birth of opera theatre when there was launched the first national opera «Storm» composed by the famous Uzbek composers M.Ashrafi and S.Vasilenko. Since 1947 the State Big Academic Theatre of opera and ballet has been housed in a magnificent building designed by prominent Russian architect — academician A.Shusev and built in the center of the city. The interior of the theatre is decorated by Uzbek folk artisans under the leadership of famous Bukhara gunch carver Usto Shirin Muradov.
On the stage of the theatre there performed such brilliant ballerinas as Galia Izmailova and Bernara Kariyeva, the rear soprano Saodad Kabulova.
During the years of its existence the theatre has launched 356 new productions. The high performing level of singers and ballet dancers allows to stage such creations of world musical classics as «Aida» and «Rigoletto» by D.Verdi, «Karmen» by J.Bize, «Jizelle» by A.Adan, «Queen of Spades» and «Swan Lake» by Peter Chaikovsky. At the same time the theatre stages operas and ballets by Uzbek composers. Opera «Dilorom» by M.Ashrafi and ballet «Tamiris» by M.Musaiev have earned the biggest popularity among spectators.
The new season of the State Big Academic Theater of opera and ballet was opened by the premiere of opera «Eugene Onegin» by Peter Chaikovsky. For this performance there was worked out a new scenographic solution and the famous designer K.Yakubova created the costumes.
The Uzbek national academic drama theatre can be rightfully called the eldest among the theatre troupes in the republic. This year it will open its 91st season. The troupe was founded and headed by Manon Uygur who performed as actor, director and playwright. On the stage of the theatre there performed such coryphaeuses of dramatic art as Abror Khidoyatov, Olim Khodjaiev, Shukhur Burkhanov, Sara Ishantruraieva, Lutfikhanum Sarimsakova, Mariam Yakubova, Nabi Rakhimov, and Abid Djalilov.
The theatre has enjoyed high popularity among the spectators after staging such plays as «Bay and batrak» (A Landlord and A farmer) by Hamza and «Maisara tricks» by G.Guliam, historical plays «Alisher Navoiy» by I.Sultanov and «Sohibkiron Temur» by A.Aripov. Invariably successful is the scintillating with wit play «Shum bola» (Mischievous boy) by G.Gulam and play by H.Rasul «Muhabbat sultoni» (Sultan of love). Uzbek spectator has also acquainted with the classics of the world dramatic art. Staged in different years «Antigone» by Sophocles, «Othello» by W.Shakespeare, «Treachery and Love» by F.Schiller, «Marriage» by N.Gogol, «The Living Corpse» by Leo Tolstoy, «Before the sunset» by G.Hauptman were distinguished by the depth of stage interpretation, mastery of acting and original scenographic approach.
Today in the Uzbek drama theatre repertoire there are «Hamlet» and «A Midsummer Night’s Dream» by Shakespeare, «King-Deer» by C.Gozzi, «Natan the Wise» by G.Lessing. New plays directed by V.Umarov: the musical fantasy «Oh, Woman» based on the stories of Uzbek folklore, and lyric comedy «A Parable About Red Apple» are a big success among the spectators.
For centuries Uzbekistan repeatedly experienced the influence of cultural traditions of different countries of the Great Silk Road region. Within the last 150 years the Uzbek stage culture was considerably influenced by the Russian school of acting technique, which contributed much to the formation of professional theatres in many countries of the world.
In 1976 theatre director Mark Vail founded in Tashkent one of the first professional private theater-studio «Ilkhom». The experimental staging of plays by playwrights of «the new wave» A.Vampilov, S.Zlotnikov, S.Bashbekov, C.Guseinov, L.Razumovskiy boosted the popularity of the theatre as really independent creative collective. One of the boldest stage innovations was the poetic fantasy about Samarkand based on the comedy by C.Gozzi «Happy Beggars», where actors brought together traditions of Italian «commedia dell’arte» with tricks of Uzbek maskarabozes. In spite of the fact that during many seasons the play is on, it is very popular among the spectators alongside with such performances as «Philistine Wedding» by B.Brecht and «Tortilia Flat» by J.Steinbeck. The performances by «Ilkhom» theatre were presented at more than twenty international festivals in the fifteen countries of the world. Among the recently staged playswe can name tragedy «Blood Wedding» by G.Lorka, comedy «Love’s Labour’s Lost» by W.Shakespeare, the poetic version of unpublished works by A.Kadiri «White-black stork». The new season was opened by the studio diploma performances: plays «The Death of Ilia Ilich» by M.Ugarov and diptych «Zoo Story» and «Three Tall Women» by E.Albee.
The Academic Russian Drama Theatre of Uzbekistan opened its 71st season with the play «Cherry Garden» by A.Chekhov, which according to the opinion of the theatre chief director V.Shapiro is the most mysterious and complicated among the author’s works.
The repertoire of one of the most interesting theatres — the Youth Theatre of Uzbekistan is addressed to the spectators of different ages. Openness, confidence, sincerity and truthfulness made the theatre productions a success. Among them the plays directed by Nabi Abdurakhmanov: «Constellation of Omar Khaiam» and «Permanent Dancer Sharora» by T.Zulfikarov, «The Canvas Measurer» by L.Tolstoy, «Violinist on the Roof» by Shalom Aleykhum, «Devil Woman» by P.Merime, «Princess Turandot» by C.Gozzi.
The theatre started its seventy-eighth season with the play based on the fairytale by Anderson «The Girl with Matches» and the premiere performance of «Tartuff» by J-B.Moliere.
The experimental stage in the Cultural-creative center «Aladdin» has become the entrepreneurial theatre, the only one of such kind in Uzbekistan. Actors of almost all theatre troupes of the Uzbek capital perform in its theatrical productions. On its stage young directors, actors, dramatists, and ballet masters are given the opportunity to realize their brave creative projects. The theatre «Aladdin» can boast of many successful plays: «A Streetcar Named Desire» by T. Williams, «The Only Heir» by the classic of French comic drama art Jean Francois Regnard, the premier performance «The Dinner Game» (Le Diner Des Cons) by Francis Veber. The play about old Tashkent is being prepared now.
In Tashkent State Theatre of Musical Comedy a lover of operetta or musical can watch classical operetta «Silva» by I.Kalman or «La belle Helene» by J.Offenbach. Very popular among spectators are original comedies by Uzbek authors — «A Crumb» by A.Ergashev and «Aunt, I’m Going to Get Married» by A.Ikramov, musicals by famous Georgian composer G.Kanchely «The kidnapped bride» and «Penelope» by Russian playwright A.Jurbin.
The performances by the Tashkent Young People’s Theatre named after I.Akhunbabaiev are addressed to teenagers, whereas the youngest spectators are welcomed in the Republican Puppet Theatre where they can watch interesting plays as well as visit the unique museum of marionettes.
In Tashkent there are more than ten theatres offering their spectators the performances of various genres, and for any age group.