This charming theater puts on productions that, at their best, rival those at the Mariinsky. As far as opera is concerned, the Russian repertoire is the theater's strong suit, but it occasionally strikes gold with Italian works as well. Although the company hosted the world premieres of Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk in 1934 and Prokofiev's War and Peace in 1946, the works of these composers are now absent from the repertoire, which focuses heavily on 19th-century classics. Highlights include Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades, Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride, Borodin's Prince Igor, and Tchaikovsky's Iolanta.
The company's strong dance division is deservedly rated the second-best in town. The classical fare includes Swan Lake, Giselle, La Esmeralda, and Don Quixote as well as some jewels of Soviet-era choreography, like Khachaturian's Spartacus and Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet.
Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato became the artistic director of the ballet company in 2011 and stages several premiere's of his new work each season. Ballet and opera are both generally performed September through June or July.