Catching a piece at the Navoi Opera is a good way to start an evening in Tashkent. If nothing else, it’s excellent value for money.
The repertoire and production is classic, with a mix of Uzbek and European pieces being performed throughout the year. There is something on most days of the year.
The musical ensemble is great, as are some of the soloists. The glory days of the Navoi Opera are definitely over, most clearly visible in the moves of the supporting roles, and I would not want to guess how little the actors get paid here, but the level is high enough for anyone but the most spoilt culture vulture to enjoy the performance.
You can feel the passion these people have for their art, and there is always a truly moving moment. As there should be. It’s opera, ballet.
Surprise your fellow aesthetes with the following trivia:
- The architect of the opera was Alexey Shchusev, who also designed Lenin’s Mausoleum and the Kazanskaya Railway Station in Moscow.
- Before the opera was planted here, the area was a wine market known as the Drunken Bazaar.
- Construction was halted by World War II, and finished in 1947 thanks to Japanese prisoners of war.
- The Bukhara foyer was decorated by famed Bukharan ganch (stucco) master Shirin Muradov, also responsible for the White Hall in the Sitora-i Mokhi Khosa.
Definitely come a bit earlier to wander the foyers’ plush carpets and admire the stucco, marbles and murals illustrating Navoi’s poetry.
How to visit
- On the map: OSM / Gmaps
- Website has prices, concert schedule and more in English
- Ticket office phone: (+99871) 233-90-81, 232-19-48
You can buy tickets at the kassa in front of the opera. It’s open until 6pm, which is when performances usually start. Their website flaunts online booking, but it hasn’t worked for us yet. Let us know if you succeed.
Prices range from 10 000 to 30 000 sum for a basic seat, with 100 000 sum an upper limit for a box. You can buy a cheap ticket and move to a better seat once the show starts. Shows never sell out.
Shorts, flip-flops and sports shoes are a no-no. Jeans and sports clothes are definitely frowned upon, but you can charm your way in as a foreigner.
Take a stroll through central Tashkent, or along the river behind Independence Square. Or try a meal at the iconic Blue Domes restaurant in the park nearby.