The Opera House in Minsk, Belarus, is officially named the National Academic Grand Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus, but most just call it the Bolshoi Theatre. Originally completed in 1939, the venue was subsequently renovated and reopened in 2009. During the renovation, sculptures were added inside and around the grounds, the stage was slightly moved, modern lighting and audio-visual equipment were installed, and seating was increased. Today the facility hosts ballets, operas, concerts, chamber music, singing competitions, children’s performances, and even a New Year’s Ball.
The Belarusian theatre company is considered one of the foremost in the world and its artists regularly go on tour. From 2010 to 2013 it entered into 23 memoranda of understanding with major opera houses around the world. In recent years the performances of its ballet company have been lauded in Egypt, the UAE, Italy, Mexico, China, Korea, Lithuania, Spain, Paris, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. In 2014, UNESCO awarded the Five Continents Medal to the Bolshoi Theatre in recognition of its considerable contribution to world culture. The Opera House in Minsk offers guided tours, creative meetings, and photo sessions prior to each performance. The tours must be booked in advance and a fee is charged.