Latvian National Opera House on 3 Aspazijas Boulevard, without exaggeration, is one of the architectural symbols of the capital of Latvia. Opera traditions are present in Latvia from the XVIII century, when musical performances were staged at court of the Duke of Courland and wandering opera companies came to Riga. The first Latvian opera was founded in 1912 by Pavuls Jurjans.
The building of the Latvian National Opera House was built in 1863 as the Riga City Theatre, designed by architect Ludwig Bohnstedt. He was the one who made the building acquire its classical form and resemblance to the ancient Greek temple. Facade of the Opera House features a portico of six Ionic columns and statues of allegorical figures. In just 20 years a big fire happened, which destroyed mainly the interior of the building. In 1885-1887 an architect Reinhold Schmeling added some eclecticism to the interior. In 1919 Latvian National Opera and Ballet moved into the building, as previously it didn’t have its separate place.
A decision on the need for reconstruction of the building was made in 1990. In order to accomplish this task, the Ministry of Culture of Latvia created a special Construction Directorate of the Latvian National Opera House. Major works on the reconstruction and restoration of the building were made by AS “Būvuzņēmums Restaurators”. Sometimes these were carried out in quite extreme conditions, because the building had no roof for a while. The auditorium had been warmed by special gas devices in order to continue the workflow, even during the cold season.
The building was opened after the reconstruction in 1995, and today, more than 20 years later, the staff of AS “Būvuzņēmums Restaurators” are pleased that, despite the non-standard working conditions, decorations of the Great Hall and The Dress Cicrle Hall, which were restored by them, look almost the same as at the time of their installation.