Slovene National Theatre Opera and Ballet Ljubljana
The beginnings of Slovene opera performances can be traced back to 1867 when the Dramatic Society was established. The society opened possibilities also for operatic productions which were at first very modest (singspiels, operettas, stage music). Important impulses were given by the singer, conductor and composer Fran Gerbič who improved the music capacities of local actors and musicians.
In 1892 the new building was built. The building hosted two theatres: the German State Theatre (as conductors served in German theatre such conductors as Gustav Mahler and Fritz Reiner) and the Slovene theatre, which now operated on the professional basis. The Slovene ensemble was without an orchestra but with the help of military band they performed also operas and operettas. Both ensembles prepared their own productions and the relation between them was of a positive rivalry.
In 1918 the opera gained a professional orchestra and a ballet ensemble. The most important artistic director was the composer and conductor Mirko Polič. He enlarged the orchestra and ensemble and staged many contemporary operas (I. Stravinsky, S. Prokofiev, E. Krenek, D. Shostakovich, P. Vladigerov, Marij Kogoj) and the basic German repertoire (R. Wagner, R. Strauss).
After the Second World War, the opera continued with successful work. Of special importance was the guest appearance on the Dutch Festival and in Paris with the performance of Prokofiev's opera The Love for Three Oranges. In 1957, the recording of it, under the baton of the renowned Slovenian conductor Bogo Leskovic for the renowned label Philips and rewarded with the grand prix du disque.