The Kolobov Novaya Opera Theatre of Moscow, one of the youngest musical theatres in Russia, born concurrently with the New Russia, was founded in 1991 on the initiative of prominent Russian conductor Evgeny Kolobov (1946–2003) and the then chief of the Moscow city administration, Yuri Luzhkov. When creating the theatre, Evgeny Kolobov was 45 and by that time he had worked in some of the USSR’s largest theatres, including the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theatre where he had been artistic director.
For almost fifteen years the Novaya Opera was an outstanding author’s theatre and, moreover, a conductor’s theatre. Evgeny Kolobov’s artistic principles, his uncompromising stand in art and his team of like-minded colleagues made the theatre very popular with the public. The two most important and often converging directions in the repertoire were, on the one hand, the opening of the classical legacy’s unknown pages (the Novaya Opera staged the first Russian productions of Donizetti's Maria Stuarda, Catalani’s La Wally, Verdi’s I due Foscari, Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov in the composer’s original version, and Thomas’ Hamlet) and, on the other hand, Evgeny Kolobov’s original versions of popular operatic masterpieces (Verdi’s La Traviata and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin).
Evgeny Kolobov’s untimely death created a need for change. A prominent role at that critical moment was played by Natalya Popovich (Chief Choirmaster in 1991–2007),conductors Felix Korobov (Chief Conductor in 2004–2006),Eri Klas (Chief Conductor in 2006–2011) and Jan Latham-Koenig (Chief Conductor in 2011–2018, Chief Guest Conductor since 2019).
Today the Novaya Opera’s repertoire has several directions: Russian and Western classics, original shows and divertissements, and operas of the 20th and 21st centuries. The last-mentioned line is becoming increasingly important, giving the name of the theatre a new meaning. The theatre is loyal to its mission of enlightenment. Its recent productions include the Moscow premieres of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, Weinberg’s The Passenger and Britten'sThe Rape of Lucretia, the world premieres of projects commissioned by the Novaya Opera – Martynov’s opera The School for Wives and The Nutcracker.An Opera based on the Tchaikovsky ballet. Strauss' Salome has been staged in Moscow for the first time in 90 years. Among other premieres of recent years are Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette and Faust, Puccini’s La Bohème and Madama Butterfly, Prokofiev’s Maddalena, Shostakovich’s The Gamblers, Humperdinck's The Gingerbread House or Hänsel und Gretel, Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor and Boyarsky's Pushkin.
A new life begins for Evgeny Kolobov’s tradition, revived in 2013, to conduct concerts and dramatized performances in the Mirror Foyer.
The theatre holds international music festivals, such as the Epiphany Festival at Novaya Opera (until 2012, the Epiphany Week at Novaya Opera),the Singing Crossroads Chamber Music Festival; as well as thematic projects: the major Two Worlds of Two Maestros international festival dedicated to the Bicentenary of Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi, and The Different Choral Music Festival.
In 2003, Evgeny Kolobov (posthumously),Natalya Popovich, Head of the Artistic Board in 2003–2013, and Sergey Lysenko, the theatre’s director in 2003–2012, were awarded an RF State Prize for the creation of the Novaya Opera Theatre. In 2006, the Novaya Opera Theatre had the name of Evgeny Kolobov conferred on it.
The Kolobov Novaya Opera Theatre of Moscow is located in the city’s historical centre, the picturesque Hermitage Garden. The remote prototype of the theatre’s new building is the summer Mirror Theatre designed by architect A. Novikov in 1910. Now the Novaya Opera’s building is an integral part of Moscow’s architectural look.