Vestibule of St. Sophia Church
The National Opera and Ballet was established in 1947 under the auspices of the then Macedonian National Theatre and has been an active part of culture for over 72 years. In 2004 it was made a National institution by the Government under the name Macedonian Opera and Ballet, and since 2018 it exists as the National opera and ballet in Skopje.
The early founding days were marked by productions that involved professional musicians but also amateurs from the orchestras and choirs working in Skopje. A turning point in the history of the ensemble was the arrival of renowned music director Lovro Matacic and under his guidance the orchestra and choir were fully equipped and his work with the soloists resulted in a constant development and versatility of repertoire especially dedicated to the conquering of the “iron” opera repertoire. The quality of the ensemble was reaching new heights and started making guest appearances in all major cities of former Yugoslavia (Belgrade, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Sarajevo and Novi Sad) as well as in Lodz (Poland), Nuremberg (Germany), Strasbourg (France), Bucharest (Romania), Sofia (Bulgaria), Tirana (Albania) etc.
In 1972 the National opera and ballet establishes the annual festival May Opera Evenings, one of the few opera festivals in Europe, which has since welcomed highly acclaimed soloists and conductors in its 47 years history.
There is a strong bond between the Ohrid Summer festival and the National Opera and Ballet. Namely- the soloist, conductors and ensembles of the Opera and Ballet have been regular guests on the Festival stages in Ohrid, and even the first concert of at the Ohrid Festival on August 4th 1961 was a recital the opera prima donna Ana Lipsa Tofovic. This is a strong token of the dedication and respect that the National Opera and Ballet has for the Ohrid Summer festival.