The Rousse Opera was founded in 1949. The first production – ‘La Traviata’. by Verdi – was performed. on November 27, 1949. The opera production team with conductor Konstantin Iliev, scene-painter Assen Popov and producer Dragan Kardzhiev left lasting traces in the development of the theater. The rich creative potential of each of the performing ensembles – the orchestra, the choir, the ballet, the soloists and the long-standing collaboration with the most famous names of the Bulgarian opera art briefly turned the Rousse Opera in one of the leading opera theaters in Bulgaria with an advanced repertoire. Many celebrities of the Bulgarian Opera Theater worked on the stage of the Opera in Rousse, namely the conductors Konstantin Iliev, Dobrin Petkov, Romeo Raichev (long-standing chief conductor in the 60’s and 70’s), Boris Hinchev, Michael Angelov, Dimitar Manolov, Ivan Filev, Vesselin Baichev, Georgi Dimitrov, Milen Nachev; the producers Dragan Kardzhiev, Michael Hadjimishev, Evgeni Nemirov, Dimitar Uzunov, Stefan Trifonov, Abram Georgiev Plamen Kartalov Pavel Gerdjikov, the choreographers Assen Manolov, Margarita Arnaudova, Assen Gavrilov, Petar Lukanov, Hikmed Mehmedov; the scenographer Assen Popov, Annie Hadjimisheva, Peter Popov, Venera Naslednikova, Dimitar Kirov, Maria Trendafilova, Ivan Savov, Radostin and Boyana Chomakov, the choir-masters Atanas Dimitrov, Tomina Sindova..
Since its establishment until today the Rousse Opera is permanently connected with generations of outstanding Bulgarian artists who formed the image of the high artistic level of the theater and build its international reputation: Penka Marinova, Nikolay Zdravkov, KIril Krastev, Ivan Dimov, Snezhina Yakimova, Mimi Nikolova, Anna Angelova, Anastas Anastasov, Stefan Dimitrov, Maria Ventseslavova, Penka Dilova, Stefka Evstatieva, Ivan Konsulov, Ivan Kyurkchiev, Emilia Boteva, Galya Gorcheva, Mariana Tsvetkova , Orlin Anastasov..
With its intense creative life the Rousse Opera has always been attractive to stars of a world scale. Artists such as Elena Nikolay, Hristo Brambarov, Todor Nazarov, Nicolay Ghiaurov, Nicola Gyuzelev, Raina Kabaivanska, Gena Dimitrova, had guest-performances on its stage. Anna Tomova-Sintova, Nicolae Herlya Vladimir Atlantov, Gloria Lind, Sylvia Sass, Ava Cooper, Zinaida Pally, Peter Glosop, Octav Enigaresku, Pompei Harasteanu, conductors and directors of the rank of Ude Nisen, Mark Ermler, Rihard Glasup, Jon Ranzesku, Natalia Sats, Manfred Schraube, Matthias Fogt, choreographers such as Giancarlo Vantadzhio, Vitautas Grivitskas, Victor Vlasse, Antal Fodor, Alain Bernard..
The repertoire of the theater has a wide range of stylistic and genre range. .Besides the traditional works of the world opera and ballet classics it includes a large number of modern English and foreign titles performed for the first time in Bulgaria. Some of the major achievements of contemporary opera dramaturgy are the first and only Bulgarian performance of ‘Katerina Izmaylova’ by Dm.Shostakovich in 1965. ,”Tsar Kaloyan” by P. Vladigerov, “Yana’s Nine Brothers” by L. Pipkov, “Ioannis Rex and Maria Dessislava” by P. Hadjiev, “Deer`s Kingdom” by K. Iliev, “Semyon Cotco” by S. Prokofiev, “The Blue bird” by S. Pironkov, “Bayka and the Soldier’s Tale” by I. Stravinsky.
The newest theater productions in the recent years are: “Lucia di Lamermur”, “Aida”, “Nabuko”, “Rigoletto”, “Traviata”, “The Marriage of Figaro”, “Don Giovanni”, “The Italian Girl in Algiers”, “Momchil”, the ballet productions of “Don Quixote”, “Giselle”, “The Goat Horn”, “The Fire-Dancer – with part of which the theater successfully tours on the stages in Central and Western Europe.
The Rousse Opera has recordings in the golden fund of BNR and BNT. It participated in many international festivals: Sofia music weeks, Varna Summer, March Music Days and in Krems (Austria).
The Rousse Opera had guest-performances in Romania, Greece, Ukraine, Italy, France, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal, Germany.
In 1999 the Rousse Opera and the Rousse Philharmonic Orchestra united in Opera and Philharmonic Society – Rousse.