Best Ballet Theatres in Europe

Paris Opera Ballet

Paris Opera Ballet

The Paris Opera Ballet, headquartered at the historic Palais Garnier, is celebrated for its legacy that stretches back to 1661 when it was founded by King Louis XIV. It represents the pinnacle of classical ballet tradition in France, showcasing a rich repertoire that includes both timeless classics and contemporary pieces. The company is comprised of highly skilled dancers, many of whom were trained at the prestigious École de Danse de l'Opéra national de Paris. The Paris Opera Ballet performs at two iconic venues in Paris: the Palais Garnier and the Opéra Bastille, offering a variety of ballets such as "Giselle," choreographed by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, and "La Fille mal gardée" by Frederick Ashton.

With a distinguished history, the Paris Opera Ballet continues to contribute significantly to the ballet world under the guidance of its current directorship. The company also engages in educational programs and hosts gala events, enriching the cultural landscape of France. Performances at the Palais Garnier are especially notable for their opulent setting, making attending a ballet there a unique and enchanting experience.

Teatro La Scala

Teatro La Scala

Teatro La Scala, located in the heart of Milan, is one of the world's most famous and prestigious opera houses. With its origins dating back to 1778, La Scala has been a beacon of the performing arts, renowned for its rich history and contributions to the world of opera and ballet. The theatre was originally built to replace the Teatro Regio Ducale after a devastating fire, and over the centuries, it has hosted premieres by some of the most illustrious composers and performers in history. The theatre underwent significant renovations to modernize its facilities while preserving its historical integrity, reopening in 2004 with state-of-the-art acoustics and stage technology.

La Scala's architecture and design reflect the elegance and sophistication of classical opera and ballet. With a seating capacity of 2,030, it offers audiences an intimate viewing experience. The theatre's season traditionally opens on December 7th, marking the feast day of Milan's patron saint, Ambrose. Not only is Teatro La Scala a cornerstone for operatic and ballet performances, but it also serves as a cultural landmark, attracting visitors from around the globe who come to witness its grandeur and to enjoy performances by world-class artists.

The Royal Ballet

As one of the world's preeminent ballet companies, The Royal Ballet, under the directorship of Kevin O'Hare, continues to showcase a remarkable blend of tradition and innovation. Based in the vibrant Covent Garden, London, the company excels in performances that span from 19th-century classics to the unique choreographies by founders like Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan, alongside contemporary works by Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor and Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon. The Royal Ballet prides itself on enriching lives through the art of ballet, maintaining a dedication to supreme artistry, creativity, and stagecraft.

The Royal Ballet is not only a beacon of Britain's cultural heritage but also a dynamic force in the evolution of ballet as an art form. From its home at the Royal Opera House, the company collaborates with world-class dancers, orchestra, choreographers, and creative teams to deliver awe-inspiring theatrical experiences globally. Its extensive repertoire, innovative commissions, and strong ties with The Royal Ballet School underscore its ongoing commitment to refresh and surprise audiences, ensuring ballet's vibrant future.

Dutch National Ballet

The Dutch National Ballet stands out as a leading institution in the ballet world, celebrated for its innovative and versatile programming under the artistic direction of Ted Brandsen. Since its inception, the company has made significant contributions to the art of ballet, both preserving the rich traditions of classical ballet and pushing the boundaries with contemporary works. The establishment of the Junior Company in 2013 marks a commitment to nurturing young talent, bridging the gap between academic ballet education and professional practice. With an array of productions ranging from 19th-century classics to modern creations by resident and guest choreographers, the Dutch National Ballet continues to captivate audiences in Amsterdam and beyond.

Artistic Director Ted Brandsen emphasizes the company's role in keeping ballet relevant and alive for future generations through a repertoire that blends historical masterpieces with cutting-edge choreography. Celebrating milestones such as the 10th anniversary of the Junior Company and the 20th anniversary of Brandsen's artistic leadership, the Dutch National Ballet showcases its commitment to excellence and innovation. The company's collaboration with world-renowned choreographers like Wayne McGregor and the presentation of works by ballet luminaries such as George Balanchine and Hans van Manen highlight its status as a custodian of ballet's rich legacy and a pioneer in the art form's evolution.

The Royal Swedish Ballet – Kungliga Operan

The Royal Swedish Ballet, one of the oldest ballet companies in Europe, is a jewel in the crown of the Swedish cultural scene. Founded in 1773 by King Gustav III as part of a national cultural project, it was aimed at establishing a Swedish presence in the arts, historically dominated by French and Italian influences. The company was inaugurated alongside the Royal Swedish Opera, sharing its prestigious home in Stockholm and marking the beginning of a rich tradition of ballet in Sweden. The Royal Swedish Ballet's history is intertwined with the evolution of ballet and opera in Sweden, having been initially performed by foreign troupes before cultivating native talent, with notable figures such as Charlotte Slottsberg emerging as the first Swedish ballerina known by name.

Throughout the centuries, the Royal Swedish Ballet has continued to flourish, presenting a repertoire that spans from 18th-century classics to contemporary works. Under the leadership of Nicolas LeRiche, the company maintains its commitment to innovation while honoring its storied heritage. The Royal Swedish Ballet performs at the magnificent Kungliga Operan in Stockholm, an iconic venue that also houses the Royal Swedish Opera and the Kungliga Hovkapellet, the orchestra that accompanies the ballet performances. This historic institution plays a vital role in Sweden's cultural life, contributing significantly to the global ballet community.