“Alisher Navoi” Theater

When talking about Tashkent sights one cannot ignore the famous theater named after Alisher Navoi. Academic Theater Alisher Navoi is the largest theater in Southeast Asia. The history of the Alisher Navoi Bolshoi Theater dates back to the 20s of the XX century. The Musical Drama Theater did not have its own building for performances, so the artists had to perform at the Coliseum Circus Theater. It was the only spectacular building erected in the first half of the 20th century. A bit later, in the 30s of the XX century, Russian and Uzbek musical theaters performed here. Even after the reconstruction the building of the Coliseum did not allow to fully realize the plans so it was primarily related to national and major classical performances. It was necessary to build a special building for the theater so then a state competition for the making of the best project was announced. The developed projects were published in the mass media and the public had an opportunity to discuss them. After summing up the competition results the victory was won by Academician Alexei Shchusev who made not only a project for the new theater building but also developed many other projects for Moscow buildings, including the mausoleum on Red Square. Construction work began in 1939 however was suspended in 1942-1944 during the World War. Uzbek artists were invited to decorate the halls and other rooms. At this stage, Japanese prisoners of war from the Kwantung Army who were moved to Tashkent in November 1945 were involved in the construction of the theater as evidenced by a commemorative plaque on the theater’s facade and genuine interest in the building of Japanese tourists.
According to the plan of architects each of the six halls on the sidelines has its own style, which reflects the peculiarities of architecture of the historical regions of Uzbekistan. In the Bukhara Hall, openwork ganch ornaments are superimposed on the mirror pilasters (made by Usto Shirin Muradov). In the decoration of the Samarkand Hall, Gazgan marble was used and two-layer carving “islimi” was used (Kuli Jalilov). The Khorezm hall is decorated with panels that repeat the wood carvings of the Khorezm carvers-craftsmen (craftsman Abdullaev). Termez Hall is characterized by decoration that adorned the palace of the ruler of Termez (craftsman Nigmatov). The Tashkent hall was executed by the craftsman Tashpulat Aslankulov, the Ferghana hall was made by the craftsman Narkuziev. The lobby of the theater is decorated with paintings by Chingiz Akhmarov. The creamy velvet curtains of the stage and lodges are embroidered with a pattern made by Bukhara gold seamstresses according to Shchusev’s pictures. Just in front of the main entrance to the theater, after its construction, it was proposed to make an original fountain. Alexey Shchusev was the one who made this proposal and made it. Just a few years ago the fountain was renovated, now it is decorated with original lighting with musical accompaniment. Residents and guests of the capital of Uzbekistan come to the theater to admire the new “singing” fountain.