Klaipėda State Music Theatre (KSMT) is the largest professional performing arts institution not only in Klaipėda but also in western Lithuania. It was established in 1987, in place of the reorganized Klaipėda People’s Opera Theatre, with an aim to present musical theatre performances at the highest standard. Over more than three decades of its activity the theatre has produced well over a hundred stage works in various genres, including operas, music dramas, operettas, musicals, ballets, contemporary dance performances, and musical performances for kids. Besides serving as a testing ground for the fresh talent, the KSMT often recruits acclaimed theatre artists and international production teams.
The theatre now has a personnel of 238, including 17 opera soloists, 37 choir singers, 22 ballet dancers, 66 orchestra musicians, administration, front of house staff and production services. In 2018, Laima Vilimienė was appointed General Manager of the Klaipėda State Musical Theatre. Tomas Ambrozaitis currently serves as Chief Conductor of the KSMT Symphony Orchestra, Vladimiras Konstantinovas as Chief Choirmaster of the KSMT Choir, and Aurelijus Liškauskas as Chief Choreographer of the KSMT Ballet Company.
Since 2018, the theatre’s building has been undergoing a major renovation. The newly built section will have the Main Auditorium with an audience capacity of 700 and the Chamber Hall of 200. The refurbishment will also encompass the installation of an up-to-date sound, lighting and stage equipment and new rehearsal spaces. The renovation project also aims to retain original post-war elements in the architecture of the building. The reopening is planned for 2023.
Eeach season the theatre offers a calendar packed with performances, 2–4 premieres of new productions, concerts and tours in towns of the coastal region and major venues around Lithuania. In summer 2020 the KSMT mounted an extraordinary production of Richard Wagner’s Flying Dutchman on the site of the historic Paul Willy Lindenau Shipyard in Klaipėda. Hailed as one of the country’s most celebrated cultural events of the year, it sparked the idea of launching a new annual summer festival for opera and classical music in Klaipėda and using the scenic location as its open-air stage. The 1st Klaipėda Festival inaugurated in summer 2021.