Artistic Director

Valentin Elizariev

People’s Artist of the USSR
Laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus


Valentin Elizariev’s artistic career began at the Vaganova Leningrad Academic Choreographic School (graduated in 1967) and Rimsky-Korsakov Leningrad State Conservatory (graduated in 1973). In 1972 he won the all-union ballet competition in Moscow. In 1973 he was invited to the State Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of Belarus as the principal choreographer.


In his first works he announced himself as an artist, whose creativity and talent go hand in hand with the eternal problems of concern to mankind. In Belarus he staged productions, which became an epoch in the development of the national choreographic art. Among them: Carmen Suite (1974), The Creation of the World (1976), Till Eulenspiegel (1978,2004), Spartacus(1980), The Nutcracker (1982), Carmina Burana (1983), Bolero (1984), The Rite of Spring (1986, 1997), Romeo and Juliet (1988), Don Quixote (1989), Passions (Rogneda) (1995), The Firebird  (1998), The Sleeping Beauty (2001). Elizariev’s productions had been professionally acclaimed by the musical and theatrical community as a phenomenon, whose importance goes far beyond the national art. They made him one of the most interesting figures of the European ballet theatre of the twentieth century and became a classic of the modern choreography.


From 1992 to 1996 Valentin Elizariev held the position of the artistic director of the ballet company of the Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus. From 1996 to 2009 he occupied the post of the director and artistic director of the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre. Since September 2018 he is artistic director of the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus.


In 1993 Valentin Elizariev was awarded the special prize for the best choreography at the 7th International Ballet Competition in Moscow.  


In 1996 he was awarded the title “Best choreographer of the year” and prize “Benois de la Danse” in Paris. This event caused a global public attention.


Twice he was awarded the Special Prize of the President of the Republic of Belarus for the achievements in the sphere of choreographic art and the contribution in the development of the foreign relations of the Republic of Belarus (1998, 2001). In 2001 he received the Letter of Official Thanks of the President of the Republic of Belarus for the participation of the theatre in the Days of the Republic of Belarus Culture in the Russian Federation. Elizariev is a recipient of the Francysk Skaryna Medal (1997) and Orders of Fatherland III and II degree (2003, 2007).


From 2003 he is a member of the Council of Europe in the sphere of culture.


Among his awards: the title “Honourary Citizen of the City of Minsk” (2007),  National Theatre Award (2011), main prize of the Union of the Theatre Workers of Belarus “Crystal Paulinka” (2012), UNESCO's Five Continents Medal (2016), title "The Person of the Year" (2017). Valentin Elizariev is also a winner of the Union State Literature and Art Award 2017-2018.

Recipient of the special prize for contribution to the development of the theatre arts of Belarus in the 6th Republican Contest "National Theatre Prize" (2021).

Valentin Elizariev also staged productions in Leningrad (Till Eulenspiegel at the Kirov Leningrad Opera and Ballet Theatre), Moscow (Moods at the Bolshoi Theater of the USSR, Classical Symphony and Poem for the State Concert and Choreographic Ensemble ‘Classical Ballet’), Ljubljana (Giselle at the Opera and Ballet Theatre), Istanbul (Don Quixote at the Opera and Ballet Theatre), Warsaw (choreographic triptych Valentin Elizariev’s Ballets at the Warsaw Bolshoi Theatre), Tokyo (Esmeralda, Swan Lake and Don Quixote for the NBA Theatre Ballet Company), Ankara (Spartacus at the Opera and Ballet Theatre), Cairo (Spartacus at the Cairo Opera House), etc.


During 2017-2019,  at the Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus Valentin Elizariev created new versions of Spartacus by Aram Khachaturian, Romeo and Juliet  by Sergey Prokofiev, The Creation of the World  by Andrey Petrov and renewed Georges Bizet and Rodion Shchedrin’s Carmen Suite.


Valentin Elizariev was elected Academician of the International Slavic Academy (1996) and Academician of the Petr I Academy of Science and Arts (1997). He is a Professor of the Belarusian State Academy of Music. He has been the head of the Belarusian choreographic training school for more than four decades.


Valentin Elizariev is the chairman of the jury of the International Festival of Modern Choreography in Vitebsk for many years. Also he is a member of the jury of the major international ballet competitions in Moscow, St.Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Novosibirsk, (Russia); Kiev (Ukraine); Jackson (USA), Varna (Bulgaria), Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya (Japan); Beijing, Shanghai (China), etc.