The first opera festival in Estonia was born in 1999 and is held at the Medieval Episcopal Castle in Kuressaare, the capital of Estonia's largest island Saaremaa.
The Episcopal Castle, which holds as many as about a thousand spectators, has become one of the best-known West-Estonian tourist sites, and the acoustics of the castle's courtyard are more than ideal for romantic operas. Previous performers at the opera festival include the troupes of the St. Petersburg Maria Theatre, the Latvian National Opera, the Lithuanian Opera and Ballet Theatre, and directors and soloists from the famous opera houses of Vienna, Moscow, the Nordic countries, Germany, Brazil, and others. The Saaremaa Opera Days have become a major festival and people come from near and far to attend. The Saaremaa Opera Days are held at the Episcopal Castle in Kuressaare.
This year's Saaremaa Opera Days festival is running from 16-22 July. The festival's guests include the Moscow Helikon-Opera performing M. Moussorgsky's "Boris Godunov" and G. Rossini's "The Barber of Seville". The Saaremaa Opera Gala held on 19 July will feature world-famous Finnish opera singer Karita Mattila singing together with the Moscow Helikon Opera Theatre orchestra and choir, conductor Markus Lehtinen. This year's programme also includes performances by Ain Anger with the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, the Estonia National Opera Boys' Choir conducted by Hirvo Surva, and a special Opera Days children's gala.