The Belgrade National Theatre was originally built in 1869 and is a protected cultural monument in Serbia. Located next to Republic Square, it’s unlikely you’ll visit Belgrade without seeing this grand building, but you should take advantage of what it has to offer inside as well!
For around $5-$10/person you can see a ballet, a drama, or even an opera within an extravagant looking theater. Between the quality and price (and therefore value), I’m surprised this isn’t recommended by more people as an activity in Belgrade.
Maybe they just don’t know about it! I read somewhere that performances are subsidized to allow more people to enjoy art and culture in Serbia which makes sense because I was wondering how they could pay all the performers and theatre workers based on the admission fees and the capacity of theater.
After we arrived in Serbia we checked out what was playing and decided on Don Quixote (the ballet) because we both were familiar with the story which we felt would make it easier for us to follow. There are usually several options at any given time, though.
I believe you can purchase your tickets at the theater but we opted to get our’s online (you can get tickets here). You’ll need to create an account online, and while we had some issues at first, it’s fairly straightforward.
Unfortunately, when I asked someone to confirm the time – we used Kyle’s email to reserve the tickets – they did not read it correctly (I guess) which resulted in us arriving several hours early. At least it wasn’t a couple hours late!
It was quite a long walk there so we weren’t going to walk back to our place only to return. So we went wandering. At this point I think we had already been to Republic Square and even maybe the fortress multiple times. This let us feel very free to explore wherever we pleased. It’s a nice area and we enjoy checking out some lovely streets, a couple churches, and somewhere in there we opted to have dinner.
We ate at Manufaktura which was a pretty nice place and between the restaurant and the theater, it felt like a pretty classy date night!
After arriving to the theater and checking out the decor, we were directed by various people to the correct location.
This was a little slower than it could have been because the ushers / workers would talk to us in Serbian. We’d pretty much just stare blankly, occasionally squinting to attempt to understand something. Until they realized we didn’t understand would then laugh and start speaking in English.
While most people in general did not seem to know much English – if any in Serbia – most people at tourist locations like museums speak English. If you can call them that – we hardly saw any tourists there!
Anyway, while we pretty much remained in our seats, it seemed that after everyone was seated. The seats were sort of flexible because we saw other people change locations a little bit. Maybe over a few seats or down a row, something along those lines. You can’t suddenly get the $10 seats if you are in a $5 seat because the entrance is different.
Our seats were a bit tilted forward which made it slightly uncomfortable at first. But we realized that in those seats you want to lean forward a bit anyway. They are fairly comfortable but others report very comfortable seats. I imagine they might sit in a different part of the theater.
The performance itself was professional and high-quality and we were quite happy with it. The performance (including the, I believe, 20 minute break) was around 2-3 hours.
We walked home in the rain and it was a very lovely evening.