However, as many opera experts and enthusiasts maintain, the greatest success of Opera NOVA is the 'Bydgoszcz Opera Festival', launched in 1994 by the society's director Maciej Figas (in an unfinished building!). Since then the Bydgoszcz opera stage has been the venue for annual meetings of music theatres, which present their best productions here. The broadly understood programme of the Festival provides for the staging of operas, operettas, ballets and musicals.
Every year the 'Bydgoszcz Opera Festival' plays host to at least one distinguished foreign company. So far the following companies have appeared here: the A. Makarov Ballet Theatre from St. Petersburg, the National Opera Establishment from Sofia, the Academic Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus from Minsk, the National Opera Establishment of Ukraine from Kiev, the J.K. Tyl Memorial Theatre from Pilsen, the Nationale Theatre from Vilnius, the National Opera Establishment of Latvia from Riga, the Royal Ballet Society of Flanders from Antwerp, Hubbard Street Dance from Chicago, and Cullbergballet from Stockholm, Ballet Theatre du Capitole de Toulouse (France), Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, Béjart Ballet Lausanne.
Polish companies that have performed here include: The Grand Theatre of Warsaw (Nabucco by G. Verdi), and the same company under the name of The Grand Theatre — National Opera Establishment (Macbeth by Verdi La Fille Mall Gardée by F. Herold / J. Lanchbery Romeo and Julietta by Prokofiev, Halka by Moniuszko, King Roger by Szymanowski ); the Grand Theatre of Łódź (L 'elisir d'amore and Lucia di Lammermoor by G. Donizetti, Madama Butterfly by G. Puccini and Ubu Rex by K. Penderecki , Dialogues des Carmélites by Poulenc ); the Grand Theatre of Poznań (Devils of Loudun by K. Penderecki, Galina by M. Landowski, Salome by R. Strauss, La Traviata and La forza del destino by G. Verdi and Eugene Onegin by P. Tchaikovsky, Norma by Bellini, Maria Stuarda by Donizetti); Opera of Wrocław (Halka by Moniuszko) the 'Roma' Music Theatre in Warsaw (Crazy for You by G. Gershwin and Csardaskönigin by E. Kálmán); the Music Theatre in Gdynia (musicals Hair , Kiss me ,Kate, Monty Python’s Spamalot ); the Warsaw Chamber Opera Society (Don Giovanni by W.A. Mozart and / Turco in Italia by G. Rossini); the Entertaining Theatre in Chorzów (Evita by A.L. Webber and T. Rice); the Polish Dance Theatre/Poznań Ballet Company and the Baltic Opera Company (Der Rosenkavaliere by R.Strauss).
Within a span of a mere eight years the festival, the only such in Poland, has become an inseparable part of the cultural panorama of the city and its region, and has earned an enviable reputation in Poland and abroad (the fifth festival was held under the honorary patronage of Daniel Tarchys, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, and Aleksander Kwaśniewski, President of the Republic of Poland).
Traditionally, Opera NOVA opens each Festival. So far the host company has given its performances of G. Verdi's Nabucco, directed and staged by Ryszard Peryt (1995); G. Puccini's Turandot directed by Marek Weiss-Grzesiński (1996); W. A. Mozart's Don Giovanni under the musical management of Mieczysław Nowakowski (1997); J. Offenbach's fantasy opera The Tales of Hoffmann, an impressive production staged with a flourish by Waldemar Zawodziński (1998); and the premiere performance of G. Bizet’s Carmen directed by the American Bodo Igesz with stage decorations by Paweł Dobrzycki and choreography by Montse Sanchez (Spain), under the musical management of Maciej Figas (1999).
The 7th Bydgoszcz Opera Festival in 2000 began with G.F. Handel's oratorio Messiah. The imposing premiere opening the Festival attracted leading dignitaries of the Catholic Church and the political elite. The stage production of Messiah was selected by the organizers of the annual music festival to celebrate the Jubilee Year and the Millennium of the Establishment of Gniezno Metropolitan District. Ryszard Peryt was responsible for the stage management, direction and set decorations, while Ruben Silva was responsible for the musical management. The motif of the Creator and His traditional adversary returned during the 8th Bydgoszcz Opera Festival in Arrigo Boito's Mephistophele ( directed by Tomasz Konina, music leader Maciej Figas), the opera show which opened the event.
IX Festival was preceded by the premiere of G. Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” which took place in Hague, Holland. The jubilee X Festiwal in 2003 opened with Kálmán’s operetta “Gräfin Mariza” (directed by Laco Adamik, music leader Maciej Figas) , which became an effective combination of music, dance and splendid scenery. 20th Festival in 2013 opened polish national opera "Halka" by Stanisław Moniuszko. (Next performances - look: archives ).
The organizers of the 'Bydgoszcz Opera Festival' hope that this enterprise satisfies the expectations of artists, music lovers and critics, and is an opinion-shaping forum for the presentation of the art of opera in the broad sense of the word. The public acceptance of the Opera NOVA repertoire is clearly demonstrated by the large and appreciative audiences present at the performances. Worth mentioning is the fact that the Bydgoszcz Opera Establishment attracts its audiences chiefly from the entire new Province of Kujawy and Pomeranian, and from the former Provinces of Poznań, Gdańsk, Koszalin, Olsztyn The involvement of the city and province authorities in the company's activities, growing support from financial donors and the region's financial and industrial leaders, together with the enthusiasm of the artists and employees of Opera NOVA permit an optimistic outlook for the company, the only institution of its type in the region of Kujawy and Pomeranian.