The State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named after Abay was founded in 1934 on the basis of the city music studio. Its first composer was Evgeny Brusilovsky, the founder of the National opera of Kazakhstan. The status of the academic theatre was received in 1941, and in honor of Abay it was named in 1945. The theatre building was erected according to the project of architects N. Prostakov and N. Kruglov in 1936.
Both traditional monumental and Kazakh folk elements are used in the interior decoration. Over the long history of the theatre, many famous opera and ballet performances have been staged on its stage. Now the theatre is considered the largest in the Central Asian region. Theatre constantly tours America, Europe and Asia. There are 789 seats in the hall. Every year theatre presents more than 200 opera and ballet performances, which are attended by about 70 thousand spectators.