Prague State Opera

Nové Město, Wilsonova 4

The Neo-Rennaissance theatre building had a simple predecessor. In 1858, the President of the Estates Theatre rented land a little higher than today's theatre, and architect Josef Niklas built there the New Town Theatre. It was also known popularly as the Theatre before the Horse's Gate - which still stood at this time. Regular performances were held, also in the Czech language, starring actors from the Estates Theatre, and later the Provisional Theatre. On 16th May 1868, when the foundation stone of the National Theatre was laid, the New Town Theatre first held a performance of Smetana's Dalibor, under the personal direction of the composer. Plays were held in the New Town Theatre until 1885, when it was demolished.

In 1886 architect Alfons Wertmuller began construction of a new theatre. A German theatre group was behind the construction, and on January 5th 1888 they opened a stage meant to serve Prague's German citizens - the New German Theatre. The theatre mainly staged operas. During the occupation, it operated under the name Deutsches Theater. After 1945, it became a Czech folk theatre, named the 5th May Theatre. From 1946, the theatre performed only opera, operating under the name Grand Opera 5th May. In 1948, the Grand Opera came under the management of the National Theatre, and became its third stage, renamed the Smetana Theatre on 3rd November 1949. On 1st April 1992, the theatre was awarded the status of an independent artistic institution named the Prague State Opera.

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Updated 01-01-1970 01:00