Prague, Jan 5 (CTK) – Prague’s State Opera historical building re-opened to the public with a gala concert today after a reconstruction that lasted almost three years and cost 1.3 billion crowns.
The concert, staged by Alice Nellis with the motto The State Opera in the Changes of Time (1888-2018), was held on the 132nd anniversary of the opening of the opera house, which was the New German Theatre at the time.
The concert was attended by politicians and representatives of culture, and also foreign guests such as Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, the German government commissioner for culture Monika Grutters and ambassadors of several countries.
Czech politicians among the audience included PM Andrej Babis (ANO), Culture Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD), Finance Minister Alena Schillerova (for ANO) and Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib (Pirates).
The programme started with the overture to Richard Wagner’s opera Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, played by the State Opera Orchestra conducted by its music director Karl-Heinz Steffens.
It continued with the performance of the National Theatre and State Opera soloists and further renowned Czech signers such as tenor Pavel Cernoch and sopranos Eva Urbanova and Katerina Knezikova, as well as Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen as a guest.
Apart from Wagner, the concert offered music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Leos Janacek, Richard Strauss, Bedrich Smetana, Bohuslav Martinu and Ludwig van Beethoven.
The costs of the State Opera reconstruction were originally projected at 900 million crowns, but finally reached more mainly due to a change in the revolving stage technology for 115 million crowns and the air-conditioning system reconstruction.
The reconstructed theatre has a new curtain created in the National Theatre workshops according to Eduard Veith’s design of the original curtain that got lost in 1945.
Combining Neoclassicism and Neo-rococo styles, the historical opera seat is considered one of the most beautiful opera houses in Europe, with excellent acoustics and rich artistic decorations.
The building underwent a previous general reconstruction at the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s.
Popular productions, for example Fidelio and Madama Butterfly, are returning to the State Opera now, and new operatic premieres are being prepared, such as King Roger by Karol Szymanowski, which will be staged in coproduction with Warsaw’s Grand Theatre and the Royal Opera in Stockholm.
Another big event this year is to be the November premiere of Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, the opera the then brand-new New German Theatre staged in 1888.