The State Opera House on Prague’s Wilson Street is the main opera stage in the Czech Republic. Together with the National Theater, the New Stage and the Estates Theater, it forms the National Theater institution which consists of three artistic ensembles: opera, ballet and drama. The Prague opera scene is very well known and is one of the most important musical scenes in Europe. The Neoclassical building of the Opera House building is located in the urban conservation area of Vinohrady-Žižkov-Vršovice in Prague.
History of the Prague State Opera House
The predecessor of the present opera building was a wooden building of the New Town Theater. Because of a series of fires in public buildings that took place in the second half of the 19th century, it was decided to close down the wooden theater and build a more durable brick building instead.
The building was developed for the needs of Germans living in Prague who lacked a representative building for theater performances. Austrian architects led by Karel Hasenhauer got to work and prepared plans for a representative neoclassical building with some elements from the neorococo architectural style.
The building was finished and started serving its purpose in 1888. At the beginning, solely German performances were featured. At times bilingual Czech-German actors also performed. This lasted until World War II and the occupation the Czech Republic by the German Nazis. After the German occupation of the Czech lands, the building was confiscated and started serving the needs of the NSDAP. After 1940, Berlin decided to renovate the building and open it for wider use. With the new name Deutsches Opernhaus, it opened in the 1942/43 season when it became a landmark for the Duisburg operatic ensemble that needed a new stage after it lost its home building during an air raid.
After the war, the building became a place for opera performances, now in the Czech language. Between 1967 and 1973, a reconstruction was carried out in connection with the construction of the underground transportation – the Prague Metro line C runs under the opera house.
Since 1989 and the change of regime after the Velvet Revolution, the Prague State Opera House hosts almost exclusively operas of a worldclass repertoire.
Reconstruction of the State Opera House
Since 2015 the building is undergoing a general reconstruction. The operation of the theater is not interrupted, but moved to other premises in the National Theater and the Karlín Music Theater.
At present, it is not possible to visit the building. It will be reopened for the public at the end of 2018. If you would like to know Czech art or simply enjoy historical places of a similar character, you can visit the historical building of the National Theater. You can also visit the Estates Theater located on the Ovocný trh street.