Whether we are just lovers of classical music and opera and/or lovers of great architecture, the Prague State Opera has enough to offer something special to any and all.
The Prague State Opera is considered the pearl of the Prague opera scene. It opened January 5, 1888 with a gala performance of Wagner's opera “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg”. The opera house has had an interesting history dating back into the 19th century. It has often been overshadowed by the more prominent National Theatre of Prague, which dates back to 1883. At the time there was a large German population in the City and it wanted a German-speaking theater of its own. At this time, what is now the Czech Republic was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and most of the performances at the National Theater were in Czech. Originally, the building was known as the “Neues deutsches Theater” (New German Theatre) With its spacious auditorium and elaborate neo-rococo interior, this Neues deutsches Theater was one of the most beautiful in Europe.
The Prague State Opera has been preserved in its original form such that, once inside the auditorium, you will feel like you have traveled back in time. The interior decoration, which is a combination of gold and white, adds a touch of luxury along with the beautifully painted ceilings and majestic and massive gold central chandelier.
It was designed by leading architects of its day, the well-known Viennese firm of Fellner und Helmer, who invited the cooperation of the local architect of the Burgtheater, Karl Hasenauer. The actual construction was overseen by the Prague architect Alfons Wertmuller and the building was completed in less than two years.
The first mention of an opera house in Prague dates back to the 17th century, when the world’s most famous opera house was in Venice. Another interesting fact is that the Czech Republic has a total of 10 opera houses, which is a high number with respect to the population. In short, every Czech is a musician, or at least a music enthusiast.
Names that are associated with this building include a great number of past famous musical artists as well as such giants as Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Enrico Caruso and Alexander Zemlinsky. More contemporary musicians who have performed here include the British singer George Michael as part of his 2011 Symphonica Tour. The Prague State Opera building is also the site where the winners of the prestigious Zlatý Slavík music awards are announced, honoring the best singers of popular music.