Silesian Theater


In 1804, the foundation stone of the first city theater building in Opava was laid on Horní náměstí on the site of the recently abolished cemetery. However, the local theatrical tradition dates back to the 17th century, when public performances were performed at the Jesuit college on important occasions. The city’s own theater spaces, intended for the production of nomadic companies, were created in the middle of the 18th century on the first floor of the city tower building (today’s Hlásky – the so-called Schmetterhaus). Increased interest in productions led to the construction of a real theater building at the beginning of the 19th century after the transfer of the police station from the area of ​​the defunct cemetery in front of the town tower.

Between 1804 and 1805, a classicist theater building was built on Horní náměstí, designed by architect Josef Dewez. The structural simplicity of the building was balanced by the grandeur of the interior, which was credited to the decorator of the Viennese theater Lorenzo Sacchetti. On October 1, 1805, the theater opened with Karl der Kühne. The building underwent several reconstructions in the 1840s, but over the next decades the technical shortcomings of the theater began to manifest themselves, whether it was insufficient capacity, problems with heating or operational safety. While the design of the Viennese architect Eduard Kuschee from the 1950s remained only on paper and there were only partial modernizations, after the tragic fires of the theaters in Nice and Vienna in 1881, major measures were taken. The task was undertaken by the city civil engineer Eduard Labitzký,

Eventually, a substantial part of the old theater was demolished and a new Neo-Renaissance building was built in 1882–1883. Labitzký’s harmonious building, built by the construction companies of Josef and Hubert Kmentt, Ferdinand Zdralka and Sigmund Kulka, had a three-axis entrance risalit in the main façade, a balcony on the first floor and a clock label slightly exceeding the roof. The northern side facade was decorated with allegorical figures and foyer medallions with portraits of important figures of German culture (Goethe, Grillparzer, Schiller, von Weber, Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner), made by the Opava sculptor Julius Kellner. The local painter Rudolf Templer then decorated the auditorium ceiling with allegorical paintings.

The reconstruction of the interior, which was undertaken as a result of a fire in the auditorium in 1909, was carried out by the Viennese theater architect Ferdinand Fellner. In addition to changing the concept of the interior of the building, the original Neo-Renaissance style was replaced by a neo-baroque concept with elements of Art Nouveau and Classicist style, typical of the time of Louis XVI. In this spirit, painter Ferdinand Mosler also conceived the interior of the building. In the interwar period, there were no significant interventions in the appearance of the building, but the theater underwent a significant change. Originally a German Municipal Theater, it was forced to react to the turn of events after the establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic and contractually undertook to provide its premises for Czech performances on certain days. This development was subsequently completed during the occupation of the border since 1938, when, among other things, the construction of a new building was also considered.

The new history of the theater began to be written after the liberation in 1945. In addition to the facade, the building survived the final battles of World War II without significant damage, and in October the theater was ceremoniously opened under the name Silesian National Theater. Even then, three ensembles performed here – drama, opera and operetta. The exterior underwent a noticeable change at that time as a result of a change in the then requirements for the appearance of the building. Its historicist and “German” character did not correspond to the new conditions, and in 1948 the exterior was transformed in the spirit of socialist realism. While maintaining the original size of the windows and doors, the architect Jaroslav Pelan cleaned the façade and thus created a practically unstructured mass, which was complemented by building sculptures by Vincenc Havel. Although the reconstruction was intended to be temporary, the external appearance of the theater remained the same for more than forty years. The only significant change in this period was the extension of the operating section in the back of the theater. It was not until the early 1990s that favorable conditions arose for the debate on the restoration of the historic façade. The project of architect Ivo Klimeš finally returned the theater to its current Neo-Renaissance appearance.


Silesian Theater
Horní náměstí 13 746 69 Opava
555 537 411