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Theatre of Music Olomouc

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Important events

(detail)40. 's 19. century | construction
The building on Denis Street N. 47 came into existence in 1843-1848 as a late Classicism complex of prison houses of the district court, which resided here until 1902.
(detail)10. 's 20. century | reconstruction

Renovation of the building was carried out between 1915-20.  Works were taken over by Olomouc architect Jaroslav Kovář and the owner had the front wing, facing Denis’ Street be rebuilt according to his design. Beside Kovář, Franz Lang participated on the reconstruction  and Munchen sculptor Moritz Lau.


(detail)24.10.1968 | opening

Olomouc Theatre of Music initiated its activity in 1968. The most necessary adjustment works were carried out  according to the design by architect Jiří Procházka. The newly adjusted stage  commenced its activity on 24th October of 1968, a variety show of the Prague Theatre of Music The Winner over the Death was introduced here.


(detail)90. 's 20. century | reconstruction

This cultural institution initiated extensive building adaptations between 1992 – 2000; at first according to their own designs, later on, architect Michal Sborwitz was summoned for participation.


(detail)1991 | cultural monument

The building is registered as an immovable cultural monument N. 47 by Ministry of Culture since 1991.


People

Michal Sborwitz |architect
Franz Lang |architect
(detail)Jaroslav Kovář st. |architect

Czech architect. His work was inspired by several architectonic styles. He passed through Baroque revival architecture in the beginning of the 20th century to Art Noveau and Cubism and finally Monumentalism. Most of his projects were realized in Olomouc.

Source:

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Moritz Lau |sculptor
Rudolf Pogoda |contractor

History

Olomouc Theatre of Music initiated its activity in 1968. It became a fifth institution of the music theatre type, which were opened  in the area of Czechoslovakia since the end of the Second World War. The oldest and simultaneously main stage was functioning in Prague, subdivisions in Bratislava, Ostrava and  Liberec came under it. 1

These institutes differed from other contemporary cultural  education facilities  by specific programme content. The main component of the repertoire was formed by playback of music compositions, presented via records. Mentioned audio “programme” was accompanied by a live commentary of the speaker, and also, for supporting the overall impression from the presented composition, projection of slides, movies, recitation, dance, colourful light etc. The visitors got familiar with compositions from the field of classical, popular or jazz music, simultaneously with novelties of Supraphon publishing house. Apart from their own music productions, theatres of music presented poetry and audio programmes. Fine art was not neglected as well; chamber galleries emerged in the theatre area, talks with artists were organised, lectures about the art and so on. In the end of 1950s and on the beginning of the 1960s, in relation with the circulation of high-quality audio technology even among “common” listeners, the original (principal ) programmes of reproduced music were abandoned . More attention was given to literary programmes, there appeared movie productions, or theatre plays as well (often by amateur actors’ associations).

Theatres of Music were not dramatic scenes in the proper use of the term – it was concerning rather multifunctional cultural institution presenting various segments of art and art productions.

Klubovna  hudby a poezie ( the Music and Poetry Club) can be considered as a forerunner of the Theatre of Music in Olomouc, in the sense of programme composition. The seat of this institution was originally at Kolár‘ s Square N. 7, it was relocated into Dům armády (the Army House) in 1966, where so called “lounge” in the first floor was designated for its activity. “Quality playback of music and art word from disc and tape recorders, further recitation programmes and meeting with authors were offered to visitors ( respectively to   listeners).

The promoter of the clubroom was Lidová konzervatoř Okresního domu Osvěty (People’s conservatory of the District House of Public Education, further on only ODO), Rudolf Pogoda worked there as a head of programme department since 1966. Public response  to the club activity was very favourable. This fact led subsequently the representatives of ODO to decision of establishing the permanent Theatre of Music and Poetry in Olomouc, which would present the most possibly wide range  of cultural programmes to the viewing public. Rudolf Pogoda was assigned to set up the planned culture institution, it was managed to obtain  space in the building on Denis Street N. 47 for usage –“ Nice  business premises of former Radiotabarin in Denis Street N. 47 ( above the Moskva cinema) were allocated to us, where is a hall perhaps for 120 persons with a small stage and convenient equipment.“ 3The most necessary adaptation works occurred according to the design by architect Jiří Procházka, The reconstruction took about a year. Newly adjusted stage was commenced its activity on 24th October 1968, a variety show of the Prague Theatre of Music The Winner over the Death was introduced here.

The building N. 47 in Denis Street stands across from the cathedral of Panna Marie Sněžná (Saint Mary Major) in the peripheral part of náměstí Republiky (Republic Square).  It was an important and exposed locality already since Middle Age – so called Nová brána (New Gate) used to stand there dividing area of  Předhradí from the actual inner city. The first building activity, supported by sources, in the location of today’ s building  took place in 1246 –a shelter for lepers emerged here;4  its foundation is due to Olomouc Burgrave Oneš‘ , Burgrave’s  from Veveří and Martin Pokora’s credit.5  Sick house carried originally the name after Saint Anthony 6, it was renamed later on to Saint Spirit. Sick house  consisted of “hospital” houses, a  church, yard houses, a garden and graveyard. In the course of the years, as the preserved deeds inform us, the complex underwent an array of changes  and reconstructions – for instance in 1462, 1613 7 or in the period after the withdrawal of Swedish during the Thirty Years' War .8   Building activity was not avoiding the areal nor in the following century – a new sick house was emerging in 1727, little church was being repaired five years later, a new room for sick soldiers was added in the middle of the century and a hospital (Kranken-Spital) was established in the sick house. Even the foundation of new facility of Saint Job and Lazarus was considered in the area of the existing facility. Instead of it, interruption of the operation and abolition of Pentecost sick house occurred thirty years later. It happened so within the Joseph's reforms in 1785.

Educational facility for soldier’s sons had residence there in the following period, later archbishop seminary and weaving mill in 1787 – 1825. A decision about the complete demolition of the complex was issued by the city in the 1840s; all the existing  buildings including Gothic church were torn down. Their location was occupied in 1843-1848 by late Classicism complex of prison houses of the district court, which resided here until 1902.9 Vacant premises was subsequently bought by Mr and Mrs Donath; a new utilization of the building required corresponding adaptation of the building, which occurred between 1915-20.10 Adaptation works were taken over by Olomouc architect Jaroslav Kovář and the owner let the front wing, facing Denis’ Street be rebuild according to his design. Front facade, combining Neo Classicism and cubism elements, thus acquired a new, modern appearance. Beside Kovář, Franz Lang participated on the reconstruction – he adjusted the court wing- and Munchen sculptor Moritz Lau, who is the author of the sculptural decoration. The building has preserved the contemporary appearance of the exterior in large part until now.

In the middle of the 1920s, plurality of functions of the house was supplemented by nightclub Radiobar (Radio-bar-Tabarin), established in the front wing11 and Elite cinema, located in the yard.12

 

Theatre association RADIONKAbaret was interested in free and unused area of former Radiobar in the 1960s, but the newly established Theatre of Music was only successful in its acquisition. This happened in 1967 and as Rudolf Pogoda asserts „ We were provided here by extraordinarily convenient environment for creating an aesthetic effect on adults or young persons, interested in culture, by music, art word, movie and fine art. . 13 He himself participatedon the interior arrangement- „ He replenished [inner space– author’s note] by sculptures, carvings and other art items, lent from museums depositories (the sculpture of king David and the historical lyre were for instance inserted on the sides in front of the stage)“ .14 Pogoda wrote down about the arrangements of acquired rooms several months before opening: „ We strongly care about the nice appearance of these rooms – already from the entry to the building. Therefore we are going to put copies of linkboys from Olomouc Trinity onto free side plinths here and we are going to execute other improvements of the appearance in the ground floor corridor.“ .15  A few years later, in the letter addressed to Mr. Klánský, Duňa Šimáčková (operational officer of the Theatre of Music)  added to scene arrangement: Direct entrance  is in the ground floor at the end of a corridor. It resembles allegedly an entrance to the bunker to many, but in our case, the reality is much more better than this original image…“. 16

In the correspondence, dated back to the time before initiation of operation, the scene was being referred as the Theatre of Music and Poetry. Theatre management even considered the name RADIO Club or R- Club ( in the relation to “radiobar” history of the location), in the end, shortened name the Theatre of Music started to be used.

 

Present state

Three institutions employ the building N. 47 on Denis Street in the present – Art Museum Olomouc- Museum of Modern Art, Theatre of Music and Café 87. Exhibition purposes for the museum are provided by so called Trojlodí and Salon in the first floor of the building, Obrazárna (Picture gallery) in the second, and Mansarda in the loft area. Corner part of the building, in the ground and first floor on front side, serves as a cafe Café´87; chamber exhibitions, with its extent short termed, are organised here as well.

The Theatre of Music, as a not large cultural institution, uses several rooms in the ground floor of the building for its activity. The main, centrally situated entrance into the building opens from Denis’ Street. A short corridor is connected to it (labelled as a foyer as well, visitors enter into the theatre on its end through a  glass door. There is a cloakroom and cash desk in the adjacent area. (entrance ) Hall follows, providing the access to the bar or  hall auditorium, then to the technician booth for theatre employees. There is a place reserved for sanitary facilities. Central space of culture institution is the actual theatre hall. It is build up on rectangular disposition with north-south orientation. It is accessible by couple of entrances – from foyer and bar. Side walls are articulated  by supporting rectangular columns. The architect left the surface open between them on the right so free passage into the lateral narrow sector have emerged. This serves as a gallery (so called gallery Titanic) 17, in which exhibition actions take place regularly ( the exposition is modified six or seven times during the season).  The works of painting, graphic, photographs, drawings etc. are presented here.

The theatre auditorium consists of large, gradually rising landing with “folding chairs of Sandler seatingtrademark . 18 The theatre can accommodate 120 spectators at one moment. A simple and mobile device enables “ a variable arrangement of stage areas and viewing zones according to the intention of a concrete production. It is possible to present not only classical “proscenium” with spectators against the scene, but “arena” , etc  .“ 19  Wooden stage, protruding slightly in front of the proscenium arch, is adjacent  in the immediate vicinity of the first row of seats. The stage area has 4 m in depth, 7 m in width and 2,85 in height. Its inner walls are covered by simple black curtain along the entire circumference. A dressing room have emerged on the right from the proscenium arch, there is a direct access from it to the stage. It is accessible from the gallery as well.

The rooms on the left from the auditorium were reserved for administrative background, the entrance is located right away behind the entrance door to the hall.

A small bar with the capacity of circa 40 seats serves for refreshing. It is located in the right part of the theatre. Visual enlargement of the space was gained by lowering of the floor level in the location of serving bar. In the contrast to the monochrome arrangement (prevailing black colour), there are different tables and seats in colour and a wider range of material composition is executed here – stone floor and bar, a banister from bricks.

The first major interference into the original appearance of the theatre occurred in the theatre in 1976. The technical booth was adapted and its former entrance from the bar was exchanged for new lateral entrance form the entrance hall. A great significance for the stage appearance was the building adaptations in the interior executed after 1990, in the time of arrival of new director Libuše Šlezarová.

Ceiling lighting in the hall was removed, “břízolit”  cement facing elements were substituted by stucco plaster, velvet curtains were taken down. At the same time, the carpet and chipboards disappeared from the stage – only a floor from pine boards remained, decorations from proscenium were removed as well – a statue of king David and a lyre. New black painting in the hall transformed it gradually into the „Black box“. 

The building N. 47 is administered by Olomouc Museum of Art since 1989. This cultural institution initiated extensive building adaptations between 1992 – 2000; at first according to their own designs, later on, architect Michal Sborwitz was summoned for participation. These reconstruction works had an impact on the appearance and size of the theatre in a larger scale – the theatre was deprived of the spaces  in the favour of Museum at the beginning of the 1990s (because of that kitchen and bar had to be adapted), concurrently the background was allotted to the  buffet.

An extensive reconstruction of the entrance corridor (foyer) opening to Denis Street was carried out by the museum in 1993. The central part of the left wall made way to a new representative entrance accessible by three stairs, extreme field of the wall was pierced by a large glass plates. In the connection with opposite triple of mirror surfaces and with painting colour, a clear accessing area have emerged introducing visitors into the gallery expositions (respectively to the cash desk and cloakroom), respectively into the theatre interior.  The original sculptures of linkboys were probably removed in the course of construction works. 20

Another more extensive adaptation, of rather technical nature this time, occurred in 1998. Wiring was reconstructed, the original twelve darkening circuits were enlarged to the present seventy two, old 16 mm projectors were removed, new acoustic isolation was installed. The technical booth acquired a new, twice as large opening into the hall. 21

The building is registered as an immovable cultural monument N. 47 by Ministry of Culture since 1991.

 The question of the reconstruction of the entire house in Denisova Street 47 (exterior and interior) became a topic lately. The reconstruction should affect all the parts of the building – the Theatre of Music as well. The author of submitted design is Michal Sborwitz again. Intended adaptations have a relation with planned construction of brand new museum building in the neighbourhood of the existing building ( in so called “clearance”) carrying the name SEFO – the Central European Forum Olomouc. The final decision about the realization the construction or its rejection should be made in the summer moth of 2010.

Notes:

  1. The Theatre of Music in Prague began   operating on 14th October 1949. It was established by and its operator still was the state enterprise Gramofonové závody (Phonograph factories) ( later called Supraphon). The theatres in Bratislava, Ostrava and Liberec were coming into the existence subsequently, in the course of the 1950s. A whole array of other institutions with similar thematic content was, these did not come under the Prague operator and its activity did not have a long duration.  
  1. Olomouc Theatre of Music, archive, file without mark, a typescript with heading “Dear friends” , dated In Olomouc 5 January 1966
  1. Olomouc Theatre of Music, archive, file without mark, a letter from 4.5. 1967 adressed to M. Pavlovský, sales manager of national enterprise Tesla. Sender Rudolf Pogoda.
  1. To its initial utilization, Josef Kšír states: “It was a shelter for lepers when it was founded and not before the leprosy had disappeared, that was converted into the sick house at the end of the 14th century.” Josef Kšír, Staré olomoucké špitály a jejich situování, Zprávy vlastivědného ústavu v Olomouci, č. 118, 1964, s. 2.Florián Josef Loucký describes the emergence and aim of the sick house in his Description of royal main city Olomouc :” A very old  church of St. Spirit stands in the vicinity of New Tower  against Jesuit church and to it adjacent sick house being called the Big or Municipal. It was founded for the citizens incapable of work (poor) and there are ten men and ten women in the present. It is not possible to   trace the origins of this sick house similarly as the others with the exception of what is known by word of mouth..“.  Libuše Spáčilová – Vladimír Spáčil, Popis královského hlavního města Olomouce sepsaný syndikem Florianem Josefem  Louckým roku 1746, Olomouc 1991, s. 57, paragraf 69.
  1. According to the chronicle of Václav of Jihlava :” The Pope Inocenc complied with the request of Olomouc burgrave Oneš and burgrave Milíč of Veveří and assented to establishment of the sick house of St. Spirit in Předhradí  in Olomouc. Both the mentioned noblemen sent holy man Martin Pokora, who decided to donate his entire fortune for the sick house construction,  to the Pope and he granted 210 days of indulgence to who would contribute to the construction of this sick house.” .“ Wilhelm Nather, Kronika olomouckých domů, II díl, Olomouc – Opava 2007, s. 272.
  1. The name Sick House of St. Anthony is documented to the year  1327. See. Spáčilová – Spáčil (pozn.4), s. 179, paragraf 69.
  1. It is stated to year 1462 – “ the sick house building, decrepit with age and damaged by the fire, was constructed newly and in a larger extent..“. In 1613 “an extension was erected for sick children, orphans and foundlings..“. Viz Kšír ( note 4), p. 2
  1. The sick house was severely damaged during the siege of the city by emperor army. In 1644 “Swedish lieutenant colonel Winter let the sick house of St. Spirit be torn down and the timber be transferred to his guards by Střední brána” See Nather (note. 5), p. 272. “After the Swedish had gone, the building were repaired by the city, a lot of rooms, stables, shops for  selling  were added “Viz Kšír ( note 4), p. 2
  1. The author of the architectural design of the prison house buildings was Frantz Brunner. Pavel Zatloukal, Středoevropské forum Olomouc. Architektonická studie (kat. výst.), Muzeum umění Olomouc – Muzeum moderního umění 2009, s. 18.
  1. Only   layout has been preserved up to present from the original late      Classicism houses.
  1.  The interior arrangement of newly established Radiobar (Radio-bar-Tabarin) was designed by Eduard Hála.
  1.  The original projection hall of the cinema Elite was designed by Emil Kugel, subsequently it was adapted in 1943 according to the design by Jan Zázvorka. The original name of the projection hall was later changed to cinema Moskva, subsequently cinema Central.
  1. Olomouc Theatre of Music, archive, file without mark, a letter from 31st July 1968, addressee Závodní výbor ROH, Okresní správa strojů ( Company Committee ROH, district executive of machines)  sender Rudolf Pogoda.
  2. Tereza Pogodová, Divadlo hudby jako prostor pro uměleckou alternativu (třicet let olomouckého Divadla hudby)(diplomní práce), Katedra teorie a dějin dramatických umění FF UP, Olomouc 2002, p. 64.
  1. Olomouc Theatre of Music, archive, file without mark, a letter from 31st July 1968, addressee Závodní výbor ROH, Okresní správa strojů ( Company Committee ROH, district executive of machines)  sender Rudolf Pogoda.
  1. Olomouc Theatre of Music, archive, file without mark,  a letter from 2.10. 1979 adressed to Mr. Klánský, č.j. 2186/79. 
  1. The Theatre of Music is engaged in exhibition activity since its origin. The gallery have hosted extensive number of artists, it is possible to name  at random at least for instance Jiří John, Eva Kmentová, Adriena Šimotová, František Ronovský, Ladislav  Novák, Dalibor  Chatrný, Jiří Načeradský, Jitka Svobodová, Miloš Šejna, Pavel Rudolf, Miloš Cvach etc., authors from Olomouc for instance Ivo Přeček, Miroslav Šnajdr Sr., Inge Kosková, Jana Jemelková, Ondřej  Michálek, Jiří  Lindovský, from Slovakia Rudolf Fila or  Albín Brunovský.  Close attention was paid to photographic exhibitions- there was presented among other the work of   Josef Sudek, Otakar Lenhart, Vilém Reichmann, Václav  Chochol, Miloš Koreček, Bohdan Holomíček, Jaroslav Kořán, Jindřich  Štreit. A worth to mention are the exhibitions of in site art and l´art brut, which are represented by the works of František Řehák, Václav Beránek, Cecílie Marková, Anna  Zemánková, Františka Kudelová. Each exhibition was accompanied by a catalogue of a smaller format since 1974. The actual “openings offered apart the usual prologues the slides projection, which informed about the artists’ work or the films about fine art, sometimes an informal meeting with the author occurred  in the pleasant club environment.  Gift balloting was the unique form of art communication with the visitors – drawings, graphics, photographs etc., donated by the exhibiting author.  Ladislav       Daněk, Olomoucký okruh. Divadlo hudby a Galerie v Podloubí, in: Milena Slavická (ed.), Zakázané umění II., Výtvarné umění, 1-2, 1996, p. 190 – 191.
  1. See www.divadlohudby.cz/pronajem.html, looked up 6.8. 2009.
  1. Ibidem, vyhledáno 6.8. 2009. looked up 6.8. 2009.
  1. The figures of light boys are registered in the collection of carvings in Olomouc Museum of Art, temporarily deposited in the depository of Regional Museum in Olomouc.
  1. I would like to thank to Alexandr Jeništa for provided information about the building adaptations and reconstructions of the theatre in 1968 – 2010.

Sources and literature:

- Fotografická dokumentace, dokumentace, Divadlo hudby Olomouc, Archiv, Složka archivní fotografie dh (1968), složka korespondence, složka tiskové materiály 68/69, složka tiskové materiály 69/70/71, složka bez názvu.

- Plánová dokumentace, fotografická dokumentace, Muzeum umění Olomouc, Sbírka architektury, Archiv.

- Evidenční list památky, Národní památkový ústav, územní odborné pracoviště v Olomouci.

- Alois Vojtěch Šembera, Paměti a znamenitosti města Olomouce, Vídeň 1861 (fotokopie z roku 2002). - Josef Kšír, Staré olomoucké špitály a jejich situování, Zprávy vlastivědného ústavu v Olomouci, č. 118, 1964, s. 1-15.

- Robert Smetana, Průvodce památkami v Olomouci, Ostrava 1966.

- Miroslav Klimeš, Významná novinka v olomouckém kulturním životě. Divadlo hudby před zahájením, Stráž lidu 48, č. 77, 1968, úterý 24. září, s.3.

- Pavel Zatloukal, Architektonické dílo Jaroslava Kováře staršího, Zprávy krajského vlastivědného muzea v Olomouci, č. 208, 1980, s. 5 – 11.

- Tomáš Černoušek – Vladimír Šlapeta – Pavel Zatloukal, Olomoucká architektura 1900 – 1950, Olomouc 1981.

- [V.R.], Dvě desetiletí. Divadlo hudby v Olomouci, Nová Svoboda 44, č. 260, 1988, pátek 4.listopadu, s. 6.

- Pavel Konečný – Jiří Valoch, Divadlo hudby. Výstavy 1968-1988, Olomouc 1988.

- Libuše Spáčilová – Vladimír Spáčil, Popis královského hlavního města Olomouce sepsaný syndikem Florianem Josefem Louckým roku 1746, Olomouc 1991.

- Dana Doricová - Ludvík Kundera - Jiří Valoch et al., Svetlo v tmách. Divadlo hudby Olomouc 1968-1989 (kat. výst.), Žilina 1992.

- Ladislav Daněk, Olomoucký okruh. Divadlo hudby a Galerie v Podloubí, in: Milena Slavická (ed.), Zakázané umění II., Výtvarné umění, 1-2, 1996, s. 180-216.

- Tatjana Lazorčáková, Čas malých divadel, Olomouc 1996.

- Tereza Pogodová, Divadlo hudby jako prostor pro uměleckou alternativu (třicet let olomouckého Divadla hudby)(diplomní práce), Katedra teorie a dějin dramatických umění FF UP, Olomouc 2002.

- Wilhelm Nather, Kronika olomouckých domů, II díl, Olomouc - Opava 2007.

- Pavel Zatloukal, Středoevropské forum Olomouc. Architektonická studie (kat. výst.), Muzeum umění Olomouc – Muzeum moderního umění 2009.

- internetový odkaz - http://www.divadlohudby.cz/

 

Tags: Austrian Empire, Classicism, Communist Czechoslovakia, detached building, theatre hall

 

Author: Kateřina Kohoutkova - Gabrhelíková

Translator: Jan Purkert

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