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Reduta Theatre

alias Königlichstädtisches National Theater - 1786, “Velká taverna", Kleines Schauspielhaus (Small Playhouse) - 1918, Spielhaus, Comedienhaus, Opernhaus, Kleines Theater (Small Theatre) - 1909, Opera-Haus
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)30. 's 18. century | Establishment of the theatre hall

(detail)1733 | opening

(detail)14.1.1785 | Fire

(detail)16.1.1786 | fire

(detail)23. 6. 1870 | Fire

(detail)1890 | alteration

(detail)1957 | Construction adaptations to the building
1956-1957 - Construction works
(detail)2000 | Competition for a project for a new theatre
2000 - competition for a project for a new theatre
(detail)2005 | Overall reconstruction of the building
2002-2005 - overall reconstruction of the building and establishment of a new theatre (Architecture studio D.R.N.H.)

People

(detail)Bohuslav Fuchs |architect

One of the leading representatives of Czech Functionalism ,of  the so called Brno architectural school. With wide sense for harmony between new building and the environment, he helped to create a modern city from Brno.

Source: Archiweb

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(detail)Kamil Fuchs |architect

In world Biennale of architecture, taking place in Sofia in 1987, he was awarded with special appreciation for the project of reconstruction of the residence Tugendhat. 

Source: Wikipedia


 


(detail)Klára Michálková |architect

Member of Architecture studio D.R.N.H.


(detail)Antonín Novák |architect

Member of Architecture studio D.R.N.H.


(detail)Radovan Smejkal |architect

Member of Architecture studio D.R.N.H.


(detail)Karel Spáčil |architect

Member of   Architecture studio D.R.N.H.


(detail)Eduard Štěrbák |architect

Member of Architecture studio D.R.N.H.


(detail)Petr Valenta |architect

Member of Architecture studio D.R.N.H.


(detail)Miroslav Melena |architect

A stage designer, an architect and a teacher died on August 8, 2008. He studied at the College of Pedagogy in Cyril Bouda’s and Karel Lidický’s studios and later at Theatre Faculty, Academy of Performing Arts in Prague under František Tröster. In 1967 he started working as a stage designer in Ostrava Theatre of Petr Bezruč, from 1969 he worked in Liberec Naive Theatre and later on he cooperated mainly with Prague Theatre Y. In the years 1980 to 1981 he was a head of stage design in Maribor. In 1972, at Serbian Novy Sad Triennale he was awarded a winning price for a setting designed for a play The Earl Monte Christo. Among the outstanding features of Melena’s stage designs belongs blending of scene and costumes in their almost provocative variability calling up reminiscence to surrealistic performances of the 20’s. However, next to scenography Melena gradually expressed himself more and more as a theatre designer – mostly as a head of multi-member team. Thus he gave a new resemblance to auditoriums and scenes of Brno Municipal Theatre, Prague Theatre Fidlovačka, Horácké Theatre in Jihlava, Municipal Theatre in Sokolov, Brno Reduta and lastly to Semafor Theatre. All of his stages distinguish themselves by ingenious stage design, and by dispositionally functional and smart to sight, sometimes also lively colourful appearance of the auditorium. The most salient among his projects was a solution of Prague Theatre Archa where a system of movable tables which fill the whole space enables a free open arrangement of the stage and the auditorium according to individual stage designer’s needs. As an exhibition designer Melena gave a very rich inventional shape to an exhibition of his teacher František Tröster’s life-work in 1991. Melena worked as a Head of Architecture Department at Faculty of Architecture and Arts, Technical University in Liberec. His creed of a theatre architect was expressed in an article he published in a cultural weekly magazine A2 (2007, issue 24). Here he confessed his love to Classical Theatre for its perfect solution of an audience and actor relationship, but also mutual relationship among spectators and their art experience. Melena did not agree with Baroque theatre’s introduction of stage portal which he called “absorber of theatricality”. However he did not hesitate to take over from the Baroque heritage a system of boxes or side slips. He believed their implication lead to a desired contact among the audience during the performance and to reach such goal a consistent arched tract of rows were to be used. Death caught Melena by surprise in the middle of his work on plans of a new Ostrava Theatre of Petr Bezruč, New Scene of Prague National Theatre and Brno Janacek Opera. (Jiří Hilmera)

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(detail)Bohdan Lacina |painter

In his (and co-members of the group "Ra" ) works, there can be found marks of synthetic imitation of the mannerist branch of Surrealism which is based on realistically conceived interpretation of surrealistic projections. Occasionally he designed concepts of architectural reconstruction.

Source:

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(detail)Vincenc Makovský |sculptor

One of the leading representatives of the interwar period, his early works followed  Cubism  and Surrealism  , as a member of Surrealistická skupina , later Abstract art .  He returned to traditional expressions after WW2.

Source: Wikipedia

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History

Documentation regarding the oldest housing structure on the site of the present-day Reduta Theatre dates back to the first half of the 13th century. In all probability, stone burgher homes, from four to six, stood here in the first half of the 14th century. Around the year 1432, the Lords of Liechtenstein acquired the plot of land, now with a Renaissance aristocratic house on it. The significantly neglected building was purchased from them by the City of Brno in the year 1600. Between the years 1600-1605 essential reconstruction took place with the building being adapted to the form of a two-storey corner block with an arcade passage and an internal courtyard.

The city established a tavern in the building providing both meals and accommodation. The neighbouring house on the eastern side was also purchased in the year 1634 for the new tavern as well as part of a second burgher home. This new linked construction organism was named the Small Tavern. Starting in the 1660s, the Small Tavern in all probability played host to occasional theatre productions, as is documented by the oldest preserved request for the rental of the space for the performance of 'intellectual comedies' from the year 1669. A permanent professional theatre scene here came about at a later point in the 1730s. The initiative once again came from the city with their financial support leading to the construction of a stone theatre with a deep perspective stage and loges in the auditorium in the space of the disbanded Small Tavern. The operations for the new theatre were initiated in the year 1733 with the theatre functioning under the name Opernhaus or at times Opera-Haus, Spielhaus or Comedienhaus. The so-called 'Large Tavern' (that is the older, original inn building) also underwent construction adaptations, acquiring a second floor as well as a southern, two-storey wing and front (northern) side articulated by a monumental portal with the coat-of-arms of the city in the centre.

The theatre played without interruption up to the year 1785 when a large part of it burned down for the first time. A second major fire enveloped the building the following year. The theatre was immediately reconstructed and once again placed back into operations under the name  Königlichstädtisches National Theater (Royal City National Theatre).

Significant changes also took place at that time to the interior parts of the so-called 'Large Tavern'. The first and second floor of the northern wing were mutually connected, thereby creating a high dance hall of an impressive character. Adaptations to the interior also corresponded to the new articulation of the exterior façade. The second floor was broken up by oval transom windows with the window openings of the first floor connected with profiled chambranie. The application of tectonic articulation, apart from the later removed pilaster order, has remained preserved up until the present day. Starting with the emergence of the ceremonial dance hall in the northern wing one can begin to speak of the structure as Reduta in the true sense of the word.

The fire from the 23rd of June 1870 had catastrophic consequences for the theatre. After its termination, the building merely consisted of the burnt out perimeter walls. A two-storey town market place was built on the site of the fire over the years 1890-1891 according to a design by the municipal building authority. The fronts of the new structure were unified with the façade of Reduta in terms of height and tectonics. Both structures were connected by a crowning cornice making use of the same type of windows as well as the same décor. The ground floor of the market place is articulated by a Neo-Classical portal.

The theatre along with theatrical performances returns to Reduta in the year 1909. The new emerging scene known as Kleines Theater (Small Theatre) was situated into the Reduta hall. It, however, only functioned for one season only to discontinue its activities. The Reduta hall opened up for for theatrical performances for the second time in the year 1918. The renewed theatre bore the name Kleines Schauspielhaus (Small Playhouse). Starting in the year 1919 the City German Theatre and a Czech theatre played in alternate fashion in Reduta (up until that time it was exclusively used by a German acting association). This state of affairs continued up until the year 1939 when the theatre once again became exclusively German (renamed to Deutsches Schauspielhaus am Krautmarkt).

The structure underwent more extensive construction adaptations over the years 1956-1957 on the basis of a project by Professor Bohuslav Fuchs, Kamil Fuchs and their colleagues in the State Institute for Reconstruction of Historical Towns and Buildings. Reconstruction was also carried out on the theatre hall as well as the social areas of Reduta. The faulty ceiling and roof timbers above the auditorium were replaced while new artistic décor was applied (the authors being František Doubrava, Bohdan Lacina and Vincenc Makovský). The historical basements were opened and made accessible during the 1970s. A wine bar, the so-called Reduta Club, came about in the space according to a design by Kamil Fuchs. The full rehabilitation and evaluation of the structure came about in the 1980s with the architects Zdeněk Vávra and Jana Štefková preparing the renovation project. The actual realisation, however, never occurred. The following years were marked by a lack of interest and increasing degradation and neglect of the structure. The catastrophic state of the building culminated in the 1990s with a decision to bring a halt to the activity and the closing of Reduta. The final performance took place on the 26th of June 1993 consisting of A Concert of Melodies byJohann Strauss.

Reduta entered into a new historical era in the year 2002 when construction and restoration work was begun leading toward the overall renewal and saving of the structure. Apart from attempts at maximum preservation of the original elements, architectural members, etc., application of modern design, materials and contemporary details were carried out. The author of the renewal project was the Brno architectural studio D.R.N.H., v.o.s. which was victorious in a public competition in the year 2000. The reconstruction design was prepared by ing. arch. Antonín Novák, ing. arch. Petr Valenta, ing. arch. Radovan Smejkal and ing. arch. Eduard Štěrbák in co-operation with doc. Miroslav Melena, the artist Petr Kvíčala, ing. arch. Klára Michálková  and ing. arch. Karel Spáčil. The general supplier for the structure became the company IMOS Brno a.s. All of the construction work was completed in the year 2005. On the 1st of October of that same year the renewed Reduta was ceremonially opened with a combined evening with a ballet performance of Igor Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale and an original opera by Vít Zouhar Night in Day.

The Reduta is part of a block structure covering the corner area between the lower part of Zelný trh (Vegetable Market) and Kapucínské Square. The structure is made up of two originally independent buildings, at present, however, mutually connected and integrated into one whole. Part of the Reduta, consisting of the original Large Tavern, is in the form of a closed off right-angled block with a central atrium. The longitudinal wing of the former Small Reduta is situated on the eastern side (the later market).

The eight-windowed main façade faces out on the space of Zelný trh. The ground floor part is articulated by pilasters with Roman capitals holding up the fascia. The right-angled windows are simple in the left part and doubled in the right part. They are lined by recessed jambs with ears with both the cornices above and below the windows being direct. A richly articulated Baroque portal with the polychrome treated city coat-of-arms at the height of the archivolt is situated in the third axis facing out from the western corner. This is framed with pilasters and protruding columns with Ionic capitals. Above these are cut up entablatures bearing up the broken balcony landing. The convex bent balustrade of the balcony is enclosed along the sides by low pillars decorated on the front with volutes and two vases.

The second front portal is characterised by a simple tectonic articulation broken up by the eastern wing of Reduta in the central axis. The jambs of the portal with a half-circular springer is cut at the height of the oracle cartouche by the city coat-of-arms. Two Ionic half-columns flank the entrance along the sides, sitting upon high right-angled socles. The capitals bear entablatures with a tight fitting profiled cornice. A relief symbol of the butcher's guild was later inset into the wall on the left side of the portal.

The surfaces of the first and second floors are unified by the high, mutually connected chambranie of the window openings. The windows of the first floor (narrow, elongated) were vaulted in half-circles, culminating in a massive voussoir. The volume along the sides of the voussoirs was removed, thereby created shallow areas decorated with festoons. The small side vousoirs were ornamented on the front side with motifs of bezants and shells. The chambranie culminates with a segmented fronton supported by a cornice under the windows and a parapet.

The second floor contains oval window openings, fanlights. The articulation and profile of the chambranie corresponds to the scheme from the first floor with, however, the motif of festoons replaced by a full, protruding field.  The broken above-window cornice of the chambranie culminates at the second floor.

The side façade facing out on the alley between Zelný trh and Kapucínské Square has sets of six windows. The ground floor is articulated by pilasters holding up a fascia on their capitals. The grouped right-angled windows correspond in  terms of shape with the windows on the ground floor of the front façade. The south-west corner includes a right-angled entrance with profiled jambs, ears and head moulding.

Doubled window openings are also employed on the first and second floors. The profiled chambranie of the windows of the first floor is borne up by a below-window cornice situated on pillars and a below-window parapet. The central group of two window openings culminates with a segmented fronton, while the remaining have triangular frontons. The windows of the second floor are framed by simple chambranie.

Both the main and side façades have a crowing bracket cornice. The southern wing is covered by a pitched roof while the other wings have saddle roofs.

The look of the interiors, their arrangement and articulation were given by the reconstruction work from the years 2002-2005, while the actual layout of course arises from and respects the original Baroque design. The central space is a rectangular atrium, the original arcade courtyard presently covered by a glazed ceiling. The atrium is accessible via an oblong corridor from the main entrance. It is surrounded on three sides by arcade galleries (with right-angled or half-circular arcades) while the fourth side had been taken up by two glazed lift shafts. The main staircase is situated in the north-east corner of the atrium.

The most significant space on the first floor is the Ceremonial or Mozart Hall  (early known as the Reduta) taking up the northern wing of the structure. The elongated rectangular room contains four high windows, a centrally situated entrance to the balcony and an oval fanlight window on the level of the second height belt. The hall is accessible through two right-angled entrances in the southern wall. A Neo-classical balcony is situated above the central entrance on the level of the second floor consisting of a broken landing with a convex-concave shaped parapet held up by four oblong corbels. A belt of moveable strips with colour variations protrudes from the front of the eastern wall of the hall serving to change the colour scheme of the 'walls' when they turn to red or black, or even through a perpendicular setting connecting up the space of the hall with the back facilities. The ceremonial and gala atmosphere of the rooms is enhanced by the remarkably decorative treatment of the perimeter walls; with a network of red, closely placed next to one another, pantiles on a red foundation colour. The author of the spacious paintings is Petr Kvíčala.

The western wing is dominated by the rectangular room of the Chamber Hall, accessible through three entrances and lit up by a pair of double windows with wide scuncheons.

The eastern wing of Reduta remained designated for the theatre hall. Its present location respects the original historical layout with only the earlier position of the stage and auditorium having been exchanged. This came about through purely practical considerations, since the present stage area is directly adjacent to the area of the Ceremonial Hall, thereby simplifying work with scenery furniture as well as the movement of the actors.

The theatre hall is a chamber space with a capacity for 325 people. The auditorium is laid out on a elliptic ground plan. A balcony extends over the entire length of the room on the first floor with a significant inner arched curve. The second balcony is designed in an identical manner and presently made use of for technical facilities. A short, concave bent balcony juts out into the space of the proscenium.

The ceiling of the hall opens up with a glazed skylight (with the possibility of darkening) and a collection of the original steel-cast iron binders whose mass is intentionally revealed and displayed.

The balconies of the theatre hall, in similar fashion as the balcony of the Ceremonial hall, are accessible from the second floor. The remaining spaces of this floor are taken up by the operational, administrative rooms.

In light of the function of the structure (originally an inn connected with cultured society) and its central location in the historical core of the city, Reduta has been the witness and host to a number of important events and occurrences. In the year 1608, for example, Emperor Mathias granted religious freedom to the Moravian estates in this inn. The highest steward Thurn accompanying the Polish Queen Eleonara Marie Josef on their trip to Vienna was accommodated here in the year 1675. Several concerts were performed in the Reduta hall in the year 1767 by the young W. A. Mozart with great acclaim and the 1st Moravian constitutional congress met here in the year 1848.

 

Employed sources and literature:

- Plánová dokumentace, Archiv Oddělení dějin architektury a urbanismu Muzea města Brna.

- Fotografická dokumentace, Fotoarchiv Muzea města Brna

- Flodrová, Helena & Fuchs, Kamil & Sommer, Stanislav: Rekonstrukce budovy Reduty v Brně, in: Zprávy památkové péče XIX, Praha 1959, s. 38-45

- Hálová-Jahodová,C.: Reduta, in: Opus Musicum, 1970,č.10, s.302-308

- Eliáš, Jan:  Brno. Divadlo reduta. Stavebně historický průzkum, Brno 1998 (uloženo NPÚ Brno)

- Architekt 12/2000, s. 56-61

- Rekonstrukce divadla Reduta. Studie interieru.Květen 2001 (uloženo NPÚ Brno)

- Dufková, Eugenie (red.): Reduta. Divadlo na Horním náměstí, Brno 2005

http://www.ndbrno.cz/o-divadle/budovy-divadla/divadlo-reduta/historie/uvod-do-historie/ (vyhledáno 16.7.2008).

 

 

Tags: Contemporary era, Habsburg monarchy, terraced house, theatre hall

 

Author: Kateřina Kohoutkova - Gabrhelíková

Translator: David Livingstone

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