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Krušnohorské Theatre Teplice

Adolf Linnebach, Rudolf Bitzan

alias Krušné hory Regional Theatre, Town Theatre of Teplice-Šanov, Theatre of the Čapek Brothers, Theatre of the North
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1787 | First theatre in Teplice established
First stand-alone theatre was established in Teplice according to design by J.A. Giesel as an annexe to west wing of the castle.
(detail)1861 | First project of the new theater building
Councillor Franz Stradal proposed a plan for the construction of permanent public theatre.
(detail)1871 | The decision about construction of the theatre
There was chosen a place on the border of city park , the design was done by architect Bernhard Schreiber from Dresden.
(detail)1919 | Fire
The outcome of the fire was so devastating , that the city council decided to demolish the rest of the perimeter wall and to build a whole new theater.
(detail)1921 | Selection and approval of the new project

In the process of selection there was considered the design by Adolf Linnchenbach as a one to realize, but finally was chosen the design by Rudolf Bitzan , who completed that with the cooperation of Adolf Linnchenbach. The project was accepted on 7th May 1921 on the meeting board of town council. Advisory assembly was consisting of Martin Dülfer , Max Littmann, Adolf  Linnebach and  Artur Payer.


(detail)20.4.1924 | Opening of the new building
Grand theatre hall was opened with a performance of Richard Wagner's opera The Mastersingers of Nuremberg.
(detail)60. 's 20. century | Several minor reconstructions
There was built second theatre stage and were carried out adaptations of the auditorium in 1960´s . The facade of the building and the roof were partially reconstructed in late 1980´s .
(detail)26.10.1998 | Reopening after reconstruction
The building was under the last big reconstruction between 1996-98, according the design by collective of atelier of the firm Pragoprojekt led by Josef Miňovský. Architectonic solution was the work of Miloš Macháč.

People

(detail)Adolf Linnebach |main architect, jury member

German architect and theatrical technician. He worked for several theatres in Germany, especially in Munich.


(detail)Rudolf Bitzan |main architect

German architect , who was working in Freiburg , later in Dresden and since 1903 constructed among other family houses in North Bohemia .

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Hans Kellner |architect
(detail)Miloš Machač |architect

Contemporary Czech architect. Member of A.D.I. studio.

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(detail)Josef Miňovský |architect

Contemporary Czech architect , employee of the company Pragoprojekt.

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(detail)Bernard Schreiber |architect

German architect, who studied by Herman Nicolai . Known for the early use of Renaissance Revival style.

Source:

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(detail)Martin Dülfer |jury member

German architect and professor, who designed initially in Baroque Revival style and around 1900 employed Art Nouveau and joined both the branches to original synthesis. He built especially for higher middle class.

Source:

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(detail)Max Littmann |jury member

German architect, who focused his attention primarily on the construction of representative buildings as theatres, department stores and spa buildings.

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Richard Gurr |sculptor

History

Regular theatre life in Teplice has its beginnings as far back as the middle of the 18th century, specifically in the year 1751 when František Václav Clary-Aldringen established a home theatre for his family and guests.  The Clary-Aldringen family was also responsible for the first permanent theatre in Teplice, carried out according to a design by J. A. Giesel in the year 1787 through the addition to the western wing of their château. The hall had a capacity for almost 300 people and was additionally rented out to travelling troupes. A summer theatre was established in Teplice in the Trnovanská park in the year 1855 and at a later point on the summer grounds in the garden of the spa house 'U Věnce' ('Zum Rautenkranz'). The Teplice town council member Franz Stradal consequently submitted a proposal for a permanent public theatre in the year 1861. This plan was finally successfully implemented at a later point in the year 1871 when the town assembly passed a decision regarding the construction of a theatre building. A locale on the edge of the town park at today's U císařských Lázní street (at that time with the name Königsstraβe) was chosen for the building. The theatre was designed for approximately 800 people with the construction design prepared by the Dresden architect Bernhard Schreiber at the recommendation of Josef Turba and Josef Zítek. This Neo-Renaissance structure with rustication on the ground floor and a massive three-part columned loge on the first floor burned down, however, on the night of the 31st of August/1st of September 1919. The consequences of the fire were so serious that the town was forced to demolish the remains of the perimeter walls and build an entirely new theatre.

 Despite the fact that the town was experiencing the difficult post-war economic and political situation connected with the emergence of the Czechoslovak First Republic, the town assembly members began to rapidly push for the construction of the new theatre building. They were very much aware of the Teplice theatre tradition. In their view the German Teplice theatre and cultural public had been the second most advanced immediately after the German public in Prague. The town council called upon an advisory council made up of renowned experts: Martin Dülfer from Munich, Max Littmann from Stuttgart, Adolf Linnebach from Dresden and Artur Payer from the German Technical College in Prague. The town assembly initially decided for the project by Adolf Linnebach and the architect Anders who designed a theatre with a ring-shaped stage for the park near Lípová street. Eventually, however, this design was rejected due to technical problems and difficulties concerning space. 

A new plan was consequently brought forth by the town civil engineer Hans Kellner who gradually pushed through a project for a multi-purpose building serving not only as a theatre, but also for the additional cultural needs of the spa town. The design by the architect Rudolf Bitzan was most suitable for these requirements. Bitzan combined his strengths and experience with Adolf Linnebach who designed the stage area and the machinery equipment for the new building.

Both authors were experienced creators with Rudolf Bitzan having participated in the competition for the construction of the theatre in nearby Ústí nad Labem in the year 1907, whose final winner was Alexandr Graf. At the time of the construction project of the Teplice theatre, Bitzan had already carried out, amongst other things, the realization of the crematorium in Liberec, the construction of the Evangelical church in Zhořelec and the building of the Savings Bank in Rumburk. He was also an experienced interior designer with his realizations including, for example, the entrance area for the house of artists in Dresden, the interior of the Pošta café in Liberec as well as the internal spaces of Bílá Růže (White Rose) Hotel in Rumburk. Adolf Linnenbach was the technical director and designer of the stage for the Dresden drama theatre.

A project for the construction was accepted on the 7th of May 1921 at a meeting of the town council. The costs were initially estimated at 14 million crowns with the final amount, however, rising up to 28 million. The money was obtained by means of town loans and shares issued by the town. The surrounding communities also contributed to the construction project, including, for example, Trnovany, Řetenice or Novosedlice.

in the year 1921 work began on cleaning up the ruins of the old theatre building. The concrete work for the foundations was initiated the following year by the construction firm Blaschke, Rieger and Janovský. A cinema in the building was opened as early as September of the year 1923, followed by the small hall and a café on the 1st of January 1924 and finally the large theatre hall on the 20th of April of that same year with a performance of  Richard Wagner's opera The Mastersingers of Nuremberg. Theatre productions in the new building continued without interruption up to the season of 1943/44 when the activities of the theatre were brought to a halt.  The theatre was consequently reopened in May 1945 when a new troupe came to Teplice from České Budějovice under the leadership of T. Šeřínský, a student of E.F. Burian.

The initial name of the newly opened theatre Divadlo Severu (Theatre of the North) was changed that year to the Town Theatre of Teplice-Šanov and from the season 1946/47 to Divadlo bratří Čapků (Theatre of the Čapek Brothers). The building was once again renamed as Krajské krušnohorské divadlo (Regional Krušné hory Theatre) in the year 1947 ( there was a shared director in Teplice at that time for the Ústí nad Labem opera and the Most theatre). The name was changed to the Krušné hory Regional Theatre after the year 1952 and consequently to the current name Krušné hory Theatre.

Only minimum adaptations were carried out to the building up until the 1960s when the number of rows of seats was decreased in the large theatre hall thereby lessening the capacity of the auditorium. New seats were introduced originally from the National Theatre in Prague and a lighting cabin was installed. The interiors in the restaurant parts were adapted in the period style of the 1960s and the cinema was closed, consequently creating room for a second theatre hall. The roof and the façade of the building were partially reconstructed at the end of the 1980s. The last major reconstruction to the building took place over the years 1996-98 according to a design by the architectural office Pragoprojekt under the leadership of Josef Miňovský. The architectural design of the renewal project was the work of Miloš Machač. Reconstruction to the façade took place while the renewal work on the interiors initially focused on the particularly damaged restaurant and café parts where the authors of the designs attempted to restore the original appearance. At a somewhat later point reconstruction work on the theatre parts was carried out with the wooden cladding replaced in the theatre hall along with repairs to the upholstery of the loges. The theatre was reopened on the 26th of October 1998 with a performance of the play Švestka performed by the Prague theatre Jára Cimrman.

The building's irregular ground plan is covered by a system of hip roofs with its main (northern) façade facing out on U císařských lázní street while the eastern and southern sides are surrounded by the adjoining spa park. The building has a monumental, robust Modernist look with references to Classicism and the Empire style. The monumental character can be seen in particular in the eastern part of the six-storey building supported in the northern front by the vertically articulated façade made up of sunken window axes housing rectangular windows whose parapets model stucco rectangles. The main feature of the northern façade is the bay protruding out in a half-circle in the central axis with a group of five entrances on the ground floor and spacious rectangular windows on the first floor lighting up the space of the foyer. The parapet sculpted décor of the bay contains the motif of the town coat-of-arms in its centre with matching spa motifs along the sides. The shape of the convex parts of the bay is reflected in a concave symmetrical manner in the same axis in the two upper floor façades, thereby increasing the space of the terrace on the top of the bay. The five-window scheme of the protruding façade is articulated by the balcony and rectangular, horizontal windows framed by massive twinned pilasters. The façade is crowned by a huge cornice and an parapet with a decorated stucco balustrade. The characteristic motifs of the main façade are also employed on the other parts of the exterior. 

The extensive terrace of the restaurant is located in front of the seven-windowed eastern façade. The volume of the restaurant juts out from the façade in the form of a ground-floor seven-windowed bay which bears up once again a terrace on the first floor with two rounded bays with staircases to the foyer of the theatre (today's Smetana Hall) on the side axes. The façade has relief portraits of L. V. Beethoven, J.W. Goethe and Friedrich Schiller between lyres surrounded by amoretti. Putti holding fruit stand in sculpted frames above the entrance to the restaurant. The motif of two masks in a triangular gable symbolising the comic and tragic muses crowns the entire façade.

    The appearance of the building expresses the ground plan design of the interior when viewing it from the south. The spaces of the cinema hall stand out from the façade on the ground floor linking in the form of a terrace with the volume of the small hall on the following floor. The final highest level of the façade is made up of the body of the theatre hall. The décor of the façade is supplemented by relief motifs of Bacchic ornament. The western façade originally neighbouring the rear tract of the buildings on the next street is blind. The building is crowned by the tower of the fly loft with a hip roof whose Neo-Classical façade is articulated by small rectangular windows under the main cornice.

    Apart from the actual theatre, the building originally contained the cinema, a smaller hall with a small stage (the so-called 'Kursaal') and an extensive restaurant complex located in the basement, ground floor and the first floor of the eastern part of the building. Both of the main halls are in the central and southern parts of the building with the entire, large theatre hall taking up the second highest floor with space for the access staircases along with the current Smetana Hall originally serving as an extensive theatre snack bar. The western part contains the utility rooms.

A large entrance hall entered via the oval vestibule serves the theatre halls. The flat roof of the rectangular space is supported by four huge concrete columns clad in dark red artificial marble and crowned with fan-shaped glazed extensions with hung glass strips. The first flight of stairs leading to the antechamber of the small hall is situated at the end of the hall. The small hall, containing a small rectangular stage and a snack bar on the back wall connected to the restaurant complex, has a square ground plan crowned by a reinforced concrete cupola. The double-flight of stairs continue upwards to the corridor adjoining the main theatre hall. This hall has a rectangular ground plan with the elevation of the parterre following a rising curve of six half-circular intersecting side loges. The balcony with a convex/concave undulating parapet connects up on the level of the final loges. The proscenium loges are on the level of the stage.

The theatre hall was originally designed for 1081 people only to be increased to a capacity of 1326 in the 1960s when the main hall was connected up with the adjoining Smetana Hall by sliding doors.  The cladding of the stage portal along with other elements is from oak wood while the pillars articulating the first floor of the hall are gilded with stucco frames with vegetative motifs. This gilded stucco décor additionally frames the opening of the stage portal. The most impressive stucco décor can be seen on the flat ceiling of the hall where vegetative, geometric decoration in sculpted circles alternates with fan-shaped motifs, echoing the crowns of the columns in the entrance hall. The main lighting of the hall is incorporated into the circular frames.

The original stage had four curtains: an iron one from corrugated plate which is still employed by the theatre up until the present, the main curtain of a gold colour, the blue opera curtain and a black curtain. The stage was originally equipped with moveable stage wagons which made preparation of parts of the decoration off the stage possible. A vaulted horizon was situated at its end made up light monocoque from plaster on a wooden frame. The spacious oblong space of today's Smetana Hall is situated at the rear wall of the theatre hall.

The sculptural and painting décor of the theatre was carried out exclusively by artists from the Dresden area invited to Teplice by Rudolf Bitzan. The external sculptural work was executed under the supervision of the Dresden sculptor Richard Ghur with the co-operation of Anton Schaff and Franz Kohn. The architect Bitzan consulted with the Dresden artist Baranovský regarding the paint work for the interiors. The painting of Richard Wagner as a knight of the Holy Grail, originally located in Smetana Hall, was by the painter Goller.

 

 

Sources and literature:

- Okresní archiv Teplice, fond Městský stavební úřad, karton 506.

-  Archiv stavebního úřadu MěÚ Teplice, stavební dokumentace Krušnohorského divadla Teplice, č.p. 761

Teplitz-Schönauer Anzeiger; 25.12. 1923, s.5-6.

-  Mischler, Alexander: Die Schöpfer der Baupläne der Stadtsäle, in: Festschrift des Teplitz-Schönauer Anzeiger;20.4., 1924, s.1-6.

-  Teplitz-Schönauer Anzeiger; 22.4.,1924,1-3.

-  Mischler, Alexander: Der Werdegang des Baues, in: Gedenkschrift zur Eröffnung des neuen Stadttheaters in Teplitz-Schönau; Teplice 1924, s.13-33.

-  Wasmuths Monatshefte;  IX, Berlin 1925, s. 73n.

-   Javorin, Alfred: Divadla a divadelní sály v českých krajích; Praha 1949, s. 286-287.

-  Plevka, Bohumil: Cesty 1945 – 1985 Krušnohorské divadlo Teplice; Teplice 1985,s 11-16.

-  Trägrová, Jarmila & Peková, Jana: Severočeské profesionální divadlo 1945-1982; Ústí nad Labem 1987, s.95-99.

-  Hilmera, Jiří: Stavební historie městského divadla v Teplicích, in: Umění XLI, 1993, s.426-430.

-  Hilmera, Jiří: Česká divadelní architektura; Praha 1999, s. 114-116.

-  Smrček, Antonín & Uher, Václav: Rekonstrukce Krušnohorského divadla; Teplice 1998, s.1-15.

 

Tags: Neoclassicism, Interwar period, Art deco

 

Author: Ludmila Hůrková

Translator: David Livingstone

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