Last renovated in the 1970s, Prague’s State Opera will reopen its doors on January 5, 2020 following extensive rebuilding, repairs and cleaning for the last three years. By Ritika Dixit

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Considered one of the finest theatres in Europe, the State Opera in Prague first opened its doors to the general public in 1888. This building of cultural and historic significance is located next to the Federal Assembly building off Wenceslas Square. Started as a German stage with a performance of Wagner’s opera, The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, the State Opera in Prague will now feature new state-of-the-art technologies and a rebuilt rotating stage.

The State Opera building will reopen to the general public on January 5, 2020, exactly 132 years after its opening, with a gala concert and a small exhibition outlining the three years of renovation. Initially budgeted at 900 million crowns (approximately INR 2.8 billion), the final cost of the renovation rose to 1.3 billion crowns (approximately INR 9.8 billion).

One of the highlights of the renovated State Opera includes the lifting of the curtain, which has been remodelled just like the original curtain that was created by Austrian painter Eduard Veith (1858-1925). The curtain is a depiction of a travelling poet in armour, seeking inspiration from human beings, and their vices and virtues. Designed by Martin Cerny, the new curtain at the State Opera weighs a ton. The monumental murals by Eduard Veith and the frescoes have been restored, with new seats in the auditorium and reading devices with various subtitles. With the involvement of expert restorers, the aim was to bring back the main hall of the State Opera building to its former glory.

According to sources, the first half of 2020 will be a testing period for the new technologies and the layout of the premises which have been reconstructed. The first new production at the State Opera after the reopening will be King Roger by Karol Szymanowski, the most important figure in Polish music in the first half of the 20th century, on April 3, 2020.

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