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Czech National Theatre in Brno

 on Veveří street


ŽEROTÍNOVO NÁMĚSTÍ


This no longer extant building, which housed the first permanent Czech theatre stage, was sited on the corner of Ratvitovo (today's Žerotínovo) náměstí and Veveří street, where the hostelry "U Marovských" was situated. The Cooperative of the Czech National Theatre in Brno purchased the building in 1883 and the original dance hall was adapted for use as a provisional theatre. The gala opening in November 1884 was an important moment for Brno's Czech population. Opera, operetta and plays in Czech were performed in the theatre, and great emphasis was placed on Czech artists. Janáček regularly attended the performances by the Brno National Theatre, he wrote reviews and he was even a member of the committee of the Cooperative which organised this theatre. In 1894 he conducted the premiere of his opera The Beginning of a Romance here, but the modest theatre made its mark on history on 21 January 1904, when it presented the first performance of Jenůfa

During World War II, the building was damaged and despite repairs and being used for a while, the effects of the bombing took their toll. In 1952, a part of the building was torn down and the rest was used for rehearsal space. In December 1973, the building was completely demolished and replaced by what is now called the Bílý dům (White House). The theatre, originally intended as a temporary solution, served the needs of the Brno National Theatre for all of 68 seasons. A new theatre was not built in Brno until 1965, when the Janáčkovo divadlo (Janáček Theatre) was completed, which is now the home of the Janáček Opera and the National Theatre Brno Ballet.

The building of the "U Marovských" hostelry with dance hall on the corner of Veveří street and Žerotínovo náměstí, adapted for the Czech National Theatre in Brno © National Theatre Brno Archive
The building of the "U Marovských" hostelry with dance hall on the corner of Veveří street and Žerotínovo náměstí, adapted for the Czech National Theatre in Brno © National Theatre Brno Archive

The moment that we have waited so long for has finally arrived: the National Theatre has opened to the Art! This signifies a new era for Brno and for the whole of Moravia. In order to make it as significant as possible for our nation we have decided to publish the weekly "Hudební listy", which throughout the theatre season will review succinctly and without bias both opera and drama, something which for various reasons the daily newspapers are unable to accomplish.

From the manifesto on the front page of the first edition of the journal Hudební listy (Music Sheets), which Janáček established and edited (13. 12. 1884)


The Czech National Theatre in Brno at the corner of Veveří street (view towards Žerotínovo náměstí © National Thetre Brno Archive
The Czech National Theatre in Brno at the corner of Veveří street (view towards Žerotínovo náměstí © National Thetre Brno Archive
The foyer of the Czech National Theatre at the corner of Veveří street in 1934 © Brno City Archive
The foyer of the Czech National Theatre at the corner of Veveří street in 1934 © Brno City Archive
The corner of Veveří street and Žerotínovo náměstí today, photo Jiří Zahrádka
The corner of Veveří street and Žerotínovo náměstí today, photo Jiří Zahrádka
The auditorium of the Czech National Theatre at the corner of Veveří street © Moravian Museum
The auditorium of the Czech National Theatre at the corner of Veveří street © Moravian Museum
tableau of those performing in Janáček's opera The Beginning of a Romance © Moravian Museum
tableau of those performing in Janáček's opera The Beginning of a Romance © Moravian Museum
Cyril Metoděj Hrazdira, first conductor of the opera Jenůfa © Moravian Museum
Cyril Metoděj Hrazdira, first conductor of the opera Jenůfa © Moravian Museum
Leopoldina Svobodová, the first Kostelnička, in the opera Jenůfa © Moravian Museum
Leopoldina Svobodová, the first Kostelnička, in the opera Jenůfa © Moravian Museum
Poster for the world premiere of the opera Jenůfa (21. 1. 1904) © Moravian Museum
Poster for the world premiere of the opera Jenůfa (21. 1. 1904) © Moravian Museum
Janáček's draft of the opera Jenůfa © Moravian Museum
Janáček's draft of the opera Jenůfa © Moravian Museum
Members of the ensemble of the National Theatre in Brno in 1913 © Moravian Museum
Members of the ensemble of the National Theatre in Brno in 1913 © Moravian Museum
Leoš Janáček in the year of the premiere of the opera Jenůfa (1904) © Moravian Museum
Leoš Janáček in the year of the premiere of the opera Jenůfa (1904) © Moravian Museum