The State Opera (Czech: Státní opera), is an opera house in Prague, Czech Republic. It is part of the National Theatre of the Czech Republic, founded by Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic in 1992. The theatre itself originally opened in 1888 as the New German Theatre and from 1949 to 1989 it was known as the Smetana Theatre. More recently it was known as the Prague State Opera.
New German Theatre
The history of the theatre currently known as the Prague State Opera dates back to the late 19th Century. While often overshadowed by the more prominent National Theatre of Prague, the company has its own distinct history. The birth of a magnificent Czech Theatre, the National Theatre, in 1883 indirectly created a longing among the Prague German community for a German-speaking opera house of its own. At that time the Czech lands were part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and there was a large German minority living in Prague. On 4 February 1883 the Deutscher Theaterverein was founded with the goal of raising funds for the new theatre. The plans were developed by the well-known Viennese firm Fellner & Helmer along with Karl Hasenauer, architect of the Burgtheater in Vienna. The resulting Neues deutsches Theater (New German Theatre) was designed by the Prague architect Alfons Wertmüller and built within 20 months. With its spacious auditorium and elaborate neo-rococo décor, the theater was one of the most beautiful in Europe.