Budova Slovenskeho narodneho divadia
(The building of Slovak National Theatre)
Foto: Alexander Jirousek
postmarked in 2008 with a Slovensko (Slovakia) 25 Peking 2008 Olympics stamp
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The Neo-Renaissance Slovak National Theatre, (renamed in 1920 to the Slovak National Theatre), was built in 1885–1886 during the time of Austria-Hungary. It was opened as the City Theatre on September 22, 1886 with the opera Bánk bán of Ferenc Erkel, which is one of the most important Hungarian opera. As a sign of this event's importance Kálmán Tisza Hungarian Prime Minister and his all government took part on this ceremony. The gala performance was conducted by Ferenc Erkel himself.
The original building was designed for 1000 spectators and was illuminated using 800 gas lamps, while the auditorium had a lustre with 64 lights. The interior was decorated, with frescos of by Pressburg native painter Kornél Spányik and by paintings by Munich artist Leo Lüttgendorf-Leinburg, among others.
The building has housed Slovak National Theatre ensembles since 1920, but today only the opera and ballet ensembles are resident. It was restored between 1969 and 1972, when a new modern technical building was added behind the old building.