Culture Ministry looking at new concepts for Prague’s classic stages
The Ministry of Culture is devising a new conceptual plan for Prague’s premier, state-run theatres. A group of experts has been put together to consider various alternatives for the better use of buildings like the Estates Theatre, the National Theatre and the Prague State Opera. Though only in the initial stages, critics were very quick to latch on to suggestions made in the first of several plans under consideration, raising a question mark over how easy it will be to reform the beloved and traditional, but economically ineffective venues.
Dr Besser was adamant that there were no specific changes to the Estates Theatre, the National Theatre or the Prague State Opera that had been decided on already, aside from what he called the obvious fact that things have to change in general. According to the minister, the reason behind that involves both economics and the quality of the performances, and the specific problem of opera, with the state financing two operatic and two ballet productions in two different theatres. Meanwhile, the Prague State Opera building is the only venue in the country fully capable of hosting large-scale opera and ballet productions, but is facing economic collapse. The minister says there is no thought of the state giving up on the opera, or the other venues.
Other aspects of the first proposal include using the National Theatre primarily for large-scale traditional drama, for state and ceremonial events, and for less technologically demanding performances, such as “master interpretations” of the great Czech composers.