Even though the State Opera still looks like a construction site, gold is already peeping out from under the scaffolding and plastic covering. After three years, during which construction workers were going wild in one of the city's most imposing buildings, the dirty work is finally coming to an end and all that is left to do now is to polish the chandeliers and start decorating. Watch the video to find out what the inside of the house that usually demands a strict dress code currently looks like.
The ceremonial reopening is planned for January 5, and according to the words of the director of the National Theater, Jan Burian, who is in charge of the Opera, there will be no delay. Even so, the Opera will be running in a semi-operational regime during the first six months, since the technology and routine operation need to be fine-tuned, so that the productions that had been rehearsed and run in the State Opera in the three years before the reconstruction can return.
The reopening is planned for the 132th anniversary of the Opera's first opening in 1888.
The theater is preparing a special program for this occasion, which will guide the audience through the most prominent chapters in the history of the State Opera. The first new production at the State Opera will be The Nuremberg Singers in November 2020.
However, the site manager Jan Křístka has to hand over the building on 15 December.
"We're not afraid of not making it on time. We are already laying carpets in the auditorium, hanging wallpaper, installing lights, brackets, gilding...,"
enumerates Křístek. The restorers cleaned the murals and rare frescoes. The first seats, in which the spectators will be able to sit early next year, are already standing in the auditorium.
A crane looming over the turntable
In June, the auditorium was still under construction, dominated by a huge gaping hole prepared for the technically most demanding equipment, the turntable. At the moment, a crane is still looming over it, making the hanging up of components that weigh several tons easier. The workers in the multi-meter iron construction are still adjusting the turntable. The dark hall with a revolving auditorium is occasionally illuminated by the glow of a flashlight or sparks from a nearby grinder.
Some of the lodges with wooden railings on the first floor have been partially completed. The builders are incorporating a reading device with the translations of opera lyrics in the railings. According to the director of technical administration Václav Pelouch, the staff had to test all the materials in the laboratory, so as to prevent the furniture, red paneling and carpets from disturbing the acoustics of the hall.
"The acoustics was relatively good. Our task was not to spoil it, and we have hopefully succeeded. All the work done here was first examined in laboratories and acoustic chambers. We have tested all the materials, including wallpapers, carpets and sofas, as new seats have also been made, resemblings those that had been in the Opera before the reconstruction in the 1970s,"
Fun worth 1.3 billion
The original reconstruction estimate was approximately CZK 900 million. However, changing the turntable technology worth CZK 115 million and the reconstruction of air-conditioning had a major impact on the final price. It eventually increased to 1.3 billion crowns, including VAT.