The National Theatre

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SITE OVERVIEW
Stone theatres had been built in cities of the countryside across Europe in the last decades of the 19th century. When Szeged was rebuilt after the Great Flood of 1879, the leadership contracted the Vienna-based Fellner & Hellmer Company (of European significance) to plan a theatre. Construction works were carried out by the local Jiraszek and Krausz Co. It was not the first theatre in town, the local theatre company had performed in a wooden building.
GENERAL
Stone theatres had been built in cities of the countryside across Europe in the last decades of the 19th century. When Szeged was rebuilt after the Great Flood of 1879, the leadership contracted the Vienna-based Fellner & Hellmer Company (of European significance) to plan a theatre. Construction works were carried out by the local Jiraszek and Krausz Co. It was not the first theatre in town, the local theatre company had performed in a wooden building. Upholstery works of the new stone theatre were made by the renowned furniture maker Mór Seifmann; frescos depicting a Muse, Tragedy, Dance and Music were painted on the ceiling by Gusztáv Mannheimer. Austrian Emperor and Hungarian King Josef Franz opened the building on 14 October 1883. Unfortunately, the glorious theatre burnt down in 1885. The architects redesigned the building based on the original plans, but this time they paid special attention to fire safety. The new theatre was ready a year later. Decorative frescos of the ceiling (Court music, Folk Dance, Children’s Masquerade, Musicians) were painted this time by Ármin Kern. Besides chairs, chandeliers, plaster decorations transported from Vienna and Berlin, works of local furniture makers also contributed to the interior design, upholstery was made again by Mór Seifmann together with the Lengyel Company. Six muses can be seen on the main façade of the building; the statues depicting the first Hungarian playwright József Katona (on the left) and the composer of the national hymn Ferenc Erkel (on the right), have a symbolic meaning.
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