SND Historical Building

The Historical Building of the Slovak National Theatre stands on the site of the former city theatre. Commissioned by the Count Juraj Csáky, it stood here as early as in 1776. The current building was built to the design by the architects Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer, opened in 1886. The building in eclectic style is one of many theatre buildings designed by the eminent team of the Vienna-based architects, which dot a number of European cities, including Sofia (Bulgarian), Budapest (Hungary, Karlovy Vary and Brno (Czech Republic), Zürich (Switzerland) or Berlin in Germany (Theater unter den Linden).

The City Theatre Bratislava first staged the stagione theatre performances by German and Hungarian companies. From 1920 it houses The Slovak National Theatre. Until the 1950s it was home to drama, opera and ballet performances. It wasn’t until the opening of the permanent stage for the SND Drama Company that the SND Historic Building became exclusively dedicated to the SND Opera and Ballet.

The building was adapted to meet the growing requirements of the theatre and, in 1943, it underwent refurbishment that brought new stage equipment. The subsequent reconstruction, in 1949, involved repair of the foundations that were damaged by air strikes during World War 2. It also brought renewed auditorium, lobby and the salon on the 1st floor.

The equipment from the 1930s still served the theatre well after WWII, until the massive reconstruction held between 1969 and 1972. The concept of the new reconstruction, which included a construction of a brand new contemporary annex in the rear of the historical building (on the square Komenského) came from the then director of the technical department of the SND, Vladimír Hazucha. The project author was the architect Rajmund Hirth. The designer general was the company Stavoprojekt Bratislava, the foundations plan was designed by Hydroconsult Bratislava, and stage equipment by the Mining Projects Bratislava and Theatre Services from Újezd by Brno. The general supplier was the Bratislava Construction Company. Whilst the entire construction required a total of 200 suppliers.

The listed building, given by the nature of its heritage protection, had to retain its original façade, the interior of the auditorium, the entrance lobby and the salon on the 1st floor. Nonetheless, the auditorium underwent substantial spatial transformation. To provide members of the audience with greater comfort, the transformation also involved reduction of the number of seats. All other areas have been modernised. Central cloak room opened in the basement (beneath the auditorium), cafés on the 2nd floor and smoking rooms on the ground floor and the 3rd floor. Areas on both sides of the stage have been refurbished to serve as changing rooms for the performing artists, wardrobe warehouses, equipment rooms and tuning salons (in the basement). The contemporary annex houses offices dedicated to directors, conductors, prompters, changing rooms, rehearsal rooms and administrative offices used by the SND administration of the SND Opera and Ballet. Three underground storeys are beneath the annex and the adjacent Komenského square: the 2 floor is home to stage decorations warehouse and the 3rd floor consists of two spacious ballet rehearsal halls.