Schwarzenberg Castle Theater in the 18th Century

After the death of Johann Christian I. von Eggenberg in 1710, interest in theatre among the castle residents declined. During the second generation of the new owners, the princes of Schwarzenberg, interest in theatre culture rose again in the mid 18th century. From 1765 to 1766, during the reign of Josef Adam zu Schwarzenberg, the original Eggenberg theatre was rebuilt along with a large-scale Baroque reconstruction of the rest of Krumlov castle. The project was most likely worked up by Andreas Altomonte, who also worked as a theatre architect in the Emperor\'s court in Vienna.

Plan of the Český Krumlov Castle Theatre from 2nd half of the 18th century

In January of 1766 the theatre carpenter Lorenz Makh from Vienna was taken into royal service after already having worked from December 1765 on the construction of the internal wooden architecture of the theatre. From an account from the castle hetman on January 15, 1766, we know that by that time the ceiling of the auditorium was ready, as was the stage floor and curtain winches, and the carpenter was just beginning to prepare the wing frames.

Sliding wing frames which control the side wings in the Český Krumlov Castle theatre Machinery and special effects devices of Castle Theatre in Český Krumlov, winches in the rope area designed for control of backdrops and suffites, 1999, foto: Věroslav Škrabánek

Winches for controlling wing frames, machinery of Český Krumlov Castle Theatre, foto: Věroslav Škrabánek

As far as the architectural project of the theatre is concerned, archival sources inform us that the auditorium was built according to a drawing of Johann Nepomuk zu Schwarzenberg, the princely son of the castle\'s owner. During the construction, his designs were criticized by the painters of the theatre decorations, Hans Wetschel and Leo Märkel, invited from Vienna. Their opinions were not taken into consideration.

Ćeský Krumlov, Schwarzenberg Castle Theatre in the 18th century, view from stage to auditorium, 1999, foto: Věroslav Škrabánek

From this time, the second half of the 18th century, up to the present, the original theatre fund has been preserved in almost undamaged condition. The fund consists of not only physical objects such as the building, auditorium, orchestra pit, stage, machinery, decorations, costumes, props, lighting technology, and fire and signalization equipment, but also written documentation such as librettos, scripts, texts, partituras, sheet music, inventories, accounts, orders, correspondence and other rich archival documents as well as visual sources, such as a collection of costume designs, scene designs, plans, portraits of patrons, and so on.

Castle Theatre in Český Krumlov, general view with the decoration set

See also :
Schwarzenberg Collection of Theatrical Items and Repertoire
Castle Theater Installations
Layout of the Castle Theater Building