Croatian National Theatre building in Rijeka
|Owner||Republic of Croatia|
City of Rijeka
|Type||National theatre, opera and ballet house|
|Opened||3 October 1885|
|Architect||Fellner & Helmer|
The Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc in Rijeka (Croatian: Hrvatsko narodno kazalište Ivana pl. Zajca Rijeka), commonly referred to as HNK Zajc, is a theatre, opera and ballet house located in Rijeka.
The theater tradition in Rijeka is longer than two centuries. The first theater building in this city was erected in 1765, but at the end of the 18th century the construction of the new theater began, which opened in 1805 by renowned Rijeka citizen and trader Andrea Lodovico Adamich. Over the next eighty years the theater life in Rijeka took place in Theater Adamich, filled mostly by performances of Italian and less by German opera and drama groups. However, in the late 19th century several European theaters struck a fire, and in all the cities of the Habsburg Monarchy began to take safety precautions, and Adamich Theatre did not meet the necessary conditions for normal operation. Rijeka municipal dealership decided to demolish the existing theater and build a brand new, modern and contemporary theater to suit Central European standards. In 1883 Rijeka city government, led by the famous mayor Giovanni Ciotti, the grandson of another legendary Lodovico Adamich, decided to raise a grand new theater building of Rijeka. It was decided that the theater will be built on what was then a vast Ürmeny square. The project was commissioned in Vienna, in a specialized studio for theater, with architects Herman Helmer and Ferdinand Fellner.
After two years of construction, the opening day of the new Municipal Theatre (Teatro Comunale) was on October 3, 1885. For this occasion, two great operas never before performed were prepared. They were Verdi's Aida and Ponchielli's Gioconda. On that day, the first visitors, numerous guests and invitees could enjoy the impressive theater building, a masterpiece of architecture of his time, whose figural plastic and ornamental work contributed by the famous Venetian sculptor August Benvenuti and ceiling paintings painter Franz Matsch in cooperation with even more famous brothers, Ernst and Gustav Klimt.
In its rich history theater in Rijeka changed its name several times. After the Municipal (Teatro Comunale), the Theatre was renamed, in 1913, to Teatro Verdi. However, do to historical and political circumstances (the city of Rijeka, at the time known as Fiume, became a Free State before passing to the Kingdom of Italy in 1924) the Croatian language and Croatian theater artists did not have access to the theater at all until the end of 1945 when, following the example of similar permanent national domestic and foreign theatrical institutions established permanent National Theatre in Rijeka, the Croatian drama, Italian drama and opera and ballet. On October 20, 1946, after passing to Yugoslavia, a show played on its stage in the Croatian language for the first time. It was Ivan Gundulić's Dubravka, directed by Dr. Matko Foteza with Marija Crnobori in the role of Dubravka. It was soon followed by the first performance of an opera and ballet, Zajc's Nikola Subic Zrinjski, conducted by Boris Papandopulo, and the title role sung Milan Pichler. The first play of the Italian drama was Goldoni's Il burbero benefico. In the year 1953 the theater gets a new name after another one composer, but this time the biggest Croatian and a fellow citizen of Rijeka, Ivan Zajc.
Since 1991 theater got the status of national theater, and in 1994 its present name, Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc. From the historical 1946 to today, with its four artistic branches (Croatian Drama, Italian Drama, the Symphonic Opera and ballet) and more than 50 years of their continuous operation, with its quality performance HNK in Rijeka managed to set high theatrical and artistic criteria and placed itself on the rightful place of one of the by quality leading theaters in Croatia. At the same time, his repertoire today is characterized by performances of drama, opera and ballet classics as well as works of Croatian dramatic and operatic heritage and also first performances of the national acts, especially contemporary.
Intendant: Marin Blažević
Business director: Martina Radelja (Jasmina Šegon)
Director of Opera: Petar Kovačić
Director of Ballet: Maša Kolar
Director Croatian Drama: Jelena Kovačić
Director Italian Drama: Rosanna Bubola
- "» Povijest kazališta". Hnk-zajc.hr. Retrieved 2017-05-02.