Monday, 23 March 2009
Virtual tour baroque theatre Český Krumlov
This is the "ceremonial hall scene" in the Royal Theatre of Český Krumlov in Bohemia. There are ten sets of side wings, creating an illusion of depth and space, though the stage is tiny. Scene changes were created by moving side wings as needed, so there were many different sets of wings for different purposes, eg woodland, town, port and even "besieged town" and "prison". Since there was no electricity, elaborate machinery was used. This is of interest in itself because it was state of the art technology at the time.
Český Krumlov is coming to London on April 4th, where parts of it will be on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum as part of the blockbuster exhibition Style in the Age of Magnificence : Baroque 1620-1800 which perhaps I should highlight in goldleaf, since extravagant excess is so much in the spirit of the era. The theatre at Český Krumlov was built in 1766 and remarkably well preserved. Even now access is strictly limited, and its rare performances aren't open to the public. The only other comparable baroque theatre is Drottingholm in Sweden, which is slightly later. The V&A exhibition will be a unique opportunity to look at 18th century stagecraft and understand why it was the way it was. The baroque needs to be understood on its own terms, not by those of the late 19th century, or you miss the whole point.
Český Krumlov castle has a website where you can even do a 360 degree virtual tour of the theatre and read about its history, sets, machinery etc. Highly recommended ! The site has masses of material but takes a while to navigate, so use odd labels like the one simply marked "interesting".
Please see the other posts on baroque art and music, and the big exhibition at the V&A