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On 21 April 2013, it will be 230 years since the Estates Theatre in Prague opened its doors (1783). In Prague’s theatre history this stage occupies an exceptional position. It was the first theatre in the Czech lands to be assigned an enlightening function by its founder and builder Count František Antonín Nostic. It was intended to serve as an institution for the edification and education of the nation, and it was meant to fulfil this function for both the German and Czech populations in Prague and to do so by maintaining a multilingual repertoire of drama and opera works. Until 1862 Czech and German companies shared the theatre. In 1862 the Prague Provisional Theatre (Prozatímní divadlo) opened and was the first independent Czech theatre. Until 1920 the Estates Theatre, with its German-language repertoire, was one of Europe’s most prominent theatres and had active international ties. In 1920 the theatre was taken over by a Czech company.
Two hundred years ago, in April 1813, Carl Maria von Weber (1786–1826) was hired as opera director at the Estates Theatre. He stayed in the post for three years. Under his direction the theatre hosted the Prague premiere of Beethoven’s Fidelio (1814), staged the world premiere of Louis Spohr’s opera Faust (1816) and premiered works by Czech composers, such as Jiří Antonín Benda (Medea, 1813) and Anton Rösler (Elisene, 1815). In newspapers, periodicals, and in his vast correspondence he regularly commented on Prague’s cultural and social life.
The Arts and Theatre Institute (Institut umění – Divadelní ústav) and the National Theatre (Národní divadlo), in cooperation with the International Carl Maria von Weber Society, the National Museum’s Czech Museum of Music, and the Theatre Studies Department at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University are preparing an international interdisciplinary conference to mark both anniversaries.
The organisers hereby issue a call for submissions to take part in the conference and welcome papers on the theatre and musical arts, history, art history, literature, and related fields presenting research findings and offering new stimuli for further research.
Date of the conference: 18–21 April 2013
Conference languages: Czech – German (with simultaneous translation)
Preliminary programme: two conference days, attendance at a performance at the Estates Theatre, a tour of the historical building
Please submit applications with the title and a brief abstract of your paper no later than 15 June 2012 to the conference coordinator Michaela Kuklová at: firstname.lastname@example.org