National Theatre, Warsaw, Poland
Warsaw National Opera, also known as the Great Theatre (Polish Teatr Wielki - Opera Narodowa), was founded nearly two centuries ago. The theater building was constructed from 1825 to 1833, according to the design of the famous Italian architect Antonio Corazzi. The theater opened on February 24, 1833. The first opera staged on the same day was the "The Barber of Seville" by Rossini.
In 1939 the building was heavily damaged by Nazi bombs and was almost completely destroyed. The ruins of the building were the main place, where Nazis were killing Poles during the Warsaw Uprising. Fortunately, after the war it was not only rebuilt, but also expanded, according to the plan of Bohdan Pniewski. The building reopened its doors for the visitors in 1965. Only the facade of the building was undamaged during the Second World War. The façade of the Opera is three-tiered. The second tier is decorated with columns, and above it in 2002, sculpture of Apollo’s Quadriga was added. Corazzi himself wanted to decorate the building with a similar sculpture, but he was unable to accomplish this plan. During his lifetime Poland was ruled by Russian Emperor Nicholas I, who did not want the Polish National Opera to be more majestic than the buildings in St. Petersburg.
As a result of renovation and expansion, Warsaw Opera house combines architectural elements of classicism, modernism, eclecticism and art-deco. These elements harmoniously merge with each other, giving every detail of this huge building thought-out elegance and beauty. The administration of the National Opera tries to display similar diversity also in Opera’s cultural programs, in order to connect modern and classic art.
Inside the building, the mosaic on the floor of the main lobby is particularly impressive. It is made of varicolored wood, which allowed creating amazing contrasts without using artificial colors. On the first floor the only Polish Theatre Museum is located.
The building of the National Theatre is surprisingly huge. In order to completely bypass around the building at least 15 minutes are required. This is one of the biggest opera houses in Europe. The building also includes exotic restaurants, where you can enter only from the outside. The theatre is one of the main symbols and sights of Warsaw.
By Anna Pambukhchyan, www.building.am