National Theater and Opera of Cluj-Napoca
The National Theater and Opera of Cluj-Napoca is one of the most valuable architectural monuments of the city and also one of the most representative examples of architecture from the first decade of the twentieth century in Cluj-Napoca. It was built between 1904-1906 on the former timber markets in what is currently Piața Avram Iancu. The work was performed by the renowned firm of Austrian architects Fellner and Helmer.
Bearing the mark of a secessionist style typical of the early twentieth century, the building has an elegance underlined by the facade with three arc portals and two shorter towers, surmounted each of a chariot drawn by lions, each one allegorical wearing a palm branch. The statues of the two are muses who sponsor Theater and Opera: Terpsichore, muse of music and dance, and Thalia, muse of comedy and theater are more “younger” than the theater building itself.
Until 1919, their current place was occupied by others statues, who were not mythological figures, but rather people representative of the cultural life of Cluj and Transylvania, two Transylvanian aristocrats: the Barons Miklós Wesselényi (1750-1809) and Miklós Jósika (1794-1865). The two statues are now in the backyard of the Hungarian Theatre of Cluj.
The hall, richly ornamented in baroque style of European theater, imposed in the eighteenth century, has a capacity of 900 seats. The inauguration of the theater took place on September 8, 1906, and since 1919 housed the National Opera in Cluj.
Formed after the Union of Transylvania with Romania in 1918 as the National Theatre, the company is distinguished by being the first Romanian-language theater company in Cluj. The founding company is considered to have taken place on May 14, 1919 when Tiberiu Brediceanu asked Onisifor Ghibu to take over the building on behalf of the Romanian Governing Council Romanian.
However, the first director of the company, in the person of Zaharia Barsan, was not appointed until the 18th of September 1919. Finally, if the first performance in Romanian taking place at the National Theater of Cluj was held on the 14th of May 1919, whilethe first spectacle of the Cluj-Napoca National Theatre Company held on December 1, 1919, marking a year since the Great Union. On this occasion, they played pieces such as Poemul Unirii and Se face ziuă, both by Zaharia Barsan. On December 2, 1919 was the first premiere of the first season, the drama Ovidiu by Vasile Alecsandri, with the same Zaharia Barsan in the title role.
Over time, the National Theatre of Cluj became one of the main promoters of Romanian culture in Transylvania. The whole dramatic work of Lucian Blaga was premiered here. Its current name chosen after the Revolution in 1989, is the National Theater “Lucian Blaga”.
Photos: Nicu Cherciu, Laviniu Campean
Piaţa Ştefan cel Mare, no. 2-4