National Theater

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The National Opera and Ballet Theater in Vilnius
Teatrul Național in Cluj-Napoca , Romania

National Theater is the name of various theaters as an institution or building.

Originally, the National Theater was a stage with the task of promoting local plays in the national language and with a “national character”. The national theater was supposed to overcome the division of the stages into court theater and popular theater since the 18th century . The language community , for which the theater created a common framework, should be more important than class .


Originally, the word was primarily used to identify the language on the stage. The “National Theaters” founded at the end of the 18th century did not claim to serve as state theaters for the entire German nation. Rather, the renunciation of the Italian opera and French drama common in courtly circles should be represented in the name.

In this sense, the Vienna Hofburgtheater became the Teutsches Nationaltheater next to the castle from 1776 (founded by Emperor Joseph II , after whose death the national language orientation was abandoned), the Mannheimer Theater from 1779 the Court and National Theater , the Theater am Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin since December 5, 1786 called the Royal National Theater . A Hamburg national theater was founded in 1767 by Lessing and 12 Hamburg citizens, but was closed again in 1768.

The idea of ​​the National Theater was also connected with the intention of permanently engaging permanent ensembles , instead of renting the theater space to changing traveling troupes from year to year , as was still customary in some cases until the middle of the 19th century. With these improved production conditions it was hoped in the German-speaking area to free themselves from the dominance of the French repertoire. Richard Wagner stated in 1850 that "with very few exceptions, including only the first opera theaters in Italy, there are no original theaters than the Parisians, and all the rest are only copies of these".

German language area

The following theaters in Germany bear the name National Theater:

Historically, the following theaters in the German-speaking area bore the name:


The national theaters around the world mostly owe their names to their status as state theaters or to the special importance they are given in the cultural life of a nation or language community.

Examples in Europe

Examples in other continents

Teatro Nacional in Panama City

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Richard Wagner: A theater in Zurich (1850)
  2. The Burgtheater is still known today as the “Austrian National Theater”. Cf. The Burgtheater ( memento of the original from April 1, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /