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Smetana's Litomyšl / venues

The Castle Courtyard

It’s as if the builder Giovanni Battista Aostalli de Sala intended this exquisite castle – built between 1568 and 1581 by Vratislav of Pernštejn for his wife, Maria Manrique de Lara – for holding concerts. Specifically, the inner castle courtyard was equipped not only with open arcades, reminiscent of theater boxes, but primarily with excellent acoustics. Then when Bedřich Smetana was born in the castle brewery, there was no doubt that this place had music as its destiny. The Smetana’s Litomyšl festival has been holding concerts and performances in the castle courtyard since it began; the first to be heard here was Smetana’s opera Dalibor in 1949. However, the same year also recorded a desire by the organizers and visitors to have the option of roofing in inclement weather. This was accomplished only in 1998, and now a unique sliding construction is installed in the courtyard for the duration of the festival, fulfilling the assignment of allowing for a concert under starry skies in good weather and a covered music hall when it rains. The unique atmosphere, sufficient comfort, and excellent acoustics create a perfect foundation for artistic performances.

The stage is 18 m wide and either 8, 10, or 12 m deep according to need. The audience capacity can change in conjunction with the installed depth and the type of program. This is done using raised bleachers (elevated starting at the 8th row) and variable rows in front of the stage. The maximum capacity arrangement for a concert with a small cast of performers has up to 1334 places for spectators. The courtyard acoustics, however, tend to be more appropriate for concerts with large orchestras, when the podium is deeper and rows 1A and 1B are eliminated. In this case, the capacity is 1274 seats. Even more space is needed on the podium for oratorios with a large orchestra and chorus, so rows 3 and 4 are removed from the audience, and the capacity is reduced to 1186 seats. For operas, the orchestra is located in front of the podium; therefore, rows 3 through 7 cannot be set up, and the capacity is 1047 seats. Operas with oversize scenery and a large cast require a stage up to 12 meters deep. In this case, the audience is composed only of the raised bleachers, which start at the 8th row and have a capacity of 975 seats. All the listed capacities include 4 seats for handicapped individuals in wheelchairs and 4 seats for their escorts.

There is excellent sound quality and views throughout the entire audience; nonetheless, four sections have been created according to their quality. The best, Section A, includes seats in the center of the raised bleachers; Section B+ is located next to these and the outer seating belongs to Section C. The non-raised part of the audience between the bleachers and the stage is variable – Section B is in the middle, and the outer areas including the front rows belong in C. The arcades on the first story are used for VIP guests and are generally not for sale.

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