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Smetana's Litomyšl / venues

The Rococo château of Nové Hrady

About 15 km from Litomyšl, the Rococo château of Nové Hrady is situated within a picturesque landscape. Count Jean-Antoine Harbuval de Chamaré had it built it between 1774 and 1777 according to a design by the Tyrolean architect Josef Jäger, who invoked the style of French summer palaces. The entire expansive grounds, which have been preserved up to this day, were completed in the following years. They encompass an ornamental park, a garden with a circular gazebo and a large granary, and a number of utility buildings, with smaller out buildings in the wider surroundings.

During the 20th century, the château fell into marked disrepair, and the couple Magda and Petr Kučera purchased it in a dilapidated state from the previous owners. Through the unbelievable efforts of the entire family, they managed to return the château, this “Czech Versailles”, to its former beauty in a relatively short amount of time. They managed to fill the building and its entire grounds with activities and attractive exhibitions, bringing in visitors. They had the vision to plant bushes according to the design of a “green” Baroque amphitheater, and after years of cultivating them into their ideal theatrical form, they offered it for use by Smetana’s Litomyšl.

Since 2012, the festival has held a summer stagione with repeat performances of specially rehearsed opera productions by Baroque authors given over several days. An evening at Nové Hrady always includes a tour of the exhibitions, demonstrations of period entertainment, and refreshments.

The small capacity – only 150 people can attend one performance – contributes to the exclusive feeling of being selected guests on an authentic visit to a castle celebration given by the estate’s owner. Non-numbered seats are prepared for guests not only inside the natural “green” theater, but also in the theater in the granary attic, where the performances take place in inclement weather.

Considering the fact that it’s necessary to climb a number of staircases, and visitors need to navigate both free terrain in the gardens as well as dimly lit paths, this visit is not suitable for individuals with limited range of motion.

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