His idea, that a generally accessible theatre is a moral institution demonstrating the cultural level of the nation, was in compliance with the spirit of the late 18th century, the Age of Enlightenment, and the project of theatre was extremely important for Prague of that time.
Although presenting plays in German language at first, the theatre soon started staging also Czech plays. In 1798 the Theatre was bought by the Czech Estates, hence its today´s name.
The Estates Theatre is inseparably linked with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The composer has visited Prague couple of times to compose and give concerts here, and in 1787 he presented his opera The Marriage of Figaro in the Estates Theatre.
Under the impression of its enthusiastic reception Mozart composed the Don Giovanni opera for Prague, and personally conducted its world premiere in the Estates Theatre. The opera was an immense success and that is how Don Giovanni and the Estates Theatre have entered the history...
The Estates Theatre was one of the locations in the famous film Amadeus by Miloš Forman. Although the name of Mozart shines the most brightly in the history of the theatre, the Estates Theatre allured many other distinct artists of Europe-wide significance.
Carl Maria von Weber was a musical director of the Theatre; the violin virtuoso Niccolo Paganini gave a concert here; Arthur Rubinstein, Carl Goldmark and Gustav Mahler conducted at the theatre. Other famous personalities are i.e. the actors W. A. Iffland, F. Raimund, J. N. Nestroy, W. Scholze, I. Aldrige and many others.
The Estates Theatre was extremely important for the Czech theatre. From the pioneers such as the Thám brothers, to V. K. Klicpera, J. K. Tyl, J. J. Kollár, etc., the generations of leading creators and artists presented their plays here. The first Czech modern opera, Škroup’s The Tinker, was presented here in 1826.
The play Fidlovačka by J. K. Tyl and F. Škroup, premiered here, includes the song “Kde domov můj” (Where is My Home), which would later become the Czech national anthem. In the Estates Theatre you can see opera, drama and ballet performances.