Danish Royal Theater

Danish Royal Theater


(Det Kongelige Teater), the most important theater in Denmark. Founded in 1722 in Copenhagen under the name Danish Stage.

In 1728 the theater was closed down, but it renewed its activity in 1748. Since 1770 it has been called the Royal Theater. During the 18th century three independent companies were formed: the dramatic, the ballet, and the operatic. The ballet and the dramatic arts flourished during the first half of the 19th century during the era of romanticism, when the artist and ballet master A. Bournonville worked there, along with the ballerinas A. Nielsen and J. Price, as well as the actors N. P. and A. Nielsen. J. Ryge, and P. Foersom. The actress J. L. Heiberg was famous in tragic and comic roles. L. Holberg’s comedies were staged, as well as the comedies and vaudevilles of J. L. Heiberg, H. Hertz, C. Hostrup, and T. Overskou; these productions encouraged the development of realistic traditions in the art of the actors C. Rosenkilde, O. Poulsen, and others. Included in the repertoire of the operatic and ballet troupes were works by F. Kuhlau, N. Gade, C. E. F. Weyse, J. P. E. Hartmann, and P. A. Heise. The foremost operatic and ballet performers during the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century were N. J. Simonsen, V. Herold, L. Cornelius. L. Gade, E. Smith. H. and W. Price, and H. Beck. During the first half of the 20th century prominent actors included J. Poulsen, H. Gabrielsen, P. Reumert, and B. Ipsen.

Many of the theater’s achievements have been determined by its faithfulness to classical stage traditions and to realism. It has produced the antifascist dramas of K. Abell. C. E. Soya, N. Grieg, and K. Čapek; the best works of contemporary Danish playwrights; and Danish and world classics. During the Hitlerite occupation of Denmark the ballet master H. Lander created a number of ballets that had great significance for the national resistance movement. The operatic and ballet troupes turned to the works of the Danish composers P. E. Lange-Müller, C. Nielsen. A. Enna, K. Riisager, J. Hye-Knudsen, and E. Hamerik, as well as those by Mozart, Verdi, and Wagner.

The theater has two stages (since 1933); on one of them dramatic productions are given and on the other, operas and ballets. Among the actors of the dramatic troupe are P. Reumert, C. Pontoppidan, B. Qvistgaard, K. Nellemose. B. Kjer, I. Brams, and L. Ringheim. The most well-known ballet figures are M. Lander, N. B. Larsen, M. Schanne, M. M. Vangsaa, F. Schaufuss, and F. Flindt. In the operatic productions the singers that take part include I. Hansen, N. Møller. B. Søndberg, K. Schultz. T. Thygesen, E. Krist-jansen, and O. Svendsen. Operating in conjunction with the theater are a school of choreography and opera classes.


Teatretkongens Nytorv: 1748–1948. Copenhagen [1948].
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