2015

Exterior of the Latvian National Opera House

Latvian National Opera and Ballet

The Latvian National Opera and Ballet occupies a stately neo-classical style building in Riga, originally constructed as the Riga German Theatre in 1863.

Facade of the Latvain National Opera
Ludwig Bohnstedt’s facade exudes harmony, which seems deceptively simple. The eternal themes are present, and no-one from Apollo’s entourage has been banished. 

No element on this facade is superfluous, just as in history there is no period that is irrelevant or unnecessary. Each of them can be considered instructive in the unrelenting quest to attain both mastery as well as the inspiration that is so essential to art.

The group of Muses
Below The Genius of Art is where Apollo’s suite resides, some intoxicated with art and life, and on the other side of Apollo’s lyre, some representatives of the eternal themes of drama (Love, War and Death). The group of muses is created by Hugo Hagen in 1886.
Genius of Art
The facade was crowned by Apollo with a five point star on his lyre, and his muses, as well as the Genius of the Arts, a youth able to tame wild imagination. This youth, with a six point star in his hair holds the mask of a life’s experience through theatre in his hands. Genius of Art is created by Hermann Wittig in 1862. 
The composition of the pediment 
The composition of the pediment on the facade of the Latvian National Opera reminds us that everything is inter-connected. Apollo, whose artistry is capable of influencing living things from the depths of the ocean to the heights of the heavens, is in the centre. Next to the swimming dolphin, the wise friend of music, in the left-hand corner, lies a confident image of the antitheses of Apollonian art – Dionysus who has grabbed a goat essential for his rituals, by the horns. The birth of tragedy here looks more like a comedy, but does that makes it no less important? Cheeky boys support Dionysus’ teacher Silenus who has sunk to his knees in front of Apollo.
The winged lion
The original winged lion sculpture was created by Hermann Wittig in 1862. A copy of the winged lion was done by master craftsmen of "Latvijas tēlnieks" limited company during the restauration of the opera building.
Ionic columns
The facade is rhythmically marked by 6 Ionic columns. Designed by Ludwig Bohnstedt.
Credits: Story

Curator - Latvian National Opera and Ballet
Foto - Latvian National Opera and Ballet
Texts - Latvian National Opera and Ballet

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