Somewhere before seven in the evening, the church ended with vespers, the theater gates were barely ajar… (S. Wyspiański, Release)
The space of St.. Ducha Street is dominated by the monumental building of the Teatr im. Juliusz Słowacki built in 1893 r., which reflects the great cultural ambitions of Krakow at the end of the 19th century. On the façade there is a carved inscription Krakow, national art, resembling, that the theater was built thanks to social contributions. The figures adorning the facade are allegories of Poetry, The drama, Comedy, Singing, Dance, Joy and Sorrow. During a break in the performances, the curtain is lowered, which is actually a great painting by Henryk Siemiradzki, on which they swirl, in line with the romantic aesthetics, characters related in some way to the Theater. The pair lying casually in the middle of the steps is a Comedy featuring the obscene Foolish. Pachola with wings behind them is a Genius of Art, who associates half-exposed Good and Beauty. On the right, the procession is followed by a dance, Music and Singing. On the left, the Black Robe Tragedy breaks the milky arms over the Murderer, Love and the Specters chasing them.
The construction of a modern theater began with the demolition of the hospital and monastery complex belonging to the Teutonic Order. The decision of the City Council provoked fierce protests. Jan Matejko appealed for saving the historic complex at the Holy Spirit Square, and when the decision to demolish was upheld – he returned the Scepter of the Governor at the Field of Culture, awarded by the Krakow authorities for outstanding services, i – as the legend says – he cursed this place as taken from the poor.
A project was selected for implementation, who received the third prize in the announced competition. The winner of this honorable distinction, Jan Zawiejski, it was modeled on the Grand Opera House in Paris. The cornerstone of the new theater was laid by outstanding actresses Helena Modrzejewska and Antonina Hoffmann, and two years later, 21 October 1893 r. the tabernacle of art was officially opened.
Stanisław Wyspiański was also associated with the Theater – uczestniczył w konkursie na projekt teatralnej kurtyny, he painted acting portraits of the leading stars of this stage and design! decor. She tries unsuccessfully! to become director (he lost to Solski), but it will certainly do more! for the theater as the author of the producer of the plays staged here (16 III 1901 r. the premiere of The Wedding took place here, and the Liberation action takes place on the stage at pl. Holy Spirit).
The audience at that time was!and much smaller than today (little more than 400 seating positions). You had to pay two Rhenian zlotys for the seats in the first rows, and for the cheapest place in the gallery – 20 cents.
The first director of the Municipal Theater was Tadeusz Pawlikowski, which created the leading Polish scene in the country. Exhibits! Przybyszewski, Bracket, Żeromski and Wyspiański. During his reign, the Theater hosted the first Polish screening of the Lumiere brothers' cinematography (November 1896 r.).
Pawlikowski's work was continued by his successors – Kotarbiński, Solski, Trzciński, Frycz and Dąbrowski.
On the stage of the. J. Słowacki, a galaxy of outstanding actors performed (Modrzejewska, Wysocka, Siemaszkowa, Kaminski, Zelwerowicz, Leszczyński and many others). The star of the first magnitude was Ludwik Solski (theater director in the 1905-1913), an actor-legend gifted with great talent and known for his weakness for anniversaries. He had thirteen of them – last in 1954 r. on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of work on the stage and the upcoming hundredth birthday. Ludwik Solski died 19 XII 1954 r., and his body was laid to rest in the Crypt of Merit at Skałka next to the graves of Siemiradzki and Wyspiański.
Today, at the Słowacki Theater, you can admire Solski's famous wardrobe, on the walls of which young Polish artists immortalized their visits. Drawings, caricatures, autographs, Wojciech Kossak left the sentences and paintings, Józef Mehoffer, Włodzimierz Tetmajer, Gabriela Zapolska, Stanisław Wyspiański and others. During World War II, when the theater was taken over by the Germans, we managed to protect the wardrobe by priming the walls with washable paint.
In time, when there are no rehearsals or performances, the theater can be visited under the supervision of a guide (Solski's wardrobe, curtain, theater interiors and facilities;, applications are accepted by the Audience Organization Office), and then relax in the Pod Chochołami café located in the basement.
Słowacki Theater, initially called the City Theater, was for many years the most important stage in Poland. The world premieres of the most important Polish dramas were staged here. Mickiewicz's Forefathers (1901 r.), Kordian Słowacki (1899 r.). Wyspiański's weddings (1901 r.l and The Morality of Pani Dulska Zapolska and contemporary works.