The impressive edifice of the State Theatre, then called the Town Theatre, marked the centre of gravity of the
architectural configuration of Oradea at the end of the 19th century.
For a long time, the city’s leadership were not able to decide on the location of the theatre. In March 1895,
the design of the theatre was entrusted to the famous Viennese company Fellner & Helmer, and the chosen
area was King Ferdinand I Square.
Seeing that financial problems could block the project, architect Rimanóczy Kálmán Jr. has undertaken to build
near the theatre yet another building from construction material recovered from demolitions – the Bazaar of
today – in order to produce additional income for the town by renting it.
The first pickaxe strike to the theatre’s foundation was recorded on 11th of July 1899, and the inauguration
of the place of culture took place on 15th of October 1900, after only 15 months. The construction works was
conducted by the team of architects Rimanóczy Kálmán Jr., Rendes Vilmos and Guttman József. The works were
supervised by Busch David, the chief architect of the city, and the building engineer was Krubicza József.
Most of the sculptures were made by Peller Ferenc, the golden decorations were made by Eichorn Vilmos, the stucco by Vilmos Linhard, the tapestry by Kuncz József and associates, the woodwork by Reiner Károly and the furniture by Herczegh Vilmos.
The portico, defined by six monumental columns of neoclassical expression is the stylistic sign of the
volumetric composition. The elegance of the Ionic columns is amplified by capitals with rolls. The framework has the shape of a triangular pediment that evokes the classical Greek temple, the sanctuary of Thalia the muse of comedy.
The pediment with denticles, flanked by two small pedestals and two pairs of putti, gives the ensemble that note of nobility required by an architectural representation, an architectural symbol of an urban centre.
The building was enriched by a generous sculptural decoration due to the artist Peller Ferenc. The pediment was decorated with an allegorical composition that was accurately reconstructed according to the original model during the restoration of the entire edifice.
Hunnia’s main figure is flanked by statues, symbolizing music, song, comedy, and tragedy. In front of the double lateral columns two allegorical statues were placed representing Tragedy and Comedy, made in Mayer’s workshop from Budapest.
Beyond the elegant neoclassic portico, the lounge welcomes us with an exuberant neo-rococo style decoration. Garlands, rolls, arabesques, shells, pearls and celestial rays – all these decorative props provide the lounge with a magical atmosphere, a perfect antechambre that gracefully prepares the entrance into the theatre’s enchanting world. Two symmetrical arched stairs offer the visual spectacle of the railings made in neo-baroque style, crowned by golden statuary groups.
The showroom built on three levels, with burgundy-red upholstered chairs and a wonderful golden
decoration conceived in the same spirit of neo-rococo, is a spectacular vision itself.
Despite the fact that the neorococo style was already obsolete with respect to the modernity of Art 1900, the theatre building
from Oradea remains a splendid building, whose elegance and functionality places it among the most beautiful buildings of its kind in Europe. The showroom has capacity of up to 1000 seats, of which 578 seated.