Our Visegrad project is based on the idea of treating the history of musical theaters as a tool of nation-building during the long 19th century. The main goal consisted of the processing the region’s musical theatricals within the frame of a source, a bibliographical and a biographical database. Even though the V4 region is characterized by multiethnic cities, therefore multilingual institutions, due to the peregrination of the itinerant companies and individual members (theatre directors, musicians, actors), not only the theatrical repertoire and practice became common, but also the textbooks, sets and sheet music show similarities. Thus, asserting our assumption of the existence of a common theatrical practice in the V4 era and the need and usefulness of future research and further development of the databases. As data was entered by the project members and university students (as a non-financial contribution), we also look forward to international collaborations.

As it is well known, theater played a fundamental role in the achievement of cultural nation-building in the 19th century. This historical fact – together with the “national turn” that occurred in historiography during the second half of the 20th century – resulted in a Hungarian musical historiography that still explores, up to our days, the history of musical theaters viewed from the perspective of nation-building, thus deliberately neglecting the obvious fact that in the region’s multi-ethnic cities, the theaters, too, were multilingual, and that the cultural nation-building process of the numerous co-existing nations took place simultaneously, and in an environment that was not always harmonious. Furthermore, musical historiography also ignores the fact that the same region, interwoven with national aspirations, was additionally interwoven with lively personal ties and institutional connections, regardless of nationality. With the movement of itinerant companies, theatrical directors and musicians, the repertoire and theatrical practice became common, and the sheet music material, the textbooks as well as the sets and props peregrinated as well.

But is it possible that this kind of national focus is characteristic not only for the Hungarian historiography? Is it possible that also the Slovak, Czech, Polish, or even the Croatian, Romanian, Serbian, and maybe also the Austrian and German historiographies are similarly involved?

Our Visegrad project has tried to explore this common practice. By reviewing the day-to-day repertoire of four central musical theaters in the region (Bratislava, Kraków, Olomouc, and Budapest), the examination of only a few years proved to be sufficient to make the common transnational features of the repertoire visible, together with identities and similar patterns within the cultural nation-building process of each nation.



Biographical Database

Biographical Database. Personalities of the Regional Musical Theatre. Traveling Directors and Musicians (1860-1920) 

07 database 1 biographyIt traces back the V4 countries’ Regional Musical Theatre members, guest artists and repertory from the middle of the 19th-century to the beginning of the 20th-century. It is based on archival sources, such as contemporary press materials, theatrical playbills and almanac, but also on specialized scholarly bibliography related to the subject. All information is introduced both in the original language and in English, aligned with their normalized variants for the identification of the person and the play. By reviewing the daily repertoire of four central musical theaters in the region (Bratislava, Kraków, Olomouc and Budapest), the examination of only a few years (mainly 1870s) already revealed the common transnational features of the repertoire and similar patterns in the cultural nation-building process of each nation.


The Columns of the Database: 

  • Date/Season
  • City (Based on Source)
  • City (Normalized)
  • Institute (Based on Source)
  • Institute (Normalized EN)
  • Name (Based on Source)
  • Name (Normalized)
  • Guest artist
  • Scriptwriter (Based on Source)
  • Scriptwriter (Normalized)
  • Translator (Based on Source)
  • Translator (Normalized)
  • Title (Based on Source)
  • Title (Original)
  • Title (Normalized) 
  • Composer (Based on Source)
  • Composer (Normalized)
  • Character (Based on Source)
  • Character (Based on Source EN)
  • Character (Normalized EN)
  • Vocal Range
  • Activity
  • Genre (Based on Source)
  • Genre (Based on Source EN)
  • Genre (Normalized)
  • Source
  • Comments
  • Company director (Based on Source)
  • Company director (Normalized)
  • Play info