Alred Roller – An Innovator and a Traditionalist

  • 1 Ústav divadelnej a filmovej vedy Slovenskej akadémie vied, Bratislava


This study focuses on the scenographer Alfred Roller (1864–1935) and his productions of Wagner’s musical dramas, with emphasis on Tristan and Isolde and Parsifal. It places Roller’s aesthetics in a historical, aesthetic, and artistic context, points to his inspiration by the Swiss scenography reformer Adolphe Appia, and cooperation with the music composer and conductor Gustav Mahler in the Vienna Court Opera. The text analyses the specifics of Roller’s scenography, which diverged from illusive stage and used light work as an important production principle. It concludes with a summary of the effect of Roller’s aesthetics on Ľudovít Hradský, the first leader of the production team at the Slovak National Theatre (1923–1928). The visual aspects of the Slovak National Theatre’s productions in that period were strongly inspired by expressionism and Art Nouveau, which were typical of German theatre at that time.

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