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Vladimír Nývlt

The life and artistic career of the stage designer Vladimír Nývlt (1927–1995) led him, after the completion of studies at Prague´s Academy of Applied Art and Design, first to the E. F. Burian Theatre, where he worked his way up to the post of chief stage designer. Burian influenced the young artist most notably in his view of the stage as a phenomenon of architecture structured around the layout of various floor levels and their stratification. At that time Vladimír Nývlt was involved in the making of the visual aspects of most of E.F. Burian´s productions as well as those of other directors working for that theatre. In the process, his visual style evolved to the concept of stage design composed from separate highly stylized elements and forms. From January 1983 he further developped characteristic traits of his idiom at the post of stage designer in Prague´s National Theatre, a company with which he had worked on an external basis since the early 1960s. On the National Theatre´s various stages, he concentrated, apart from designs for several drama and ballet productions, chiefly on designing opera sets, in most cases working in tandem with likely-minded stage director Ladislav Štros. In their joint projects, the two artists would also lay considerable emphasis on the quality of costume design, where they worked initially with Marcel Pokorný or Adolf Wenig, and from 1981 almost exclusively with Josef Jelínek. The joint endeavour of these three artists yielded an impressive gallery of productions, including the legendary version of Verdi´s La traviata which scored – since its 1982 premiere at what was then the Smetana Theatre, until the closing night at September 2005 at the Prague State Opera – 450 performances. There were many other remarkable creations, such as The Devil´s Wall; Falstaff; Betrothal in a Monastery; The Miracles of Mary; and Rienzi, among others. The triumph of the 1991 production of Verdi´s Otello at the Prague State Opera was due in no small part to Nývlt´s stark stage design in the service Dominik Neuner´s direction. Vladimír Nývlt´s last set design before his death in 1995 was for Mozart´s Die Zauberflöte at the Prague State Opera, the production which has stayed on to this day.


 

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