"Von Personen vorgestellet, die der Sprache gar nicht kündig sind". Das Gastspiel der "Badner Gesellschaft deutscher Schauspieler" von 1767 in Brünn und die Anfänge des tschechischen Nationaltheaters.

Otto G. Schindler


The Badner Gesellschaft deutscher Schauspieler (Baden Society of German Players) is one of the best documented Austrian touring companies in the second half of the 18th Century. Named after its long time main residence, the health resort Baden near Vienna, the troupe was known above all as the founder of the Theater in der Leopoldstadt.
It was the first suburban theatre of Vienna and the most important place where the Altwiener Volkskomödie (Old Vienna folk play) of Raimund's and Nestroy's time has been cultivated.
Before the theatre troupe settled in Vienna, it had Performances - except the times of Baden summer season - in almost all towns of the Hapsburg central countries. The repertoire mainly consisted of extempore burlesques, in which among the classical Commedia-dell'arte characters the main funny persons of Hanswurst, Bernardon and later especially the newly created Kasperl continued to attract the interest of the public. Important stages of the troupe's career were the guest Performances at the castle theatres of Hungarian magnates as well as in Preßburg, the Hungarian capital at that time, where also the imperial court of Vienna belonged to the audience. Numerous play texts, scenarios and theatre programmes of this Company were preserved, but till a short time ago there was knowledge of hardly more than the titles. The Gastspiel der „Badner Gesellschaft dt. Schauspieler" von 1767 in Brünn 53 contribution at hand is the first to analyse more closely the repertoire of the troupe in the season of 1766/67 in Brünn, the capital of Moravia. Central point is the Performance of the Opera pantomima "Zamilovany ponocny" (the enamoured nightwatchman), which is the first theatre play to be performed in Czech language on a professional stage. The theatre programme of the Performance in Brünn, preserved in Vienna, has been found already in 1958; soon afterwards also the music belonging to the play as well as a Prague aria print of 1763 have been found. Remarkable is the fact that at first these discoveries were judged as revisionist and met with the hostility of local theatre research; the reason was that traditionally the beginning of a professional theatre in Czech language has been connected only with the beginning of the Czech national revival movement. Also this controversy is dealt with more closely, especially because here in working about the questions of Austrian-Bohemian resp. German-Czech theatre relations a significant problem field of Central-European cultural history is touched.