When opened, Janáček Theatre was the largest and technically best equipped theatre in the then Czechoslovakia. Almost 80 years of preparations had preceded its establishment – from as early as the 1880s the Association of the Czech National Theatre in Brno (founded in 1881) had been trying to acquire funds to build a separate representative theatre that would reflect the importance and role of a Brno Czech theatre because the theatre located in Veveří street, seat of the National Theatre from 1884, had been considered temporary from the beginning. The funds required to build a new theatre building were raised by means of collections, bazaars, and tombolas, and between the years of 1910 and 1958 a total of seven architectural competitions concerning design of the new building were held. However, the construction was suspended due to two world wars, subsequent repairs of the existing buildings and other complications; the representative opera and ballet theatre was finally built as late as in 1960 to 1965. A Stavoprojekt Brno studio led by architect Otakar Oplatek was in charge of the design work. In 1963 architects Ivan Ruller and Boleslav Písařík collaborated on the final version of the architectural and structural design originally drafted by Vilém Zavřel, Jan Víšek and Libuše Žáčková–Pokorová. The construction work also involved the layout of the area around the building, especially the terrace and the relaxation zone with a water reservoir and fountain. In the 1960s a 1970s the theatre’s architecture was complemented with striking sculpture ornamentation focusing on the exterior: a sculpture of the Mrštík Brothers by Stanislav Hanzík based on a model by Vincenc Makovský, a stone sculpture of the Moravian eagle by Olbram Zoubek, a bronze monument of Leoš Janáček by Stanislav Hanzl, and the decoration of the main facade balconies by Eva Zoubková–Kmentová and Olbram Zoubek. Inside the theatre, a bust of Leoš Janáček by Miloš Axman and a Cunning Little Vixen tapestry by Alois Fišárek were installed. In 2003, a bust of globally renowned dancer and choreographer Ivo Váňa Psota, sculpted by Nikos Armutidis, was unveiled in the foyer.
The technical potential and architectural concept of the theatre made it ideal particularly for large opera and ballet productions and once completed, the theatre became the permanent seat of the National Theatre Brno opera. On 2 October, 1965, a ceremonial performance of a new staging of Leoš Janáček’s opera The Cunning Little Vixen opened the theatre to the public. It was directed by Miloš Wasserbauer and conducted by František Jílek, an outstanding Janáček’s music conductor and promoter. The ballet ensemble presented itself in the newly opened theatre with a first night of Stravinsky’s Petrushka and Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé, choreographed by Miroslav Kůra and conducted by Václav Nosek, on 8 October, 1965.
The basis is formed by a Liechtenstein corner house, which the city purchased in 1600, establishing “a New Tavern”, later called “Grand Tavern” in it as a representative building intended for distinguished guests to the city
The present Reduta building is a result of complicated construction development that had gone on, with numerous remodelling and annexes, for several centuries. The basis is formed by a Liechtenstein corner house, which the city purchased in 1600, establishing “a New Tavern”, later called “Grand Tavern” in it as a representative building intended for distinguished guests to the city. In 1634 an adjoining house was purchased, refurbished, and connected to the existing building to form an enclosed one–floor complex, whose proportions correspond to the Reduta of today. Occasional theatre productions had been performed in the city tavern probably from as early as the 1660s but only in 1733 a separate box-type theatre with a deep perspective stage was built in the eastern wing of this complex. In 1785 and 1786 the building was reduced to ashes by a devastating fire; in the Napoleonic wars and the War of the Fourth Coalition it was laid waste to when used as an infirmary and improvised military lodging. Many leading contemporary architects and artists, including members of the famed family of Italian painters, designers, and stage decorators Lorenzo, Vincenzo and Antonio Sacchetti, were involved in refurbishing that followed. The era of theatre operated in Reduta’s eastern wing is linked to e.g. Emanuel Schikaneder, a librettist of Mozart’s Magic Flute and the theatre director from 1807 to 1809, or to events surrounding the year 1767, when Reduta staged the first Czech performance in Brno, The Enamorated Watchman, produced in Czech by a Baden theatre company, and when the eleven–year–old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his sister Nanerl gave a concert here. In memory of this important event, a Mozart monument by Kurt Gebauer was unveiled in front of Reduta in 2008. Following a fire that broke out here in 1870 the theatre was never restored and in the 20th century, a dance hall in the western part of the building took over its function of a theatre hall. The present architectural look of Reduta is the work of Brno studio D.R.N.H., v.o.s. – a team consisting of Antonín Novák, Petr Valenta, Radovan Smejkal, and Eduard Štěrbák. Klára Michálková and Karel Spáčil co–authored the design and Miroslav Melena collaborated on the theatre section implementation. The reconstruction of 2002 to 2005 tactfully combined modern elements with the original preserved architecture, restored the theatre hall in the eastern wing, and rendered the whole complex with its social and representative function. The reconstruction concluded with artistic ornamentation of the Mozart Hall walls, café vaults, and an artistically conceived atrium terrazzo by Petr Kvíčala.
Until 1919 Reduta was used by the Brno German theatre but from then on, it alternated regularly with the Czech National Theatre. The Czech audience had not been used to visiting Reduta very much and therefore the theatre became popular only after the end of the Second World War thanks to the then singspiel ensemble, which performed here until Reduta was closed for its alarming condition in 1993. The modern history of Reduta commenced on 1 October, 2005 with the first post–reconstruction performance – a joint project of the National Theatre Brno drama, opera, and ballet sections: Vít Zouhar’s Nights through the Day and Igor Stravinsky’ Soldier’s Tale. Today all ensembles of the National Theatre Brno perform in the building and a separate art section develops and implements Reduta’s overall concept and production.