At that time the townspeople with the contribution of Count Csáky built the first stone theatre (1776) in approximately the same place as today’s historical building of the SND. The importance of the city declines in the 19th century. The city theatre is rented by German and later Hungarian companies. However provincial circumstances cannot prevent dramaturgical readiness. Romanticism quickly triumphs here – Boieldieu’s ‘Jean de Paris’ within a year and Weber’s ‘Freischütz’ within four years after their Paris and Berlin premieres. Heinrich Marschner, working at that time as a teacher of music in Bratislava, has the premiere of his ‘Kyffhäuserberg’ (1816). In the 30’s the Italian pre-Verdi bel canto appears on the posters (Rossini’s ‘Semiramide’ and ‘Otello’, Donizetti’s ‘Lucrezia Borgia’, Bellini’s ‘Norma’ and ‘I Puritani’). ‘Lohengrin’ and ‘Tanhäuser’ are performed for the first time in Bratislava at approximately the same time when Boito and Faccio performed Wagner in Italy.
In 1886 the new building of the City Theatre is opened. It is built in Neo-Renaissance style according to the design of Helmer and Fellner’s Vienna theatre architecture company. The opening performance is Erkel’s ’Bánk bán’ presented by the Budapest National Theatre Company. Verism quickly triumphs in this building, in the last year of the century Bruno Walter gains experience here as a teacher. At the beginning of the new century the Brno Opera presents a wide cross-section through the Czech classical opera and, for the first time in Bratislava, Tchaikovski’s ’Eugen Onegin’ and ’The Queen of Spades’.
In 1919 Bratislava becomes a part of the Czechoslovak Republic. In 1920 the professional Slovak National Theatre starts to work in the building of the City Theatre. It has theatre and opera companies. It starts its activities with the premiere of Smetana’s ’The Kiss’ on March 1, 1920.
The new building of the Slovak National Theatre was designed by Slovak architects Martin Kusý, Pavol Paňák and Peter Bauer whose project was selected out of fifty three entries. The building has seven floors, over 2000 rooms and three main auditoriums (Opera and Ballet Hall, Drama Hall, Studio). In addition it has a restaurant that seats 120, a club, a café, a reading café and a kitchen.
Several artworks are located in the interior and exterior spaces of the SND New Building, among them a fountain by Alexander Biľkovič, Iľja Skoček and Peter Bauer in front of the building. The front foyer features Spring by Pavel Bauer and the painter Dušan Buřil; Cascade by Peter Roller and Two Towers by the architect Peter Bauer are in front of the building. Apart from the artworks, which are an integral part of the premises, theatre costumes and exhibitions are on display in the corridors of the building.