About the house architect

KRISTOF HABERLAND

Christoph Haberland was born in Riga to a mason on 1 January 1750. Both his parents originated from Saxony. In early age he started to learn from his father. Later he traveled to Germany and as a journeyman studied in Berlin and Dresden. In 1777 Haberland returned to Riga, passed his exam of master craftsmen and was admitted in the mason guild. In 1778 he becomes the assistant of the Riga chief architect J.P. Leicht. When Leicht died in 1789 Haberland was appointed as his successor. He was chief architect of Riga until 1797.

Haberland was first to attempt the transformation of the medieval image of Riga according to the ideas of Enlightenment. His adapting many innovative ideas and a fresh look at architecture made Haberland one of the pioneers of classicism architecture in Riga. He designed about 20 dwelling houses in Riga, and some churches and manor houses around Riga and in Estonia. One of those churches, Katlakalna Lutheran Church, near Riga is considered his best work and is built as the Roman pantheon in miniature.

Christoph Haberland died on 7 March 1803 in Riga. He was interred in the Riga Great cemetery.

The hall had three levels, including a balcony and a gallery. In front of the stage, behind the orchestra room, there was the standing parquet. There is no reliable information about the number of seats in the theatre hall.

However, the number of 500 – 600 spectators seems likely. Richard Wagner was the Kapellmeister in Riga from 1837 – 1839, praised the stepwise rising arrangement of the seats, the recessed orchestra room and the semi-darkness in the hall during the performance. He implemented these architectural principles in the construction of the famous Bayreuth Festival Theatre.

The Wagner Theatre in Riga has thus had a decisive influence on all modern theatre buildings of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Our aim is to rebuild this place of origin of European cultural history. Only the pillars of the stands remain from the original. In the 20th century floors were moved in. The resulting rooms were used for the Latvian State Opera’s ballet ensemble and a library.