The interior of the theater glows golden like a giant bee hive as each honey comb fills up with patrons buzzing with excitement. We are seated in plush red velvet chairs in our little partitioned box, just one honeycomb in the three rows of box seats that encircle and rise above the orchestra seating of the Croatian National Theater in Zagreb. Known as HNK (Hrvatsko Narodno Kazalište), the interior of the theater is lavishly decorated in red and gold. A golden chandelier dangles from the center like a delicate jewel on a queen’s necklace. Claudia and I move our chairs to the edge to take in the old world beauty of the decor.
The theater was designed by Viennese architects Ferdinand Fellner and Herman Helmer, the same architects that built the opera house in Vienna. The theater first opened in Zagreb on October 14, 1895. Today, on the Fourth of July, Claudia and I wait to watch Petar Pan, a ballet by Giorgio Madia, that will be performed by the Ballet of the Croatian National Theater. The ballet premiered at HNK just five days earlier.