Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Institution Details

Name: Deutsche Casino

Commentary:
Deutsche Casino. German social society in Prague, formerly the Guild of Merchants [Kaufmännischer Verein]. It operated under this name during the second half of the Nineteenth Century, perhaps first existing as an open Casino venue that also provided social and musical entertainments, but by 1861 or earlier becoming as a sort of private members club where patrons could eat, drink, read local and international newspapers and, as its name suggested, gamble. From a report appearing in Prager Morgenpost 4/10/1863 this re-organisation may have taken place in 1861, the newspaper noting that ‘The second birthday of our Society falls on the even of the nameday of His Majesty... [the Emperor Franz Josef].’ The Casino, throughout its existence arranged social entertainments with musical content, some of which were for charitable causes.

Membership of the Casino by 1863 was not limited to the Prague bourgeoise and merchants classes but was open theoretically to all Germanically sympathetic townsmen. Members had to pay an annual subscription to belong to the association. According to Prager Morgenpost 21/2/1863 this was due for remittance toward the end of February (due in 1863 by 25th February).

The Casino was located initially in the first floor of the former Auersperg Palace in Michalská ulice. In 1863 the venue changed, Prager Morgenpost 22/8/1863 reporting that restauration works at the new venue ‘breite Gasse Nr.736 Likawetz’sches Haus’ were sufficient advanced to enable the Reading Room of the Casino to open there on 27th August. The venue as a whole, ‘as tasteful as it is elegant’, would, according to Prager Morgenpost 22/9/1863, fully open on 3/10/1863. With the change of venue came an expansion in the activities of the body; in 1863 Komzák’s salon orchestra began performing in Casino events. In the autumn of 1863 a series of Ladies Evenings were arranged for members’s spouses, and in December Prague Morgenpost 15/12/1863 reported that spouses were invited to attended Casino entertainments in which the popular orchestra performed.

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