The National Theatre Opera

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    W. A. Mozart: Don Giovanni

    14-25 August

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3. 7. 2019

Operalia 2019

The 2019 edition of Placido Domingo's Operalia, The World Opera Competition, will take place at the National Theatre in Prague, from Sunday July 21st through Friday July 26th.
Tickets here:

24. 6. 2019

The Intermezzo pop-up exhibition

The Intermezzo pop-up exhibition displays works by Kintera, Pěchouček and other contemporary visual artists, and their connection with the world of opera.

Over four days, the Intermezzo pop-up exhibition will show works by Kryštof Kintera, Michal Pěchouček and other contemporary visual artists in a non-traditional relation with the world of opera. It is be open from 24 to 27 June in the former restaurant next to the New Stage on Václav Havel Square in Prague. The exhibition displays 47 paintings, sculptures and objects by Jan Kaláb, Jiří David, Michal Cimala, Markéta Hlinovská and other distinguished Czech artists. Intermezzo has been organised by Galerie Pictura as part of this year’s Opera Nova festival, which was launched by a joint performance of the acclaimed Czech opera singer Vanda Šípová and the celebrated diva Soňa Červená. The exhibition is open to the public free of charge every day from 10am to 7pm.


23. 6. 2019

An exhibition dedicated to Otakar Ostrčil

The composer, conductor and dramaturge Otakar Ostrčil served as the director of the National Theatre Opera for 15 years (1920 -1935). To mark the 140th anniversary of his birth, the Blaty Museum in Soběslav opened a special exhibition and unveiled a bust in the nearby park.

Ostrčil’s work played a major role in the history of the National Theatre in Prague, while his creation was closely linked with Soběslav, a town he regularly visited, especially during the last years of his life. A versatile artist and morally principled man, he pursued progressive approaches to theatre-making. Although Ostrčil’s methods might have been overly controversial for his colleagues, as well as audiences and critics, his legacy has proved to be timeless, having made a significant impact on the development of the National Theatre and other institutions alike. During his tenure at the National, Ostrčil sought to stage works of all composers, yet he had a special penchant for Bedřich Smetana’s music. His adaptations of the operas The Bartered Bride and The Kiss were among the productions that gave rise to fierce polemics.
To mark the 140th anniversary of his birth, the Blaty Museum in Soběslav opened a special exhibition, representing the room in which Ostrčil liked to spent time composing, including his personal belongings. At the same time, his bust, created by the sculptor Karla Vobišová, was unveiled in the nearby park.
The National Theatre thanks for the invitation to participate in the event!

23. 6. 2019

Dalibor back on stage

An interview about the new production with Jaroslav Kyzlink, the chief conductor of the National Theatre Orchestra

What does Dalibor mean to you?

Smetana’s third opera is a wonderful work, at once heroic and lyrical … Clearly inspired by Beethoven’s Fidelio, as well as Richard Wagner’s music dramas, it is extremely challenging for the lead soloists, who in the past included numerous iconic singers. On the other hand, its characters are not entirely veritable, being overly idealised. Even though Smetana set the opera to a Czech libretto, he rather perceived the phrases of the vocal parts as German, which causes considerable problems, with the Czech text many a time not being consistent with the music. Smetana splendidly worked with the motifs and superbly differentiated between intimate scenes – the famous violin solos in dialogues with the cello and the harp – and combat or ceremonial passages.


The opera is now being staged in Prague after 17 years – is it the first time you are conducting  Dalibor?

I am delighted that Dalibor has returned to the National Theatre. Following Libuše in the anniversary year 2018, we intend to stage all the other Smetana operas by 2024, when we will be celebrating the bicentenary of the composer’s birth. Yet this is the very first production of Dalibor I will be conducting. When I was a child, I heard Vilém Přibyl’s legendary account many times. A few years ago, I assisted with the most recent adaptation of Dalibor in Brno, where I had the opportunity to work with such first-class singers as Eva Urbanová and Leo Marian Vodička … It was a valuable experience indeed, as the opera has been scarcely performed at Czech theatres.



How have you approached the current production?

Like any other productions – I have explored the available sources, striven to follow the score and drawn inspiration, while trying to keep a distance from the previous implementations. Smetana’s music is immensely rich in motifs, but, in my opinion, the sound must be accommodated to today’s reality  - the instrumentation cannot be performed precisely as it is written - to  put is simply, the sforzatos, accentuations and fortissimos on every other note cannot be observed, or we would be overwhelmed by brass and percussion, which would drown the vital moments of the vocal parts, the string cantilena and woodwinds.


You conducted Libuše at the beginning of the current season. What is your relation to Bedřich Smetana’s works?

As the music director, I can say that I am “condemned” to perform Smetana’s music – yet it was my choice and I feel immense responsibility. Conducting any work at the National Theatre is a challenge, yet as regards Bedřich Smetana’s titles, the task is even more difficult to accomplish, as you have to take into consideration the “historical optimism”, which is understandable, albeit not objective.


What is it like to work with the soloists cast in the new production?

The stage director Jiří Nekvasil and I have paid great attention to the solo roles, with the majority of the singers portraying the characters for the very first time. As I said, the vocal parts are extremely exposed in all respects. Judging from the rehearsals to date, I expect their performances to be outstanding. The artists cast in the lead roles – Peter Berger and Michal Lehotský as Dalibor, Dana Burešová and Kateřina Hebelková as Milada, Adam Plachetka and Svatopluk Sem as King Vladislav – and other National Theatre Opera soloists and guests are top-notch singers, and I  believe that the new production of Dalibor will enchant the audience as much as it has inspired the creative  team.


Following the premiere and the second performance, the National Theatre Opera company will appear at the Smetana’s Litomyšl festival. Do you like conducting in the open air?

Annual appearances in Litomyšl have become an indispensable part of our work at the end of every season. I recall the extraordinary atmosphere at the festival, even though I must admit that open air performances involve certain risks and imperfections in terms of staging and acoustics. I am happy that following Libuše last year, we will round off the current National Theatre Opera season with two festive performances of a new production of Dalibor at the festival in Litomyšl.

4. 6. 2019

Soňa Červená, the patron of Opera Nova 2019

Contemporary opera has been regularly performed at the New Stage of the National Theatre. Last year, it hosted the “zero” OPERA NOVA festival, which enthused music lovers. From 23 to 27 June 2019, its “first” official edition is taking place at the New Stage, at the Prague Crossroads, Saint Anne’s Church, and on Václav Havel Square. The organisers have established a new tradition, according to which every festival edition will have its patron. This year’s patron is the legendary singer Soňa Červená, who opened the festival along with Vanda Šípová, performing a musical number from Ivan Acher’s The Duchess and the Cook.

31. 5. 2019


The reconstruction of the State Opera is coming to an end, and all of us can now look forward to its gala reopening next January. On Sunday, 2 June, you will have the final opportunity to see the theatre as a building site. If over the years of attending performances at the State Opera you have got used to its exquisite, lustrous interior, come and see who much labour and skill its refurbishment requires. You will realise that, just like the opera and ballet productions on the stage, the building itself is a true work of art. It goes without saying that you do not need to dress up for this occasion. Get ready your elegant evening attire for the gala concert marking the reopening of the State Opera, scheduled to be held on 5 January 2020, or for some of the hundreds of performances that will follow. More information:

21. 5. 2019

Opera at the Prague Spring festival

Opera stars of four generations will appear at the Concert of the Prize-winners of the International Antonín Dvořák Vocal Competition, which will take place tomorrow at the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum with the participation of the National Theatre Orchestra.

How has the conductor Jaroslav Kyzlink prepared himself for the concert?

“Concerts have always been a welcome addition to my programme as an opera conductor. When it concerns performances at the Prague Spring – especially in connection with the legendary vocal competition in Karlovy Vary – the National Theatre Orchestra and I consider them to be events of great importance. We do our best to attain that our programme perfectly fits into the overall festival conception. The soloists are highly inspiring, as is the Rudolfinum. We look forward to seeing you!”

Gabriela Beňačková, Veronika Holbová, Jana Sýkorová, Eliška Zajícová, Kiril Matvějev, Seongsoo Ryu, Roman Hoza and Peter Mikuláš
National Theatre Orchestra
Jaroslav Kyzlink – conductor

8. 1. 2019

Sternenhoch wins the Best Production of 2018 poll

SternenhochThe production of Ivan Acher’s opera Sternenhoch has won the Divadelní noviny poll.

More about the production 


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