Prague National Theatre tickets 3 March 2024 - Libuše | GoComGo.com

Libuše

Prague National Theatre, Prague, Czech Republic
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Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Prague, Czech Republic
Starts at: 19:00
Acts: 3
Intervals: 2
Duration: 3h 20min
Sung in: Czech
Titles in: Czech, English
Cast
Performers
Choir: Charles University Choir
Soprano: Dana Burešová (Queen Libuše)
Bass-Baritone: František Zahradníček (Chrudoš)
Tenor: Jaroslav Březina (Sťáhlav)
Choir: Kühn Choir of Prague
Conductor: Robert Jindra
Baritone: Svatopluk Sem (Přemysl)
Choir: The National Theatre Chorus
Orchestra: The National Theatre Orchestra
Creators
Composer: Bedřich Smetana
Stage Director: Jan Burian
Librettist: Josef Wenzig
Overview

A legend? A myth? Perhaps, first and foremost, a story conveying a message of wisdom that many a contemporary “ruler” has failed to take to heart.  Scenic ritual of conciliation and purgation.

The speculations about whether Libuše is Bedřich Smetana’s most mature work within the context of his opera oeuvre, or even within the context of Czech opera in general, whether and how it can stand its ground as against the airiness of The Bartered Bride, the lyricism and absorptive power of Dvořák’s Rusalka, or the emotion and drama of Leoš Janáček’s operas, do not result in definitive conclusions – it will always depend on the angle of vision from which Libuše and any other renowned Czech opera are assessed.

The visual angle that appertains to Libuše most naturally is determined by the very intention pursued by the composer and the consequent tradition. Bedřich Smetana earmarked Libuše for being performed on the festive occasions relating to the life of Czech society, which after 1860 had begun markedly and palpably emancipating itself in terms of culture, politics, and economics. Such an occasion was an extremely significant event in the history of Czech society – the opening of the National Theatre, first temporarily in 1881, and definitively two years later. An event that at the symbolic level widely transcended the narrow universe of Czech theatre-making and became one of the inherent harbingers of the attainment of independence in 1918.
Accordingly, the centenary of the foundation of the Czechoslovak Republic is a momentous anniversary for the National Theatre itself, thus affording it the opportunity to create a new production of Libuše as a natural contribution to the celebrations.

There are several genre attributions by means of which we try to characterize Libuše, with one of them being a “scenic ritual of conciliation and purgation”. At variance with the expectations placed on an opera dramatist, Smetana does not sharpen the conflicts and antimonies in Libuše, deliberately seeking instead the path to their timely pacific settlement. Whether it concerns the main action-forming dispute between two brothers about the inheritance after their late father, the antagonisms between a man and a woman, rigorous justice and friendly amiability, between those of “plebeian” and “noble” decent, between the motifs of light and darkness, fire and water, all the conflicts in Smetana’s opera are redeemed in the central character of Princess Libuše, who is not just a mythical sovereign foretelling glory for the Czech nation but, first and foremost, a cathartic fabulous symbol of womanhood and motherhood, clemency and peaceful life.

History
Premiere of this production: 11 June 1881, National Theatre, Prague

Libuše is a "festival opera" in three acts, with music by Bedřich Smetana.

Venue Info

Prague National Theatre - Prague
Location   Národní 2

The National Theatre is the prime stage of the Czech Republic. It is also one of the symbols of national identity and a part of the European cultural space, with a tradition spanning more than 130 years. It is the bearer of the national cultural heritage, as well as a space for free artistic creation.

The National Theatre (Czech: Národní divadlo) in Prague is known as the alma mater of Czech opera, and as the national monument of Czech history and art.

The National Theatre belongs to the most important Czech cultural institutions, with a rich artistic tradition, which helped to preserve and develop the most important features of the nation–the Czech language and a sense for a Czech musical and dramatic way of thinking.

Today, the National Theatre is made up of four artistic companies – the Opera, Drama, Ballet and Laterna magika. It artistically manages four stages – the three historical buildings: the National Theatre (1883), the State Opera (1888), and the Estates Theatre (1783), and the more recently opened New Stage (1983). The Opera, Drama and Ballet companies perform not only titles from the ample classical legacy, in addition to Czech works, they also focus on contemporary international creation.

Grand opening

The National Theatre was opened for the first time on 11 June 1881, to honour the visit of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria. Bedřich Smetana's opera Libuše was given its world premiere, conducted by Adolf Čech. Another 11 performances were presented after that. Then the theatre was closed down to enable the completion of the finishing touches. While this work was under way a fire broke out on 12 August 1881, which destroyed the copper dome, the auditorium, and the stage of the theatre.

The fire was seen as a national catastrophe and was met with a mighty wave of determination to take up a new collection: Within 47 days a million guldens were collected. This national enthusiasm, however, did not correspond to the behind-the-scenes battles that flared up following the catastrophe. Architect Josef Zítek was no longer in the running, and his pupil architect Josef Schulz was summoned to work on the reconstruction. He was the one to assert the expansion of the edifice to include the block of flats belonging to Dr. Polák that was situated behind the building of the Provisional Theatre. He made this building a part of the National Theatre and simultaneously changed somewhat the area of the auditorium to improve visibility. He did, however, take into account with utmost sensitivity the style of Zítek's design, and so he managed to merge three buildings by various architects to form an absolute unity of style.

Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Prague, Czech Republic
Starts at: 19:00
Acts: 3
Intervals: 2
Duration: 3h 20min
Sung in: Czech
Titles in: Czech, English
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