Prague National Theatre 11 April 2024 - Il barbiere di Siviglia |

Il barbiere di Siviglia

Prague National Theatre, Prague, Czech Republic
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Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Prague, Czech Republic
Starts at: 19:00

The crafty Figaro will cut your hair, give you a shave, and even matchmake if you so wish!

Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia is one of the most acclaimed comic operas of all time. It is extremely popular owing to catchy melodies, as well as its being based on Beaumarchais’s brilliant play, the first of his comedies featuring the character of Figaro, a witty servant, and his master, Count Almaviva. Yet unlike in Mozart’s no less famous Le nozze di Figaro, with the two men getting embroiled in conflict, in Rossini’s setting they plot together to attain the count’s goal – winning the heart of the fair Rosina.

For over two centuries, Gioachino Rossini has been one of the most celebrated opera composers, and it might even have been the case if he had written nothing but Il barbiere di Siviglia. Both its genesis and premiere were connected with all kinds of twists and turns, which accompany many a play and opera. The piece had to be completed hastily, rehearsed, and staged even more hastily; it was a setting of a literary work that had been used several times; the premiere was poorly received and affected by the scandal, etc. In hindsight and knowing the fates of other creations, such circumstances would seem to be the best prerequisite for future success. Four years after the opera’s world premiere, in 1816 at the Teatro Argentino in Rome, Il barbiere di Siviglia was first presented, in German translation, at the Estates Theatre in Prague, which in 1825 staged the piece in Czech, owing mainly to the composer and conductor František Škroup (known primarily for creating the melody of the Czech national anthem), who would later on also give Czech premieres of operas by Wagner and others. The Provisional Theatre included Il barbiere di Siviglia in its repertoire during its very first season. Later on, the opera was also undertaken by the National Theatre, which to date has adapted it in more than ten productions.

The newest production was entrusted to Magdalena Švecová, who has directed an adaptation of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride that ranks among the longest performed in the National Theatre’s history. The costumes have been created by Kateřina Štefková, the scenery by David Janošek. The score was enthusiastically undertaken by Jaroslav Kyzlink, the music director of the National Theatre Opera.

Premiere of this production: 20 February 1816, Teatro Argentina, Rome

The Barber of Seville, or The Useless Precaution (Italian: Il barbiere di Siviglia, ossia L'inutile precauzione) is an opera buffa in two acts by Gioachino Rossini with an Italian libretto by Cesare Sterbini. The libretto was based on Pierre Beaumarchais's French comedy Le Barbier de Séville (1775). The première of Rossini's opera (under the title Almaviva, o sia L'inutile precauzione) took place on 20 February 1816 at the Teatro Argentina, Rome, with designs by Angelo Toselli.

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
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