Opera and ballet are genres that have evolved in Europe for centuries, and they are still very popular today. The advantage for the audience is that neither opera nor ballet require knowledge of the language in which the performance is presented. Ballet is an emotive dance without words, and opera is usually performed in the original libretto language, occasionally with subtitles. In the Czech Republic they are mostly in Czech and English. So, no matter what language you speak, you can put your Sunday best on and go to a theatre! Yet which one?
Prague – the capital of theatresThere are dozens of theatres in Prague alone. However, you can only see a ballet or opera on select stages as these genres are very demanding in terms of the number of actors, dancers, singers, chorus members, musicians and other people, without whom the performance could not take place at all. Sometimes their number exceeds a hundred professionals. The National Theatre is one of the icons of the national identity. There are several stages (National Theatre, Estates Theatre, New Stage, State Opera) where you can see both traditional opera performances such as the Marriage of Figaro, Carmen, Fidelio, the Bartered Bride and Aida, as well as modern operas.
State Opera openingThe State Opera building near the main train station in Prague and St. Wenceslas Square is to reopen after reconstruction in January 2020. It is the home of opera and ballet. The building was first opened on 5 January 1888 and it is a beautiful example of 19th century neo-baroque style. The reconstruction that the building has recently undertaken has affected almost every corner of the State Opera. New stage technology has been installed, including a unique revolving stage, a modern rehearsal room was built on the second floor, and the ballet, orchestral and chorus halls, as well as facilities for the artists, have also been renovated. The audience can look forward to brand new chairs, restored frescoes and murals.
After three years of reconstruction and 132 years since its first opening, the State Opera has been reopened on Sunday, 5 January 2020, with a spectacular evening entitled Transformations of the State Opera in Time (1888-2018). The special concert had guide the audience through the famous history of four local opera companies. Distinguished soloists of the State Opera and Czech and foreign guests will be introduced under the baton of the State Opera musical director, Karl-Heinz Steffens. Music by Janáček, Smetana, Puccini, Mozart and Wagner has been performed.