Rusalka - Opera

Dvořák’s Rusalka is a true gem of Czech opera, one that has won over audiences worldwide. The composer’s ardent melodies, both tender and dramatically extreme, his masterful work with musical motifs and full-blooded orchestration, as well as Jaroslav Kvapil’s fairy-tale libretto, evoking Erben’s immensely forcible ballads, make Rusalka a work of fascinating beauty addressing audiences of all ages. Rusalka is customary deemed a “mere” fairy-tale. To be sure, there is no doubt that the fantastic story and the characters of the nymphs, water goblin or the witch are of a fairy-tale nature, yet in its fairy-tale scenes Dvořák’s paramount operatic work bears an enciphered yet profound message about the fundamental order of powers, elements, energies and passions in the natural, therefore also human, world.

 

The opera is staged in Czech original version and English surtitles are used in the performance.



Photo: Hana Smejkalová, Petra Hajská and Petr Neubert



Duration of the performance: 3 hours and 10 minutes, 2 intermissions

Program and cast

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November 2019 Next
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Prague National Theatre

The National Theatre today

 

The historical building of the National Theatre, constructed in 1883, is generally considered the prime stage in the CzechRepublic. It is the flagship of the National Theatre institution, today amounting to five buildings and encompassing four companies. You can see there Opera, Drama and Ballet performances.

 

Idea of building a stately theatre for the Czech nation

 

The National Theatre is the embodiment of the will of the Czech nation for a national identity and independence. Collections of money among the broad mass of the people facilitated its construction and hence the ceremonial laying of its foundation stone on 16 May 1868 was tantamount a nationwide political manifestation.

 

The idea of building a stately edifice to serve as a theatre was first mooted in the autumn of 1844 at meetings of patriots in Prague. It began to materialise through a request for “the privilege of constructing, furnishing, maintaining and managing” an independent Czech theatre, which was submitted to the Provincial Committee of the Czech Assembly by František Palacký on 29 January 1845. The privilege was granted in April 1845. Yet it was not until six years later – in April 1851 – that the Society for the Establishment of a Czech National Theatre in Prague (founded in the meantime) made its first public appeal to start collections. A year later the proceeds of the first collections allowed for the purchase of land belonging to a former salt works with the area of less than 28 acres, which predetermined the magnificent location of the theatre on the bank of the river Vltava facing the panorama of Prague Castle, yet at the same time the cramped area and trapezoidal shape posed challenging problems for the building’s designers.
 

By car

To the centre (OldTown), approach on Masarykovo nábřeží (Masaryk embankment) in the direction from the Dancing House, at the crossroads in front of the National Theatre turn right to Divadelní street and then right again to Ostrovní street to the National Theatre car park. Parking costs 50 CZK/h.

 

By tram

By daytime trams Nos. 6, 9, 18 and 22 and night trams Nos. 53, 57, 58, 59 to the stop “Národní divadlo” – in front of the NT historical building; by daytime tram No. 17 to the stop “Národní divadlo”.

 

By metro

To the station “Můstek”, line B (yellow), and then by foot on Národní street; or to the station “Karlovo náměstí” and then two stops by tram No. 6, 18 or 22 to the stop “Národní divadlo”. To the station “Staroměstská”, line A (green), and then two stops by tram No. 17 to the stop “Národní divadlo”. 

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