Ariadne auf Naxos

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May 2024 Next


Preparations for a private festivity at the house of a wealthy man are in full swing. The programme includes a serious music drama, Ariadne auf Naxos, by a fledgling composer, which is to be presented by an opera company. The major-domo tells the composer’s music teacher that a musical farce is also to be performed, by another troupe, with the evening culminating in a spectacular fireworks display. The music teacher raises objections to the programme, yet to no avail. 

The two theatre companies began getting ready for their respective performances. Not yet aware of the changes, the young composer naively strives to hone his work, bring it to perfection at the eleventh hour. Yet upon finding out that his serious opera is to be followed by a vulgar comedy, his noble-art dreamworld collapses. More disastrous news ensues. The major-domo appears with a new order from his master: so that everything can be completed before the fireworks commence and so that the opera about Ariadne on a desert island does not bore the guests, the two plays, the serious opera and the saucy farce, will be performed concurrently, blended together. The opera company artists vehemently protest (again to no end), whereas the comedians embrace the idea and ask the composer to cut his piece so there will be space in it for comic characters too. The wretched composer capitulates...


Three nymphs – Naiad, Dryad and Echo – watch the sleeping Ariadne, pondering the forsaken woman’s fate. Ariadne, her slumber, weeping, laments about the lost Theseus and longing for death, is also observed and commented on by commedia dell’arte characters – Zerbinetta, Arlecchino, Brighella, Truffaldino and Scaramuccio. The men attempt to cheer Ariadne up with merry song and dance, yet without success. Zerbinetta then takes the floor and tries to convince Ariadne that giving up on life because of fickle men makes no sense at all. Love is a great and wonderful thing, but one man is not capable of satisfying a woman’s entire needs, so there have to be others... Yet Zerbinetta too fails to change Ariadne’s mind and, in order to dispel the lofty onstage tedium, proceeds to perform her favourite number – the men court Zerbinetta, who keeps escaping them, until – this time at least – she chooses Arlecchino...

The nymphs bring the news that a handsome, godlike youth has come to the island. He is none other than Bacchus, the god of farming and fertility. Ariadne initially takes him for the longed-for harbinger of Death, while Bacchus considers her a sorceress resembling Circe, from whose clutches he had once happily fled. Both Ariadne and Bacchus then slowly open their eyes and hearts, and, mutually mesmerised, passionately profess to each other eternal love.

Program and cast

Conductor: Johannes Witt

Der Haushofmeister: Dagmar Pecková

Ein Musiklehrer: Pavol Kubáň

Der Komponist: Arnheiður Eiríksdóttir

Der Tenor (Bacchus): Magnus Vigilius

Ein Offizier: Petr Dvořák

Ein Tanzmeister: Jaroslav Březina

Ein Perückenmacher: Radek Martinec

Ein Lakai: Martin Matoušek

Zerbinetta: Ziyi Dai

Primadonna (Ariadne): Cornelia Beskow

Harlekin: Roman Hoza

Scaramuccio: Josef Moravec

Truffaldin: Jan Hnyk

Brighella: Daniel Matoušek

Najade: Lenka Máčiková

Dryade: Michaela Zajmi

Echo: Yukiko Kinjo


Creative team

Stage direction and Choreography - Sláva Daubnerová

Sets - Lucia Škandíková

Costume design - Tereza Kopecká

Light design - Daniel Tesař

Motion cooperation - Jan Adam

Videoart - Dominik Žižka

Dramaturgy - Ondřej Hučín


Approximate running time: 2 hours 30 minutes, 1 intermission (20 minutes)

Language: In German, surtitles in Czech, English

Estates Theatre

The Estates Theatre today


The Estates Theatre is one of the most beautiful historical theatre buildings in Europe. It has been part of the National Theatre since 1920. The Opera, Drama and Ballet ensembles give repertory performances at the Estates Theatre.




The Estates Theatre is one of the most beautiful historic theatre buildings in Europe. Its construction was initiated by the enlightened aristocrat František Antonín Count Nostitz Rieneck, led by the desire to aggrandise his native city as well as the souls of its inhabitants. The construction lasted less than two years and the Theatre was opened in 1783. This project, extremely important for the Prague of the time, was in keeping with the zeitgeist of the late 18th century, a time when national theatres were being built at European courts, royal seats and cultural centres in the spirit of the Enlightenment idea that a generally accessible theatre is a moral institution demonstrating the cultural level of the nation.

The first, sporadic Czech-language performances took place in 1785. From 1812 onwards there were regular Sunday and holiday matinees. At that time, these performances became to a certain degree a political matter too. Thus arising in the difficult years following the failed revolution in 1848 was the idea of a Czech National Theatre.



By car to the National Theatre car park

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. 

From there, walk to the Estates Theatre along Národní street, then 28. října street, turn left on to Na Můstku street and right to Rytířská street. 


Other nearby secure car parks:

Kotva department store (Revoluční 1/655, Prague 1), then walk along Králodvorská street to Ovocný trh.

Palladium department store (Na Poříčí 1079/3a, Prague 1), then walk along Králodvorská street to Ovocný trh, or to the Powder Gate through Celetná street to Ovocný trh.


By tram

By daytime trams Nos. 6, 9, 18 and 22 or night trams Nos. 53, 57, 58 and 59 to the stop “Národní třída”, then by foot along Národní street, then 28. října street, turn left to Na Můstku street and right to Rytířská street.

By daytime trams Nos. 5, 8, 14 and 26 or night trams Nos. 51, 54 and 56 to the stop “Náměstí Republiky”, then on foot around the Municipal House to the Powder Gate, on Celetná street to Ovocný trh.

By daytime trams Nos. 3, 9, 14, 24 or night trams Nos. 52, 54, 55, 56 and 58 to the stop “Jindřišská”, then on foot along Nekázanka / Panská streets, turn left to Na Příkopě street and then right to Havířská street (from Na Příkopě street you can also walk through the Myslbek arcade).


By metro

To the station “Můstek”, lines A and B (green and yellow), then on foot through Na Můstku street and right to Rytířská street.

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