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April 2024 Next

National Theatre Chorus
National Theatre Orchestra
National Theatre Opera Ballet

Jaroslav Vrchlický, still the only poet to have translated Tasso‘s gargantuan work into Czech in its entirety, based his libretto on the episode depicting the love story of Armida, the daughter of King Hydraot of Damascus, and Rinald, a knight participating in a Crusade. Despite possessing extraordinary qualities and beauty, in comparison with other Dvořák operas Armida has always been somewhat shunned by theatre-makers. Following the world premiere in 1904, at the National Theatre in Prague, its first production was only given seven performances. The next time the opera was staged was in 1928, by Otakar Ostrčil. In 1941, Armida was undertaken by Václav Talich, with the production revived by František Škvor after World War II. It was most recently performed under the conductor František Vajnar in 1987. More than three decades later, the time has come to bring back on stage Dvořák’s brilliant work in its entirety, not just selected arias, which opera singers have gladly included in their recitals.

The production of Armida will be the first to be conducted by Robert Jindra since he assumed the post of music director of the National Theatre Opera. After nine years, the National Theatre will welcome back Jiří Heřman, whose sophisticated and visually forcible productions have made him one of the most acclaimed and most sought-after Czech opera directors of the past few decades.

Program and cast

Conductor - Zbyněk Müller

Hydraot - František Zahradníček

Armida - Alžběta Poláčková

Ismen - Svatopluk Sem

Rinald - Aleš Briscein

Bohumir - Martin Bárta

Petr - Štefan Kocán

Sven - Martin Šrejma

Ubald - Jan Šťáva

Muezzin - Radek Martinec

Siren - Doubravka Součková


Creative team

Libretto - Jaroslav Vrchlický

Inscenační úprava - Patricie Částková

Stage director - Jiří Heřman

Sets - Dragan Stojčevski

Costume design - Zuzana Rusínová

Light design - Daniel Tesař

Choreography - Marek Svobodník

Chorus master - Lukáš Kozubík

Dramaturgy - Patricie Částková


Approximate running time: 3 hours, 1 intermission (20 minutes) minutes

Language: In Czech, surtitles in Czech, English

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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