Carmen - National Theatre Prague

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Carmen is actually one of the first verismo operas that preceded the “manifesto” of the Italian artistic movement. Its style, and the death of the title heroine, which were at variance with the established opéra comique conventions, seem to have been the reason why the work did not give rise to much public enthusiasm at and in the wake of the world premiere in Paris in 1875. Yet Carmen soon triumphed in other European cities.

Bizet’s Carmen is a staple of the repertoire of the majority of opera houses worldwide. It is extremely popular owing to the music, abounding in torrential rhythms, engrossing melodies and bewitching songs of the beautiful Gypsy, as well as to the overwhelming power of the passions depicted in the story.

Carmen was first presented in Prague in 1880, at the Estates Theatre. The National Theatre staged it on 3 January 1884, shortly after its opening, as the very first foreign opera. In our new production, the story of Don José, a soldier who falls madly in love with the Gypsy Carmen, is retold by the German director Grischa Asagaroff. Petr Popelka, chief conductor of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra in Ostrava, took over the musical production.

 

National Theatre Chorus
National Theatre Orchestra
National Theatre Opera Ballet
Prague Philharmonic Children’s Choir

Program and cast

Conductor - Rastislav Štúr

Carmen - Ester Pavlů

Don José - Carlos Cardoso

Micaëla - Kateřina Kněžíková

Escamillio - Svatopluk Sem

Frasquita - Yukiko Kinjo

Mercedes - Dana Šťastná

Dancaïro - Jaroslav Březina

Remendado - Tomáš Kořínek

Zuniga - Jaroslav Patočka

Morales - Daniel Kfelíř

 

Creative team

Stage director - Grischa Asagaroff

Sets and costumes - Luigi Perego

Choreography - Petros Gallias

Light design - Daniel Tesař

Chorus master - Pavel Vaněk

 

Approximate running time: 2 hours 50 minutes, 1 intermission (20 minutes) minutes

Language: In French, 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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