La bohème - Prague State Opera

Buy tickets
December 2022

In the last decade of the 19th century, new themes taken over from contemporary realistic literature began appearing in Italian opera. Emil Zola’s literary Naturalism, purged of Romantic idealisation, strove to depict the world with all its attendant suffering, while the same path was also taken by Italian verismo, focusing on themes whose action, replete with passion, many a time led to a violent ending. 

The Paris-based painter and writer Henry Murger’s book Scenes de la vie de boheme, published in 1851, was a great success and Puccini immediately sensed the enormous dramatic potential in the work. The moving story of the love between the poet Rodolfo and the tender Mimi, who is not destined to live long, and of the friendship of four young Montmartre artists was an ideal theme for an opera. It was premiered on 1 February 1896 at the Teatro Regio in Turin, conducted by Arturo Toscanini. 

The inspired and elegant La bohéme production, directed by Ondřej Havelka, was nominated for Production of the Year 2008 in the traditional Divadelní noviny poll, while Christina Vasileva and Svatopluk Sem were shortlisted for the Thalia Award 2008 for their portrayals of Mimi and Marcello, respectively.

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

Photo: Karel Kouba

Duration of the performance: 2 hours and 15 minutes, 1 intermission

Program and cast

Conductor: Jiří Štrunc

Rodolfo: Peter Berger, Richard Samek

Marcello: Martin Bárta, Jiří Hájek, Svatopluk Sem

Mimi: Maria Kobielska, Pavla Vykopalová

Musetta: Marie Fajtová, Jana Sibera, Jana Šrejma Kačírková

Schaunard: Daniel Čapkovič, Martin Matoušek, Jiří Rajniš, František Zahradníček

Colline: Miloš Horák, Ivo Hrachovec, Jiří Sulženko

Benoit: Aleš Hendrych, Roman Vocel

Alcindoro: Lubomír Havlák

Parpignol: Jan Ondráček, Ondřej Socha

Sergeant: Libor Novák, Peter Paleček, Dalibor Pavelka

Customs officer: Alexander Laptěv, Andrey Styrkul

Waiter: Petr Jirsa

Corporal: Yevgen Lisovyk

Libretto: Giuseppe Giacosa, Luigi Illica
Musical preparation: Ondrej Lenárd
Stage director: Ondřej Havelka
Sets: Martin Černý
Costumes: Jana Zbořilová
Chorus master: Adolf Melichar
Choreography: Jana Hanušová
Dramaturgy: Jitka Slavíková

The State Opera Chorus and Orchestra

Prague State Opera

The State Opera today


The State Opera (formerly the State Opera Prague, between 1948 and 1992 the Smetana Theatre, and originally the New German Theatre) has been a part of the National Theatre since 2012. The Opera and Ballet ensembles give repertory performances at the State Opera.




The Prague State Opera resides in the building which on January 5, 1888 was opened as a Prague German stage with the performance of Wagner’s opera, The Mastersingers of Nürnberg. In the 19th century, Prague Germans performed in the Estate’s Theater in alternation with a Czech company. Desire for their own theater led to negotiations in 1883 for the construction of a new theater building for the German Theater Association. Over the next three years, a blueprint was drawn up and handed over to the Vienna atelier of Fellner and Hellmer. Also sharing in the design was the architect of the Vienna Municipal Theater, Karl Hasenauer, while Prague architect Alfons Wertmüller took part in the construction. Financing came from private collections. With its spacious auditorium and neo-Rococo decoration, this theater building is among the most beautiful in Europe.




By car

On Wilsonova street, from the left lane close to the State Opera building take the slip road to the Slovan above-ground garage. The parking fee is 40 CZK/h.


By tram


By daytime tram No. 11 to the stop “Muzeum”, through the underpass beneath Legerova street in the direction of the NationalMuseum, at the crossroads turn right along the NewBuilding of the NationalMuseum.


By daytime trams Nos. 3, 9, 14 and 24 or night trams Nos. 51, 52, 54, 55, 56 and 58 to the stop “Václavské náměstí”, then by foot uphill on the left side of the Wenceslas Square to the traffic lights across Wilsonova and Vinohradská streets. Then turn left along the NewBuilding of the NationalMuseum.


By metro

To the “Muzeum” station, lines A and C (green and red), and then by foot along the NewBuilding of the NationalMuseum.

Related events