Roméo et Juliette

In his youth, the French composer Charles Gounod (1818–1893) said that “one can only make a successful musical career by composing operas”. Of the 13 operas he wrote, two went on to gain global recognition: Faust and Roméo et Juliette. Since its premiere at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris on 27 April 1867, Gounod’s setting of the immortal story of the Verona lovers has enjoyed ever-increasing popularity. The librettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carré did not draw upon Shakespeare’s feted tragedy directly but its French adaptation by the poet Gérard de Nerval. Hence, the action also contains a few situations not found in Shakespeare’s play, for instance, Juliette’s aria “Ah! Je veux vivre”, which Gounod additionally composed upon the request of the French soprano Marie Miolan-Carvalho (1827–1895), the first to portray the role. Owing to Bedřich Smetana, a great champion of Gounod’s music, Roméo et Juliette got to Prague merely two years after its world premiere, and its Czech staging at the New Town Theatre, with Smetana conducting, was the very first in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The National Theatre first presented the opera on 6 January 1886, in Emanuel František Züngel’s Czech translation. Our most recent production (1994–2000) was created by the Slovak director Jozef Bednárik. The new production at the State Opera will be staged by the Slovak director and performance artist Sláva Daubnerová, who recently dazzled the Prague audience with her treatment of Shostakovich’s one-acters Orango and Antiformalist Rayok.

 

Program and cast

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April 2019 Next

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.

 

History

 

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.

 

Access:

 

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.

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