Posts Tagged ‘Narodni Divadlo’

12:21 pm


I celebrated Czech Independence Day with a trip to Národní Divadlo, to see a performance of Smetana’s opera, Libuše. Národní Divadlo’s website says this about the opera:

Smetana’s Libuše, dealing with the mythical story of the fabled Czech princess who prophesies glory for the Czech nation, is inextricably linked with Czech history and that of the National Theatre, where on many occasions in the past it has been presented as a work quite extraordinary in its humanistic and social message. The title role has always been performed by the ensemble’s principal soloists. In the current production, Libuše is sung by the Czech soprano of world renown Eva Urbanová.

Urbanová, who sang Libuše, was excellent, and I also especially liked Martin Bárta, who sang Přemysl. The opera itself was a great favorite with the Czech audience, who enthusiastically applauded Libuše’s first act prayer, invoking the blessings of the gods on the Czech nation, as well as the series of prophecies that closes the opera, concluding with the line, "My beloved Czech nation will not perish; gloriously she will vanquish the terrors of hell!"

3:23 pm

Night at the Opera

My Friday night visit to hear Martinů’s Řecké pašije (Greek Passion) marked my first visit to any serious theater since leaving California. The opera is based on Nikos Kazantzakis’s novel Christ Recrucified.

Brief synopsis:

The preparations for the annual Passion play in the Greek village of Lycovrissi are interrupted by the arrival of refugees whose village has been destroyed by a Turkish attack. The refugees are defended by the shepherd Manolios, who had been chosen for the role of Jesus Christ. Other villagers, particularly the Passion play’s Mary Magdalene (who in real life is also the village prostitute), St. James, St. Peter, and St. John, similarly attempt to help the refugees, but the priest, Grigoris, leads resistance to their presence. Finally, in an argument, the villager Panait, the Passion’s Judas, kills Manolios, and the refugees leave the village in search of a new home.

This was my first visit to the National Theater (Národní Divadlo), since it’s not open to visitors except for performances. It’s a really lovely theater (alas that I’m still camera-less).

The performance itself was wonderfully sung and beautifully staged, and I very much enjoyed the evening out.

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