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Prague Opera Houses Tour

Order Tour Code: P-43
Tour availability: Tour available in summer season Tour available in winter season
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The guide will take you to either the most famous Prague Opera House the National Theatre, or to the oldest one the Estates Theatre, where was the premiere of the opera Don Giovanni, La Clemenza di Tito both of them conducted by W. A. Mozart, except of him there were several other composers working as the conductors Gustav Mahler and Karl Maria von Weber, or to the State Opera, where Enrico Caruso performed several times. This is a walking tour or driven tour. It must be booked in advance.
the minimum length of the tour is 4 HOURS
Tickets to attractions are not inlcuded in the tour price.

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The National Theatre was constructed in 1883. It is generally considered the prime stage in the Czech Republic. The National Theatre institution is amounting to five buildings and encompassing four companies. You can see there Opera, Drama and Ballet performances.

The National Theatre was built for the 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.

A lot of illustrious personalities spanning all the arts are connected with the National Theatre. To name but a few: the painters Frantisek Zenisek, Mikolas Ales and Vojtech Hynais; the sculptors Bohuslav Schnirch, J. V. Myslbek and Antonin Wagner; the writers and playwrights J. K. Tyl, V. K. Klicpera, Ladislav Stroupeznicky, Julius Zeyer, Alois Jirasek, Jaroslav Kvapil and Karel Capek; the dramaturge K. H. Hilar; the composers Bedrich Smetana, Antonín Dvorak, Leos Janacek, Karel Kovarovic and Bohuslav Martinu; the conductors Vaclav Talich, Zdenek Chalabala, Jaroslav Krombholc, Zdenek Kosler; the legendary opera singers and divas Vilem Zítek, Emil Pollert, Otakar Marak, Beno Blachut, Eduard Haken, Rùžena Maturova, Ema Destinnova, Jarmila Novotna, Marie Podvalová, Marta Krasova; the brilliant dancers, prima ballerinas and choreographers Augustin Berger, Sasa Machov, Joe Jencik, Marta Drottnerova; the unforgettable actors and actresses Eduard Vojan, Jindrich Mosna, Zdenek Stepanek, Vaclav Vydra, Marie Hübnerová, Hana Kvapilová, Otylie Sklenarova-Mala, Leopolda Dostalová, Hugo Haas, Jaroslav Vojta, Ladislav Pesek, Jaroslav Marvan, Karel Höger, Dana Medricka, Rudolf Hrusinsky, Josef Kemr and Boris Rösner.

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 cnstruction. Financing came from private collections. With its spacious auditorium and neo-Rococo decoration, this theater building is among the most beautiful in Europe.
After Neumann’s death in 1910, Alexander Zemlinsky became the director of the opera from 1911–1927. A great director and composer, Zemlinsky enriched Prague’s cultural life with his unrivalled interpretations of Mozart’s works and significant stagings of works by E. Krenek, P. Hindemith, E. W. Korngold, F. Schreker, as well as his own works. During his era, first-rate artists appeared here such as M. Müller, M. Huss, F. Schorr, L. Slezak, R. Tauber, L. Lehmann and others. Under his successor, Georg Szell, works by modern composers were also performed. The final performance in the theater took place on September 25, 1938, when the Theater Association terminated all contracts and sold the theater building to the Czechoslovak state. During the occupation, the theater did not have any regular performances under the name of The Prague German Opera. There were only occasional guest performances by a few German companies.

Among the exceptional artistic figures who performed here were directors Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Felix Mottl, Arthur Nikisch and Felix Weingartner, as well as soloists Anna Bahr- Mildenburg, Berta Lauterer-Foerster, Maria Jeritza, Nellie Melba, Karl Burian, Enrico Caruso, Benjamino Gigli, Jan Kiepura, Richard Kubla, and Tino Pattiera.

After liberation, the building was handed over to the May 5th Theater, which later became part of the National Theater. Since its inception in 1992, the Prague State Opera has celebrated the tradition of the New German Theater, not only through the space in which it plays, but above all through the dramaturgy and establishment of its own documentation center, which would like to archive the activities of the NDT (New German Theater), since the archive of this theater has unfortunately been irretrievably lost.

It has been part of the National Theatre since 1920. The Opera, Drama and Ballet ensembles give repertory performances at the Estates Theatre.
The Estates Theatre is one of the most beautiful historic theatre buildings in Europe. Its construction was initiated by the enlightened aristocrat František Antonín Count Nostitz Rieneck. The construction lasted less than two years and the Theatre was opened in 1783. This project, extremely important for the Prague of the time, was in keeping with the zeitgeist of the late 18th century, a time when national theatres were being built at European courts, royal seats and cultural centres in the spirit of the Enlightenment idea that a generally accessible theatre is a moral institution demonstrating the cultural level of the nation.

The venue of traditional theatre productions next to Kotce and Charles University was chosen as the site for the construction of the Estates Theatre, since university and theatre were understood as an integral whole. The building itself was constructed in a Neoclassical style and, with the exception of the theatre in Leoven, Styria, is the only theatre of its kind in Europe to have been preserved in an almost original state to the present day.
In 1798 the Theatre was purchased by the Czech Estates and acquired the name Royal Estates Theatre. In 1862, with the opening of the Provisional Theatre as an entirely Czech theatre, the stage of the Estates Theatre was earmarked solely for a German ensemble and renamed the Royal Provincial German Theatre. During the period between 1920 and 1948 (with the exception of the Occupation years), the Theatre, again bearing the name Estates Theatre, was a stage for the National Theatre, primarily its Drama ensemble. In 1948 it was renamed the Tyl Theatre and would be known as such until 1990 when, following an extensive eight- year reconstruction, it regained the historical name of Estates Theatre.
Several founding generations of Czech theatre-makers were actively involved in the Estates Theatre. From the pioneers, the brothers Tham, J. N. Stepanek, to Klicpera, J. K.Tyl, J. J. Kolar, etc. Also appearing on this stage was, for example, K. H. Macha, while the first Czech modern opera – Skroup’s The Tinker - was presented here in 1826. The song “Where is My Home”, which would later become the Czech national anthem, was first sung in 1834.
The Estates Theatre is also inextricably linked with the name of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Besides other of his works, it was the venue of world premieres of two Mozart operas: the celebrated Don Giovanni on 29 October 1787 – conducted by the composer himself and La clemenza di Tito in 1791, to mark the coronation of Leopold II. Throughout its history, the Estates Theatre allured a host of distinct artists of Europe-wide significance: Carl Maria von Weber held the post of musical director; Angelika Catalani sang here; the violin virtuoso Niccolo Paganini gave a concert; Arthur Rubinstein, Carl Goldmark and Gustav Mahler conducted at the Theatre. Other famous names include the actors W. A. Iffland, F. Raimund, J. N. Nestroy, Wenzl Scholze, Ira Aldrige, Rachel and many others.
Following its affiliation to the National Theatre in 1920, the Estates Theatre above all served as a stage for drama productions, at first a light conversational repertoire that gradually assumed greater gravity. Momentous premieres include, for example, Capek’s The White Plague and Mother. Of no less importance for Czech theatre history was the engagement of our finest directors at the end of the 1950s and in the 1960s – especially Alfred Radok and Otomar Krejci – and the staging of original Czech plays by Frantisek Hrubin, Milan Kundera and Josef Topol. The National Theatre Opera primarily presented the Mozart repertoire. Following the National Theatre’s restructuring, performances given by the Ballet ensemble also began to be staged at the Estates Theatre.

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Last updated on Sep 08, 2014