Theatre & opera


Stavovske divadlo, Ovocny trh 1, Stare Mesto, Prague 1
Metro: Mustek

As well as being one of the most beautiful theatres in Europe, the Estates Theatre also belongs to the most historic ones, as it was here that Mozart first performed Don Giovanni on October 29, 1787 (which he conducted himself) later followed by the opera La Clemenza di Tito. Originally dubbed Count Nostit's theatre - after the aristocrat who was responsible for its construction - the building later became the Royal Provincial German Theatre, while today it concentrates on ballet theatre production and, to a lesser degree, regular opera (including Don Giovanni).


Obecni Dum, Namesti Republiky 5, Stare Mesto, Prague 1
Metro: Namesti Republiky

Considered by many to be the finest example of Art Nouveau architecture in Prague the Obecni Dum also contains a first rate concert venue - the Smetana Hall. As well as providing a wonderful setting for concerts during the Prague Spring Festival, it also serves as home to the Prague Symphony Orchestra. Expect plenty of Strauss, Mozart and Brahms, as well as works by Mendelssohn, Wagner and Dvorak.


Narodni divadlo, Narodni 2, Nove Mesto, Prague 1
Metro: Narodni trida / tram 6, 9, 18, 22, 23

The upsurge of Czech nationalism in the 19th century was due, in no small part, to a highly influential literary, music and arts scene, with composers such as Bedrich Smetana being instrumental in creating new cultural institutions such as Josef Zitek's National Theatre. Standing as a testament to the wave of patriotism that united all levels of Bohemian society, the theatre boasts an interior created by some of the finest painters and sculptors of the time along with a hugely impressive foyer (completed with ceiling paintings by Zenisek). Now focusing largely upon Czech opera with works by Smetana and Dvorak, other European composers such as Bizet, Verdi and Puccini also feature, while ballet productions (such as Taming of the Shrew) are premiered here, too.


Alsovo nabrezi 12, Stare mesto, Prague 1
Metro: Staromestska, tram 17, 18 to Staromestska

As well as being of architectural interest, the Rudolfinum is widely acknowledged as being Prague's premier concert hall. Concerts are held in the Dvorak hall as part of the Prague Spring Music Festival, while the venue is also the official home of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (frequently performing works by the likes of Dvorak and Smetana). A high level of musicianship and cheap ticket prices combine to make a memorable night out here, while for art lovers, the top floor of the building is devoted to temporary art exhibitions.


Statni Opera, Wilsonova 4, Nove Mesto, Prague 1
Metro: Muzeum

Prague's opera house was originally built to be a German theatre, having first opened its doors to the public in 1888. For almost 50 years it put on German language shows, including productions by the likes of R. Strauss, Mahler, Seidl and Klemperer. Sold to the State in 1938, the outbreak of hostilities in Europe meant that few concerts were staged during WWII, while liberation in Prague saw the building renamed as the "May 5th Theatre". In the recent past (1992), it formally became the State Opera House, adopting a wide-rancing repertoire that includeds Verdi, Puccini, Mozart, Dukas and J. Strauss. Richly decorated in a neo-rococo style, it certainly makes for a grand historic venue and, as you'd expect of a State opera, one that's affordable for the masses, too.


Mozartova 169, Smichov, Prague 5
Metro: Andel / Tram 4, 6, 7, 9, 12, 16.

The great composer Mozart stayed at this 18th-century villa during visits to Prague in 1787 and 1791. Its owners, the Dusek's were great admirers of Mozart, being instrumental in bringing the maestro to Prague. Indeed, it was here that Mozart completed the score to Don Giovanni, whilst also composing an aria - Bella mia fiamma - in honour of Mrs Duskova. Now a dedicated Mozart museum, the Bertramka also serves as a venue for regular concerts of the composer's work.


Marianske namesti 4, Stare Mesto, Prague 1
Metro: Staromestska / Tram 17, 18

Housed in the vast Klementinum, the stuccoed Chapel of Mirrors provides for a lavish setting in which to enjoy a chamber music concert. With wonderful acoustics, the gilt - laden, marble effect walls are topped by a breathtaking ceiling fresco on the life of the Virgin Mary. And, with Mozart who was said to have played here too, a visit here is a must for any classical music lover.


Jirska 3, Hradcany, Prague 1
Metro: Malostranska, then Tram 22, 23.

One of four Lobkowicz Palace's in Prague, this Renaissance building - built in the 1570s is now home to an exhibition of Czech history as well as playing host to classical concerts (especially ensembles) all year round.


Mala Stupartska, Old Town, Prague 1
Metro: Namesti Republiky

Tucked away in the courtyard behind the Church of Our Lady before Tyn (Tynsky dvur) St. James's Church is easily overlooked, though visitors who seek out this 14th century masterpiece are not only rewarded by wouderful Gothic architecture, but first - rate acoustics that make organ recitals here among the best in Prague. Also worth attending for Choral works and music held during Sunday mass.


Malostranske namesti, Mala Strana, Prague 1
Metro: Malostranska / Tram 12, 22.

Not to be consfused with the church standing on the Old Town Square (Stare Mesto) St. Nicholas of Mala Strana is a baroque masterpiece that boasts one of the finest cupolas in town, as well as being a favish setting for regular organ recitals and choral concerts. Well-worth a visit.


Staromestske nam. 13, Stare Mesto, Prague 1
Metro: Staromestska / Tram 17, 18

Recognised as being the oldest Gothic building in Prague, the Stone Bell House (which has been superbly restored) hosts challenging modern art exhibitions, together with contemporary classical music concerts and Gregorian chants.


Frantiska Krizka 36, Holesovice, Prague 7
Tram 1, 8, 25, 26

Self - proclaimed as a "stage for movement, visual and experimental theatre" Ctibor Turba's permanent Prague home for alternative / non - verbal performance seems to have secured increased funding over recent years. And, while it's not everyone's cup of tea, extraordinary performances and thought - provoking concepts make this an intriguing venue to visit.


Parizska 4, Stare Mesto, Prague 1
Metro: Staromestska

Also known as Magic Latern theatre, Black Light is a popular form of dramatic art that involves performers dressing in black against a black backdrop (thus being invisible). In other words, they're able to perform puppetry and pantomime with breathtaking results. Arguably there's no better city in the world to see such a spectacle, with the Cerne divadlo being a leading exponent of the art.


Karlova 8, Stare Mesto, Prague 1
Metro: Staromestska

Prague's other major venue for black - light theatre, Ta Fantastika is a well-run and highly accomplished outfit staging adaptations of famous children's stories such as Alice in Wonderland and Gullever's Travels. Ticket prices are reasonably high (principally of the downtown location), although shows are well-worth seeing.


Narodni Trida 4, Nove Mesto, Prague 1
Metro: Narodni Trida / Tram 6, 9, 17, 18, 22

Visually stunning multi-media techniques combine with film and contemporary dance to convey intriguing and imaginative ideas to a (usually) full and appreciative auditorium. Housed in Nova Scena (part of the National Theatre).


National Marionette Theatre, Žatecká 1, Old Town, Prague 1
Metro: Staroměstská

Mozart composed “the opera of operas”, Don Giovanni, especially for Prague, where he personally conducted its first performance in 1787 in Estates Theatre. At present the dramatic repertoire Prague offers a version in of classical marionette theatre using period costumes and tall marionettes. This production pays homage to the period and atmosphere of Mozart in the form of an authentic 18th century performance. Don Giovanni is presented in the original Italian version and lasts about two hours including intermission.

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