Smetana’s Libuše being staged for centenary

The National Theater has new production of Smetana’s historical opera

The National Theater is introducing a new production of Bedřich Smetana’s opera Libuše to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia. The premieres will be Sept. 14 and 16 at the historical building of the National Theater.

It will later be broadcast on Czech Television on Oct. 27, the eve of the actual centenary, and be available for streaming at

The opera was first performed when the National Theater opened, and different productions been in the theater’s permanent repertoire ever since.

This new production is directed by Jan Burian with staging and movement collaboration by Petr Zuska, sets by Daniel Dvořák and costumes and Kateřina Štefková. Musical preparation is by Jaroslav Kyzlink, who will also be conducting some of the performances.

The title will be played by local soloist Dana Burešová and visiting guest Iveta Jiříková, who returns to the National Theater after a long time. The male lead role of Přemysl of Stadice will be played by Adam Plachetka, a permanent member of the Wiener Staatsoper ensemble and a regular guest at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and Svatopluk Sem, a winner of several operatic awards.

Smetana wanted Libuše to be performed on special occasions, which is why the National Theater is making a new production for the centenary.

“Preparing Libuše for the 100th anniversary of the Czech state is something more than directing a standard drama. That's why I decided to work with an entirely new and powerful team whose members have some personal and creative connection with the National Theater. This situation is inspirational, and creative inspiration is always the best cure for all pressures. Notable personalities have significant individual views. We are working with each other well because we have a common interest in creating a good production,” director Burian said.

Libuše was a legendary princess who foresaw the history of the Czech people and helped to establish Bohemia as their home. A mural depicting Libuše can be found among the original decorations inside the National Theater.

“The story contains a strong message … [that] we have the chance to live in a harmonic world of friendship. There is a need to look for deeper meaning in legends. That’s what we’re trying to do together with Bedřich Smetana,” Burian said, adding that the opera shows that people can come together to end the chaos.

The opera was originally intended for the coronation of Emperor Franz Joseph I but was instead used for the opening of the National Theater on June 11, 1881, and again two years later on Nov. 18, 1883, when the theater reopened after being rebuilt following a devastating fire.

Since then, it has appeared in 14 different versions at the National Theater.

Conductor Jaroslav Kyzlink pointed out that in the past the lead role was played by stars including Ema Destinnová, Marie Podvalová, Milada Šubrtová, Gabriela Beňačková and Eva Urbanová. He added that the music is quite challenging for the orchestra. 

Related articles

  • The Best European Locations For Hen & Stag Do's by Lucy Stevens

    Alpha Travel Insurance have ranked Europe's top Stag and Hen do destinations and indexed them based on factors including the cost of flights and hotel, the cost of a pint and the number of bars and activities available to find out which city comes out on top.

  • Circus and Theatre Festival Letní Letná Kicks off Next Week by Paul Lysek

    The "Leave the Crowd Speachless" Summer Circus Festival is back for its 16th Season at Letna.

  • Events for the week of August 19 - 23 by Narmin Ismiyeva

    We've highlighted five events for this week including The Great Beauty, Latino Anděl and Festival of Illustration.

  • Events for the weekend 17 - 18 August by Narmin Ismiyeva

    Are you making plans for the weekend? We've highlighted six events including the 1981 Secondhand Festival, beer tasting in the Botanical Garden, Etnopicnic and a lesson of Argentine tango atop Lucerna. 

  • Events for the weekend 3 - 4 August by Narmin Ismiyeva

    Are you making plans for the weekend? We've selected six events including the Czech version of the famous South Asian festival of love and colors that will take place on Střelecký Island on Saturday.

  • Events for the week 29 July - 2 August by Narmin Ismiyeva

    Are you in Prague this week looking for things to do? We have one event for each day, including yoga in Stromovka and screening of Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel in Karlín.

  • New exhibition opens at National Library of Technology by Narmin Ismiyeva

    The National Library of Technology in Dejvice (NTK) is especially popular among students, however, anyone can have access to its study areas. Go explore the unique space and the art exhibition it is currently presenting.

  • Events for the weekend 27 - 28 July by Narmin Ismiyeva

    This weekend, you can Swing & Swim at Biotop Radotín, watch short movies on a boat, visit Italy on Prague's Kampa island or help the environment by collecting garbage in Modřany.

  • Macbeth, King Lear & The Tempest by

    Prague Shakespeare Company announce performances of three Shakespeare plays performed in English, at the historic Estates Theatre 4-6 July 2019

  • FEST-END:Theatre Festival by Martina Měšťanová (Photo: Švandovo divadlo)

    English Speaking Theatre Festival at the end of theatre season in Prague. The festival is part of the American Spring Festival

Facebook comments

Norbert’s donuts

Superb Donuts in the heart of Prague

Ristorante Casa de Carli

Authentic Italian cuisine in Prague

T.G.I. Friday's (Příkopy)

A true legend in the restaurant industry - TGI Friday's

KUKBURG - Farm to table

Our meat and products straight to your table

Charles Bridge Museum

Discover the history of Prague’s famous Charles Bridge

Trabant Museum Prague

Trabant Museum @ STK Motol

Army Museum Žižkov

Armádní muzeum Žižkov

National Memorial to the...

Národní památník hrdinů heydrichiády

Prague’s # 1 source for Czech news in English…

Expat and Czech Business Professional Network


German Language Info Service