Culture-inspired gift tips from Prague's National Theatre

Holiday gift vouchers are available for ballets, operas, and English-friendly plays as well as National Theatre souvenirs.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 09.12.2021 17:54 (updated on 10.12.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

The National Theatre will be presenting performances throughout the holiday season and will have several new productions premiering early in 2022. As many of its ballets, opera, and performances are language-barrier-free or presented with English supertitles vouchers make an ideal gift for the culture lover in your life.

Several different vouchers, valid for a year, can be purchased online as virtual tickets. They come in different prices and three festive patterns: snowflake, chain, and symbols; all can be used at all the National Theatre venues – the Historical Building, the New Stage, the State Opera, or the Estates Theatre. 

The vouchers can also be used to purchase calendars, cups, and tote bags.

Opera lovers can choose between two different long-running stagings of Antonín Dvořák’s fairytale opera “Rusalka,” famous for its “song to the Moon” aria. It is at both the National Theatre and the recently renovated State Opera.

Mozart is closely associated with Prague, and a new production of his “Così fan tutte” premieres at the Estates Theatre on Jan. 8 and 9. Mozart famously conducted a different opera, “Don Giovanni,” at the Estates Theatre in 1787. It is the only theatre in the world left standing where he conducted. The intimate love story “Così fan tutte” was Mozart’s third and final collaboration with lyricist Lorenzo Da Ponte. This production is staged by director Tatjana Gürbaca and conductor Karsten Januschke.

'Rusalka' at the National Theatre. (Photo: ND,)
'Rusalka' at the National Theatre. (Photo: ND, Hana Smejkalová, Petra Hajská and Petr Neubert)

Rossini’s popular classic “Il barbiere di Siviglia” (The Barber of Seville) is also playing in a new production, which premiered at the National Theatre in October. This is the 10th different production of the opera at the National Theatre since it was first performed in the 1800s.

People with a more modern taste can look forward to the premiere of Franz Schreker’s 1912 avant-garde opera “Der ferne Klang” (A Distant Sound) at the State Opera on March 20 and 26. The work was banned as “degenerate art” by the Nazis in 1931, and remained in obscurity until it was revived in 2010. It has seen quite a lot of worldwide interest in the decade since. The plot deals with an obsessed composer and his complex relationship with a woman he once loved who has since become a courtesan.

There are also new ballet productions. Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet,” with choreography by the late John Cranko, has its Czech premiere on Feb, 10 and 11. This production also uses sets and costumes by designer Jürgen Rose.

More of Cranko’s choreography can be seen in a new staging of Tchaikovsky’s classic “Onegin” at the National Theatre. This staging premiered in 2020, but the choreography was previously seen in Prague in 1982. The sets and costumes are by Elisabeth Dalton.

Ballet with a more modern tone can be found in “Forsythe / Clug / McGregor,” a program of three pieces that premiered at the State Opera in October. William Forsythe’s “The Second Detail,” Edward Clug’s “Handman,” and Wayne McGregor’s “EDEN|EDEN” were first staged between 1991 and 2016. the latter piece features music by Steve Reich.

Robot Radius

More modern works can be seen at the New Stage, the glass theatre next to the Historical Building. Laterna Magica presents “Robot Radius,” a new show developed for the Czech Republic’s participation in the Dubai Expo. The audiovisual work is inspired by Karel Čapek’s sci-fi drama “R.U.R..” which had its debut a century ago.

Two more shows at the New Stage are aimed at families. “Paper Story” is an interactive piece for children, while “ToddLaterna” is for toddlers up to 3 years old.

There are also plays with English supertitles. Titles include “Oedipus Rex,” “Marysha,” “Lunch at Wittgenstein,” “The Blue Bird,” and “I Am a Country.” Note that only select performances have supertitles, and others are in Czech only. A list of English-friendly performances can be found here. There are small boxes in the schedule noting English titles.

Opera and ballet in Prague are among the best in Europe, and the ornate settings of the National Theatre venues are sure to make for a special night out. 

This article was written in cooperation with the National Theatre. Read about our partner content policy here.

Publish your story to Expats.cz Find out more