News

06/04/2021

Short film Krása online this Wednesday 7.4. from 5pm

Members of the State Opera Orchestra conducted by beginning conductor Jana Cecília Mimrová, dancers from the Ballet of the National Theater Opera and a production team consisting of opera director Magdalena Švecová, video artist Tomáš Hrůza and set designer David Janošek have prepared a non-traditional adaptation of a suite from the famous children's opera Brundibár. Join us this Wednesday April 7 from 5 pm on the YouTube Opera of the National Theater.

Watch the film
05/04/2021

Change in the online concerts programme

Dear audience,

we would like to inform you about a small programme change in the series of online concerts "... and yet they still resound!". Due to the technical difficulties, on Wednesday 7.4. from 5pm we will release a short film based on the children's opera Brundibát and on April 21 from 5pm a concert in honor of Igor Stravinsky. Thank you for your understanding.

25/03/2021

Martinů - the first online concert is available until September 2021

Conductor: Jaroslav Kyzlink
Soprano: Marie Fajtová
National Theatre Orchestra
Bohuslav Martinů: Stop, musicians, before our house, from the ballet  "Špalíček"
Bohuslav Martinů: Serenade H199

Martinů belongs to the Musica non grata composers due to his political views, not by origin and race. In Paris he was active in the Czechoslovak National Liberation Committee against the Nazi Germany.
Špalíček, a sung ballet, is a work of the early 1930s.  In Špalíček he works with the folk texts from different folk collections. This music is immensely beautiful and exciting, and it’s considered as the beginning of Martinů’s so called Czech national period. Martinů worked his way to this stage by composing very experimental, dramatic sometimes even dissonate music. 
Serenade for the chamber orchestra was written in 1930 for Martinů’s teacher Albert Roussel. It premiered already in 1931, conducted by Walther Straram and it became one of his most played pieces.

Aleš Březina, musicologist and Bohuslav Martinů Institute Director.

Listen to the concert
24/03/2021

Martinů - first online concert available from today

First online concert Martinů from the series  "... and yet they still resound!" is available from today at 17:00 for next 6 months. Enjoy it! 

Programme: 
Bohuslav Martinů: Stop, musicians, before our house, from the ballet "Špalíček"
Bohuslav Martinů: Serenade H199

Conductor: Jaroslav Kyzlink
Soprano: Marie Fajtová
National Theatre Orchestra
Special guest: Aleš Březina

Watch the concert
18/02/2021

Homage to Igor Stravinsky

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the death of Igor Stravinsky, the Opera of the National Theater decided to pay tribute to one of the most important figures of classical music of the 20th century in the form of an online concert. Stravinsky's anniversary falls on April 6, 2021. An online concert will be recorded on the YouTube on April 21. 2021.

In 1998, Igor Stravinsky was ranked among the 100 most influential figures in 20th century history by the American magazine Time. His music is very extensive and very diverse. It has undergone radical stylistic changes from late Romanticism through expressionism, neoclassicism to the experimental trends of the 1950s and 1960s. It is also characterized by the diversity of genres, forms, inspirations and themes or instrumental casts. For our concert, we therefore deliberately chose five Stravinsky compositions, representing five different, even opposite worlds, which differ fundamentally in their musical language, atmosphere, theme and cast. Their only common feature is the author's admirably variable personality.

We pay tribute to Igor Stravinsky as part of the Musica non grata project, a multi-year cycle in which we present music by authors who in the past became undesirable for one of the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century, especially Nazi but also Communist. Paradoxically, Stravinsky is one of these authors - paradoxically, because he himself was not one of the particularly politically engaged artists, nor among those whose racial or social origin would arouse resentment among representatives of totalitarian power. Nevertheless, his music was described as "perverted" in Germany in the late 1930s and as such was also presented in 1938 at the infamous Nazi exhibition Entartete Musik in Düsseldorf. And even earlier, in the early 1930s, Stravinsky fell out of favor with the Bolsheviks in Soviet Russia. However, Stravinsky's music eventually survived both totalitarians and continues to sound 50 years after his death. 

 

16/01/2021

Hans Krása and Pavel Haas.. yet they still resound!

The State Opera resounded with tones of less-known compositions by Hans Krása and Pavel Haas. You can enjoy the concert recording in February, we will share it with you on the social networks of the National Theater Opera. Until then, have a look at some photos from the recording.

The State Opera Orchestra and soloist Veronika Hajnová performed the Symphony 1923 by Hans Krasa under the direction of chief conductor and music director Karel Heinz Steffens. Josef Moravec, Jaroslav Březina, Jiří Hájek and Ivo Hrachovec paid tribute to Guglielmo Marconi with the song Radio Overtüre op.11 by Pavel Haas.

We would like to thank to all the performers, the artistic and technical departments of the State Opera and the video studio.  Many thanks also go to the conductors Mr. Richard Hein and Jana Mimrová.

18/12/2020

Celebration of the 130th Birthday of Bohuslav Martinů

At the Estates Theater, together with the Orchestra of the National Theater led by Jaroslav Kyzlink, the director of the Bohuslav Martinů Institute, Mr. Aleš Březina, and the soloist Maria Fajtová, we celebrated the 130th anniversary of the birth of the prominent Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů. And how did we celebrate? We recorded the songs Serenade H199 and "Stop the Music" from the opera Špalíček for you. The recording will be ready in January 2021 on the online channels of the National Theater.

16/12/2020

Something is up...

The State Opera Orchestra, conducted by Jana Cecília Mimrová, is shooting a video clip for the Suite from the opera Brundibár by Hans Krása. The video clip is directed by the theater and opera director Magdaléna Švecová in collaboration with video artist Tomáš Hrůza and set designer David Janošek. Petr Jirsa and Jiří Hejna undertook the choreography of the dancers from the Ballet of the National Theater Opera. The fill will premiere during the Musica non grata Spring online concert series. You can wathc it here.

14/12/2020

Listen to the Christmas online concert of the German Embassy and the Academy of Chamber Music

Recording of a live performance at the German Embassy in Prague in collaboration with the Academy of Chamber Music and its lecturers, cellist Peter Jarůšek and flutist Oto Reiprich. You can look forward to wind and string works by Antonín Rejcha, Henri Tomasi and Bohuslav Martinů.
The German Embassy wishes everyone a beautiful and happy Christmas, peaceful holidays, good health and all the best until 2021.

You can listen on following social media: Facebook Twitter | Instagram

Listen to the online Christmas concert
01/12/2020

Opera Advent Calendar

The National Theater Opera and the State Opera prepared a series of  performances, aries and songs for you for each day of an Advent. Open a new window on Facebook with us.

Happy Advent.

Follow the Calendar on Opera NF Facebook
09/11/2020

Musica non grata in the German opera magazine Orpheus

The November issue of the German magazine not only about the opera Orpheus presents the project Musica non grata.
The author of the article is Florian Maier. We have translated the article for you. We wish you a nice reading.

Orpheus, November / December 2020
And yet it resounds ...

With the large-scale Musica non grata project, the Prague opera houses have been reviving a chapter in the history of the time and the music that the Nazi regime labelled as “degenerate”, thus concurrently building a memorial for the present and future alike. Florian Maier

Man creates it, lives with it and from it. Man destroys it. Music has always worked in society as an explosive and subversive expressive force, owing precisely to which it has infuriated authoritarian powers. The traditional reaction is censorship. Whereas in earlier times performances of music were banned or works had to be remade to the point of unrecognizability, during the period of National Socialism the stigma of the undesirable also led to the darkest chapter of humankind within music history. The “non-Aryan” composers and those who were at odds with the ideology of the Nazi dictatorship for other reasons were brutally muted. Many lost their lives in concentration camps, others fell silent in exile or sought safety in an inconspicuous existence. A forcible incision with consequences that are still perceptible today. The natural perpetuation of musical development was severed all at once, the artistic ideas of an entire generation were quashed under the banner of cultural racism and shut out from the creative atmosphere of their time as “degenerate”. As a result, there emerged blind spots in music history, which would not be filled in for many years to come.

In the shadow of the Holocaust

Fortunately, the composers ostracised at the time have since experienced belated acknowledgement in many places – and since this year within an extraordinary major project pursued by Prague opera houses. Initiated by Per Boye Hansen, who since 2019 has held the post of artistic director of the National Theatre Opera and the State Opera, this August saw the launch of the Musica non grata cycle, which will stretch over four years. Three quarters of a century after the end of WWII, it has linked up to Prague’s illustrious pre-1938 musical tradition. The project lets the past speak eloquently, as up until the outbreak of the war Prague was viewed as a hub of the Central European opera scene. For centuries, the “Golden City” on the Vltava was a place where three cultures – Czech, German and Jewish – mingled and coexisted, a melting pot providing a fertile ground for conductors to work together productively, amidst a mutually stimulating competitive environment. The stylistic pluralism predominant in the early 20th century did the rest, and thus Prague became a veritable hothouse for creative cosmopolitans, magically attracting sharp minds of the time. Between 1911 and 1927, the opera company of the Neues deutsches Theater (today’s State Opera) was helmed by Alexander Zemlinsky, who maintained close contacts with Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Franz Schreker and Arnold Schönberg, to name but a few.

On 15 March 1939, the Nazi forces marched into the Czechoslovak capital. The occupation authorities went on to wantonly wreck the treasures of the abundant and diverse artistic creation, which resulted in disastrous irredeemable cultural losses. Not even dead composers, such as Alban Berg, were spared. Works by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and Gustav Mahler, figures who had significantly influenced the development of European music, fell victim to the racist madness too. Can we sense in the music dating from that era an impending catastrophe, and can the years preceding WWII be characterised as a dance on a volcano? Per Boye Hansen refers to the composers of “degenerate music” as “children of their time, each with a specific background and sources”. Therefore, as he points out, they cannot be collectively and automatically considered a musical seismograph with a kindred musical idiom, a barometer of the atmosphere of an imminent disaster. “The time was not gloomy, oppressive, late-Romantic, merely linked with dark, complex issues of humankind. It was also a time of entertainment, a time of many joys, with theatre thriving – and Zemlinsky profiled himself in this area adroitly. It is important that we don’t see these years only in the shadow of the Holocaust and the related colossal tragedy, we should comprehend and rediscover this time in all its facets and contrasts.” 

Living history

 To carry out the project, Hansen and his team have available three Prague opera houses: the State Opera, the centre of the Jewish-German interwar culture; the National Theatre on the bank of the river Vltava; and the Estates Theatre, which went down in history as the venue of the world premiere of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.  The three historical buildings host the events of the Musica non grata cycle, featuring a refined and challenging programme. Besides staged opera productions, symphony and chamber music concerts and song recitals, it encompasses symposia and research projects focusing on the subject of “degenerate music”, whose aim it is to provide new food for thought for musicologists and music lovers.

Although World War II eventually ended, these themes would remain overlooked for a long time. The “Golden City” was not what it used to be. A large proportion of the Prague Jewish population had been “eradicated”, the Germans expelled, while the Czechs were traumatised – and soon, as citizens of a satellite state of the Soviet Union, they were engulfed by another 20th-century totalitarian regime and disappeared behind the Iron Curtain. The erstwhile “hub of the Central European opera scene” would be muted for decades. “Bringing the impulses back to life took a long time. The Russian government strove to cover up and conceal the German tradition,” Hansen explains. “What’s more, the aura of the late-Romantic composers was no longer ‘comme il faut’, with the 1950s and 1960s modernists even perceiving it as reactionary and outmoded.”

 A great project with a symbolic nature

Hansen is not the first to have set the objective of bringing Prague’s musical past back to the public consciousness. In the wake of the Velvet Revolution, the 1990s saw attempts at making amends with music by Jewish composers, particularly Hans Krása and Pavel Haas. Yet, 75 years after the end of WWII, it is surely not by chance that the current cycle has been promoted and generously funded by the Czech government and the German foreign ministry alike. Virtually the whole Czech operatic landscape is participating in the coproduction of the four-year artistic project, including the Eternal Hope festival, dedicated to the work of the Theresienstadt composers. A specific and highly intriguing item is the theme “Music from a female hand”, as the 1920s and early 1930s was the time of emancipation of female composers such as Vítězslava Kaprálová and Geraldine Mucha. These are signals of a symbolic nature, reaching far beyond Prague. All the performances and concerts to be given within the Musica non grata cycle will be streamed, while some of them will also be available on DVD, CD and in online archives.

Loosely paraphrasing the legendary sentence “Yet it moves” reputedly uttered by Galileo Galilei, Per Boye Hansen and his team furnished the cycle with the telling subtitle “… and yet it resounds”, entirely in the sense of belated justice for many wrongfully excluded, persecuted, expelled and murdered artists. Their music lives on, whereas dictators – supposedly powerful – were overwhelmed by their own powerlessness. But Musica non grata is also a project that, with regard to the current global political upheaval and repression against artistic independence and freedom, could not be more up-to-date. And, by giving appreciation to the 20th-century musical creativity, it is a vital memorial for the future of our society, a “homage to the art that cannot be silenced”. Let us hope that the pandemic will not thwart this ambitious project.

Orpheus Magazine
20/10/2020

State Opera and Deutschlandfunk Kultur´s programme about Musica non grata opening concert

Deutschlandfunk Kultur, in cooperation with the State Opera, prepared a recording of the opening concert of Musica non grata, which took place on 30 August. 2020. Enjoy the compositions by Vítězslava Kaprálová, Alexander Zemlinsky and Bohuslav Martinů performed by the Chorus and Orchestra of the State Opera. Conductor: Karl Heinz Steffens. Alice Rajnohová, piano, Jan Kalfus, organs, and Svatopluk Sem, baritone are introduced in solo parts.
The recording of the concert is accompanied by comments by Volker Michael and interviews with Mr. K.H. Steffens.
Enjoy it!

Concert