Choice of Opera in Prague?

Old Mar 12th, 2003, 02:26 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 19
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Choice of Opera in Prague?

We will be in Prague at the end of May and are considering attending an opera performance there. I have researched what's available, and we have a choice of seeing one at the State Opera and a different one at the National Theater. Do you know whether either venue is better than the other so that that should influence our choice? Either of the operas being performed would be of interest--Carmen and La Boheme.
bobdal is offline  
Old Mar 13th, 2003, 11:30 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 77
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
How did you find out about these two opera's? Will you get tickets in advance?
LisaB is offline  
Old Mar 13th, 2003, 12:06 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 104
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We attended an opera at the National Theatre in November. We had read that this was the best venue and we enjoyed it very much. We were able to purchase tickets on the internet before we left, very easy. We had good seats at less than $20 a ticket. I'm sure it will be great fun for you. We were also able to get tickets for the Budapest opera over the internet as well; very, very cheap. For Vienna we had to telephone for ticket reservations.
Anton is offline  
Old Mar 13th, 2003, 07:23 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,231
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Both theaters are excellent, both for performance and aesthetically. So, I'd probably choose based on which one you really wanted to see and the time/date. If you have no preference, I personally would choose the National Theatre because I would want to hear the orchestra more, as Jiri Belohlavek is the opera conductor there and I like his work. He is one of the foremost conductors around today IMO, but I would prefer to hear him in Czech works, not Italian. I'd still go there for that reason unless there was someone great at the State Opera. I also like the location slightly better for before peformance dining, but that may be because I know it better around there.
Christina is offline  
Old Mar 13th, 2003, 09:36 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 19
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the replies.

Lisa, I don't remember the website that I originally looked at, but there are a number of sites that list schedules for upcoming cultural attractions in Prague. The State Opera has its own website and you can buy tickets on it online. The National Theater has one listed, but I wasn't able to get it to open. There are also ticket agencies that sell tickets online. I suggest you do a Google search for whatever you're interested in.

Anton and Christina, were you able to choose specific seats online or by phone. The websites I have seen so far (including the State Opera site) only lets you seelect the price category, not specific seats. Obviously, I would prefer to be sure of what I'm getting. I would appreciate your thoughts.

Christine, Carmen is playing at the National Theater while we're there. I'm not sure who the conductor is for La Boheme at the State Opera, but maybe I can determine that.I'm afraid I wouldn't know how good he is, however. I am a fairly new opera convert, and haven't seen either of these operas although I've heard some of the music from both. My 24 year old son will be with me. He has only been to one opera previously-- The Marriage of Figaro in Sante Fe. Any thoughts on which he would likely enjoy more? I'm confident I would enjoy both.

Thanks again for your thoughts.
bobdal is offline  
Old Mar 14th, 2003, 09:30 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 104
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I looked at the websites and they do look different than what I remember when I reserved tickets. I was able to choose seats. I will look through my receipts at home and see if I have any additional information.
Anton is offline  
Old Mar 14th, 2003, 10:46 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,231
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bob, it's been a while and I'm not sure if I got to know my seat ahead of time or not. The conductor for the State Opera may be a British guy I've never heard of (Hilary Griffiths), I just don't think he has the credentials of Jiri Belohlavek who is very wellknown and has had a lot of good recordings, not mainly for opera for symphonies. He's in demand for conducting all over.

It may not matter to you that much if you are a classical music neophyte (Belohlavek does more than opera, as I said), but if you truly can't decide, that would just be one thing -- to hear a great conductor and any friends you have who know classical music well might find that of interest. Mr. Griffiths may be a fine conductor, I am not a big opera buff myself to know, I mainly listen to regular classical music. Both operas should be enjoyable to anyone who is interested in opera, I'd think. They are well-known classics and both have beautiful scores.

I bought my tickets through Ticketpro (www.ticketpro.cz), although I'm not sure they sell opera tickets any more. Bohemia Ticket International is another site, and you can find it on the State Opera web site, I guess that's their official vendor (www.opera.cz). I think I didn't know my seats ahead of time and just hoped for the best as I really wanted to go and wanted a decent seat, not the leftovers. I think I booked by price/section only. However, I'm not sure -- it may be Ticketpro emailed me with seat possibilities for my okay.

Opera in Prague is extremely cheap compared to other European cities, which is why I would have gone anyway regardless of the seat. It's worth it even if you don't want to sit through the whole thing, just to see the venue and hear some of it. If your son can sit through Marriage of Figaro, he should last through most anything (except Wagener), I'd say. I like that music (Figaro) a lot, but that is a very long opera.

Here's the page for the links to Bohemia Ticket
http://www.opera.cz/en/

I tried to get seats at National Theatre for something else last year and
you could pick seats by a seating chart, although they were sold out for what I wanted, so I didn't test that feature. It does look different now.


I just looked at the State Opera site and it doesn't have May but in March, La Boheme is the one by Leoncavallo, not Puccini (whoops) which is the wellknown one. I do not know Leoncavallo's Boheme. He's mainly known for Pagliacci and that Boheme is rarely performed and I would guess that's for a reason. That would change my mind -- I'd definitely go to Carmen. Bizet was a much better composer than Leoncavallo in total, and it would have to be a superior score. Okay, here is a snippet from a review of Leoncavallo's La Boheme performed in London (you be the judge)lt;<The very full first night audience must have contained quite a few who, with luck, will be dead before this justly neglected work is resurrected again. The music is pedestrian; it doesn't work as drama; the libretto is flat, with no emphases.>>

Christina is offline  
Old Mar 14th, 2003, 01:54 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 297
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I will be in Prague in June and plan to attend my first opera. The choices during my visit are Don Giovanni at the Estates Theatre or La Traviata at the Prague State Opera. Any advice for this novice on which one to attend?
eurotravler is offline  
Old Mar 15th, 2003, 05:29 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 19
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks very much for your further replies.

Christina,thank you especially for the obvious effort you took to be helpful. The generous participation of people like you and Anton make this forum the wonderful resource it is.

The State Opera web site says that the conductor for the June 1 production of La Boheme that I am considering is Giorgio Croci. It is the Puccini version. The State Opera is doing both it and the Leoncavallo versions this season.

I finally got on the National Theatre site. It says that there are 2 performances of Carmen on May 31, one at 2pm and one at 7pm. Surely the same leads won't try to perform both. I want to go to the evening performance, so I have some concern about that. Assuming they use different performers (at least for the lead roles), I would hope that the better ones would perform in the evening. The website also shows a second conductor (in addition to Jiri Belohlavek). Does this mean that they take turns? I also noted that tickets for the State Opera are somewhat more expensive than those for the National Theatre -- top tickets are about $40 versus about $33. The price difference doesn't bother me, but I am curious about it -- does it imply that the State Opera is considered superior in some respect?

Eurotravlr, I have seen and enjoyed both La Traviata and Don Giovanni. I believe La Traviata is generally considered more of a classic. The role of Violetta is key, so you may want to try to confirm that the soprano performing that role is good.
bobdal is offline  
Old Mar 15th, 2003, 07:19 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,231
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I couldn't find the June schedules on the State Opera site, so it's good you did. I do like Puccini's Boheme very much. I noticed that about the conductor on the National Theatre web site, also, and I would assume it means that the conductor could be either one, but I'm guessing. I also would assume the evening performance would have Belohlavek, but I'm sure there's probably no guarantee and would depend on their schedules.

I'm not a real opera buff so don't know specifics, but I am somewhat surprised the State OPera's tickets cost more than the National Theatre's, unless it is different seating sections. In general, I do believe the National Theatre is considered the superior company and venue in Prague. That's a broad statement, but I think so from what I've read (various reviews, etc.). Some performances at the State Opera have been reviewed as not so dynamic, and I thought part of its mission was to produce opera more affordable to the general public (being the State Opera), and that tickets might then be cheaper. I think there are some bad seats in both places, of course. I believe the State Opera has a wider range of prices and that may be the difference. I don't really have a definitive answer on that one, though, except I really don't think the National Theatre opera is considered inferior.

Christina is offline  
Old Mar 15th, 2003, 08:07 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 75
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We saw Carmen at the State Opera in November last year. We walked into the BTI office in Na Prikope and paid cash fot the best seats. This reduced the price from 1200kc to 950kc per ticket in the stalls. There are no bad seats in this area. The lower the price the higher you will sit so, if you don't mind seeing the orchestra pit you'll get some good bargains. We saw Mikhail Baryshnikov's "White Oak" dance project at the National Theatre the year before and again bought for cash on the day. My personal preference is the State Opera but, there's nothing really to choose. Ammenities like toilets and refreshments are more modern at the National. www.ticketsbti.cz is the main page I use for online reservation.

Jason
jasoncholt is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2003, 02:37 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 398
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
eurotravler, I've never been to Prague, and therefore have no opinion about the merits of the different opera houses in that city, but -- since you didn't get a lot of response to your question about whether to see Don Giovanni or La Traviata -- I just want to chime in with a couple of thoughts. First, did you ever see the movie Camille, with Greta Garbo? It's based on the same story as La Traviata. If you loved Camille, then you'll probably love La Traviata; if you hated it and thought it was sappy, then you'd probably be better off with Don Giovanni.

All flippancy aside, you really can't go wrong with either opera, as they're both on most short lists of the greatest operas ever written. But whichever one you see, please do yourself a favor and, before you go, buy the CD (or check it out of your public library) and listen to it at least once, following along with the libretto as you listen. You'll be amazed at how much more you'll enjoy the performance if you're even a little bit familiar with the opera ahead of time.
Bree is offline  
Old Mar 17th, 2003, 05:16 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 297
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks to bobdal and Bree for the replies.
Regards - eurotravler
eurotravler is offline  
Old Mar 17th, 2003, 07:25 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,020
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I found a great site yesterday, which I found easier to use in planning for Prague opera, concerts, etc. It's actually for all of Europe, which is even better (plans for future trips). Just thought I would pass this on:

www.thecatseyes.com
Giovanna is offline  
Old Mar 25th, 2003, 02:59 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 19
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I just made a reservation to see Carmen at the National Theatre on May 31 by sending an email to their Business Department from their website(www.narodnidivadlo.cz ). They responded promptly, told me they have reserved 2 seats for me that I can pick up at their boxoffice when I get to Prague (anytime up until 3 hours before the performance) and I don't have to pay (or guarantee with a credit card) until I pick up the tickets. The seats they reserved are 6th row center in the Orchestra. By contrast, TicketsBTI (one of the leading Prague ticket sellers, I understand)offered seats in the first row of the second balcony as the best available seats and would charge a service charge (about $2 per ticket). They also were willing for me to pick up and pay for the tickets when I got to Prague. Based on this experience, it certainly seems advantageous to contact the theaters directly.
bobdal is offline  
Old Mar 25th, 2003, 05:54 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 297
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
bobdl - hoe did you contact the National Theatre with the link you posted? www.narodnidivadlo.cz
eurotravler is offline  
Old Mar 25th, 2003, 06:12 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,231
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
That's great Bob, you are certainly resourceful with emailing the National Theatre business office like that. For sme reason, I thought I remembered reading somewhere they would not hold tickets for you at the box office there (I don't know why, it was some peculiar reason). However, if I'm understanding your post, BTI looks about as good as a resource, if they sold the tickets with only a $2 service charge (which is very low for a ticket office). Personally, I might have preferred center balcony seats myself to 6th row orchestra for opera, but that's personal preference as I suppose you had a choice.
Christina is offline  
Old Mar 26th, 2003, 12:55 PM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 19
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Eurotraveler, the link should have a hyphen between narodni and divadlo. I thought I put one in, but it didn't show up. I'll try again. The link is www.narodni-divadlo.cz . On their site, there is an "order tickets" page. I filled that out, clicked "send" and got their response the next day.

Christina, I'm not sure I'm right about which are the better seats. If I had been offered seats in the 1st, rather than the 2nd, balcony, I might have taken them. I asked for the "best available seats" each time. I agree that the BTI service charge is very reasonable. I decided based on the seat location, not the service charge. I do like to be relatively close, however, so I was pleased with the 6th row seats. I was surprised, but pleased, that they offered to hold the tickets and let me pick them up the day of the performance.

bobdal is offline  
Old Mar 26th, 2003, 07:16 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 297
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the correction bobdal. Ordered my tickets this evening.
regards - eurotravler
eurotravler is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Sibelius
Europe
13
Jun 6th, 2008 12:18 PM
s1951
Europe
20
May 8th, 2006 09:09 AM
passion4travel
Europe
5
Mar 3rd, 2006 07:09 AM
wanderlust1233
Europe
9
Aug 27th, 2003 03:07 PM
Anna
Europe
7
Nov 26th, 2002 02:13 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:20 PM.