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fluffnfold Jun 15th, 2004 07:36 AM

Prague: Opera/Theatre
I am considering seeing an opera/musical while in Prague in September/October. My choices are Carmen (at the State Opera), Rigoletto (at the National Theatre), and Les Miserables (at the GoJa Musical Hall).

I don't speak/understand a word of Czech, so that's definitely a problem. Will any of these productions have English subtitles? I should also mention that I've never seen a true opera (Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado doesn't really count), but would really like to see one. I've seen Les Miserables twice in New York (along with 50+ other Broadway shows/plays), and it has always been my very favorite show, so I'm not so worried about understanding that as much (and I would love it see it again). The tickets are $50 (Carmen), $40 (Rigoletto), and $25 (Le Mis), if that has any bearing--relatively inexpensive by NYC standards.

Any advice/suggestions?

Cicerone Jun 15th, 2004 07:41 AM

If you have read the librettos and know the story, it does not matter whether you understand the language, IMO as you are listening to the beauty of the music. Some librettos have side by side translations, you might want to see if you can find some librettos now and bring them. By the way, Carmen was written in French and most likely will be performed in that language. Rigoletto will most likely be performed in Italian, not sure bout Les Miserables (are you referring to the Broadway Play? If so, my guess is that it will be performed in English unless all the songs have been written in Czech which seems unlikely.

yk Jun 15th, 2004 07:44 AM

I've never seen an opera in Prague, but I doubt they will have English subtitles. But both Carmen and Rigoletto are excellent operas, with Rigoletto being my favorite. Whichever one you decide on attending, go out to your local music store and buy a CD or DVD of that opera. You still have a few months to familiarize yourself with the music and the storyline. I'm jealous.

Giovanna Jun 15th, 2004 07:53 AM

Last year we saw Smetana's Bartered Bride at the National Theatre and enjoyed it very much. Just seeing this beautiful theatre is worth the price of admission. It was in Czech and we don't understand Czech, but unless you were multilingual you wouldn't understand most operas would you? That certainly wouldn't be a consideration for me.

Music is everywhere in Prague and as you have noted, at very reasonable prices. Go see and enjoy as much as you can would be my advice.

Thomas_Milligan Jun 15th, 2004 07:56 AM

The web site of the National Theatre indicates that there are now English subtitles for operas sung in Czech as well as Czech and English subtitles for operas sung in other languages. The site doesn't indicate whether Rigoletto is to be sung in Czech or Italian.

mcgeezer Jun 15th, 2004 08:14 AM

When we were there the State Opera didn't have subtitles in English but as someone has already said, it won't matter. The music is what's important.
You can read the story beforehand and you'll get the gist of it.
I love both of your choices. If you are unfamiliar with opera, you may want to chose Carmen. If you are a baby boomer, you'll recognize the music from Bugs Bunny cartoons. Either way you can't go wrong.

fluffnfold Jun 15th, 2004 08:16 AM

Thanks, everyone! I never expected to have so many responses in so short a time.

ThinGorjus Jun 15th, 2004 11:34 AM

Rigoletto sung in Czech?? You are kidding, aren't you Mr. Milligan? That would be impossible.

The Metropolitan Opera House in NYC offers SUPER TITLES, which are subtitles (English) on a little screen in front of your seat. I think this is what Fluffnfold was alluding to.

FromDC Jun 16th, 2004 09:36 AM

The National Theater has supertitles imposed at the top of the stage (I attended a performance of La Traviata earlier this month, sung in Italian with Czech and English supertitles). I didn't attend a performance at the State Opera House but I would be surprised if they didn't have them as well. Carmen might be a better choice if you have not attended many operas as it is often recommended as a "first" opera.

jasoncholt Jun 16th, 2004 09:36 AM

We watched Carmen at the state opera last year. Original language is French and a screen above the stage translates into Czech. If you know the story you'll enjoy it.


amp322 Jun 16th, 2004 10:19 AM

Glad to hear that some supertitles are now in English. 7 years ago, all the supertitles were Czech only.

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