Ladislav Štros is deservedly regarded as one of the foremost representatives of the Czech school of opera stage direction in the second half of the 20th century. He was born on 22nd August, 1926, into the family of a master woodcarver. Love for music and the arts brought him, as a nineteen-year-old, into the choir of the Prague National Theatre, where he made his debut as assistant stage director in 1953, and from 1961 came to work as stage director at the theatre’s opera company (until 31 December 1991). In 1964, he graduated from the course in Art History at Charles University in Prague. The record of his lifelong engagement with the National Theatre encompasses a total number of 52 productions, inluding 20 in the National theatre’s historical building, 23 at the Smetana Theatre (today‘s State Opera), eight in the Tyl (today’s Estates) Theatre, and one on the New Stage. After the separation of the National Theatre companies in 1992, Ladislav Štros contributed two new productions to the repertoire of the Prague State Opera (Rossini‘s L’Italiana in Algeri and Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte), while a third one, the staging of Giordano’s Fedora, prepared for the 1998 season, remained unfinished owing to imposition of austerity measures. Dominant features of all Štros’s stage directions were his refined skill in transformation the idiom of music into visual representation, coupled with a high degrese of stylization, and strong tendency to involve the language of symbols. His stagings invariably turned into genuine theatrical events. He gave the definitive shape to most of his stage visions working in tandem with set designer, Vladimír Nývlt, and costume designers Marcel Pokorný and Josef Jelínek. His art has been appreciated not just by audience of opera houses in Prague and the Czech Republic, but also by operagoers in numerous international companies. A section in the wide spectrum of his interests and activities were reserved for instruction, where he had held teaching posts at the opera department of the Prague Conservatoire, and at the department of voice and opera directions of the Academy of Music in Prague.
Ladislav Štros died on April 18, 2015.