Opera The National Theatre


Benjamin Britten


Libretto: William Plomer
Musical preparation: Zbyněk Müller
Conductor: Zbyněk Müller
Stage director: Jiří Heřman
Sets: Pavel Svoboda
Costumes: Alexandra Grusková
Choreography: Jan Kodet
Chorus master: Pavel Vaněk
Chorus master of the Kühn's Children's Choir: Jiří Chvála
Dramaturgy: Ondřej Hučín
Lighting design: Daniel Tesař

National Theatre Orchestra

National Theatre Chorus

Ballet of the National Theatre Opera

Kühn Children's Choir

Premiere: March 3 and 4, 2012

“If life were just love and if love were true, I would love you till my dying day...” So told Elizabeth I, the central character of Britten’s opera, her favourite and confidant Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. Her words render the bitter paradox of a woman who fully gave herself up to her royal mission, who is loved by her subjects as Queen “Gloriana” yet is at the same time always surrounded by feuding courtiers and constantly facing the threat of war or rebellion and aware that her life and that which we call happiness slips between her fingers. For his opera, Benjamin Britten chose a refined form, alternating mass, even pompous scenes with extremely intimate pictures. Tenderness and amorous passion grows in the characters’ souls alongside perfidy and the vain yearning for power. At the same time, owing to numerous musical reminiscences – above all, in songs and court dances – Britten’s opera pulsates with the attractive atmosphere of Renaissance England. The world premiere of Gloriana took place in London in 1953 during the celebrations marking the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Other Britten operas have been staged in our theatres, but the National Theatre production is the work’s Czech premiere.

The opera is staged in english original version and czech and english surtitles are used in the performance.

Photo: Hana Smejkalová

Duration of the performance: 3 hours and 5 minutes, 2 intermissions


This production is not performed at the present time.


Queen Elisabeth I

Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex

Frances, Countess of Essex

Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy

Penelope (Lady Rich)

Complete Cast

Sir Robert Cecil

Sir Walter Raleigh

Henry Cuffe

A Lady-in-Waiting

A Blind Singer

The Elder Recorder of Norwich

A Housewife

The Spirit of the Masque

The Master of Ceremonies

The City Crier




The Queen's ghost

Quinterna player