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Kleider machen Leute

Alexander Zemlinsky

Premiere performances: 24 and 26 February 2023 at the State Opera

The State Opera
Musica non grata
English surtitles

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  • March 2024
  • April 2024
    March 2024

    Thursday 7. 3.

    Tickets available

    Musica non grata
    English surtitles

    Saturday 16. 3.

    Tickets available

    Musica non grata
    English surtitles

    Friday 22. 3.

    Tickets available

    Musica non grata
    English surtitles
    April 2024

    Sunday 7. 4.

    Tickets available

    Musica non grata
    English surtitles

    Basic information


    The State Opera

    Approximate running time

    2 hours 10 minutes, 1 intermission (20 minutes) minutes


    In German, surtitles in Czech, English


    February 24, 2023

    Musical comedy about hypocrisy


    • 2023-2024


    Leo Feld
    Stage director
    Jetske Mijnssen
    Dustin Klein
    Light design
    Bernd Purkrabek
    Chorus master
    Adolf Melichar


    State Opera Chorus
    State Opera Orchestra
    National Theatre Opera Ballet

    The Austrian composer Alexander Zemlinsky possessed an acute sense of wry humour. He found in the Swiss author Gottfried Keller’s story from the collection Die Leute von Seldwyla (The People of Seldwyla), blending strands of allegoric fairy tale, satire and irony, an ideal subject for his opera Kleider machen Leute (Clothes Make the Man), a music comedy about hypocrisy. Zemlinsky depicts the adventure of Wenzel Strapinski, a tailor’s apprentice, who arrives in a small provincial town whose denizens, due to his fashionable clothes and noble parlance, deem him to be a count. The local notables pamper the newcomer, invite him to lavish parties and shower him with gifts. Strapinski even gets engaged to the town administrator’s daughter, who falls in love with the mysterious romantic stranger...

    How does the story about the clothes that make the man end? Featuring splendid rhythmic motifs, striking harmonic inversions and combinations of orchestral colours, Zemlinsky’s music wittily renders the micro-world of the provincial town, its inhabitants, their selfishness, stupidity and envy,  the banality of their conversations, and even such details as the smell of coffee and tobacco smoke. “I sew and sew, we need burghers and dandies in tail-coats, soldiers, doctors and all the others! Only clothes make the man”, sings Zemlinsky’s hero, whose folk melody passes throughout the opera as the key musical and semantic leitmotif. The opera’s original version premiered in 1910 at the Wiener Volksoper, conducted by the composer himself. In 1922, Zemlinsky presented its revised version at the Neues deutsches Theater (today’s State Opera) in Prague, where he held the post of Opera director. Now, more than a century later, the piece is returning to the venue where its second and final version was first performed. Our new adaptation of Kleider machen Leute has been undertaken by the Dutch stage director Jetske Mijnssen, who has garnered acclaim in Berlin (Komische Oper), Amsterdam, Zurich, Graz, etc.

    The production is part of the Musica non grata cycle. Musica non grata is the international music and cultural project of the Czech Republic and Germany, initiated and organized by the National Theatre in Prague and financially supported by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany. Musica non grata revives the artistic legacy of male and female composers important to the musical life of interwar Czechoslovakia who were persecuted by National Socialism or for religious, racial, political or gender reasons. More information at

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    A poster of Kleider machen Leute

    A poster for the production of Kleider machen Leute

    119 Kč

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    Practical information

    Where to buy tickets

    The National Theatre sells tickets up to 6 months in advance. From December 1, 9 am, we started selling tickets for the performances of Drama, Ballet, Opera and Laterna magika until the end of May 2024.

    When purchasing online, you can get an e-ticket. You can pick up printed tickets in person at the box offices of the National Theatre.

    What to wear?

    By their appearance, attire and behaviour, the audience is obliged to adhere to the accustomed practice expected from them when attending a theatre performance.

    Parking at the State opera

    While visiting the State Opera, you can take the slip road on Wilsonova street from the left lane close to the State Opera building to the Parking Centrum above-ground garage. The parking fee is 40 CZK/h.

    Buffets at the State Opera

    No waiting. For your benefit, please pre-order your food and beverages at the bar to minimize waiting in the queue!

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