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Opera

Kleider machen Leute

Alexander Zemlinsky

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

The State Opera
Musica non grata
English surtitles

Basic information

Venue

The State Opera

Approximate running time

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

Language

In German, surtitles in Czech, English

Premiere

February 24, 2023

Musical comedy about hypocrisy

Cast

  • 2023-2024
  • 2024-2025

Creatives

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

About

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 musicanongrata.cz.

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A poster of Kleider machen Leute

A poster for the production of Kleider machen Leute

249 Kč

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Practical information

Where to buy tickets

The National Theatre sells tickets up to 6 months in advance. We are currently selling tickets for performances of Drama, Ballet, Opera and Laterna magika taking place in JuneNovember 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 60 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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