Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
Premiere performances: 24 and 26 November 2023 at the State Opera
The State OperaLanguage
In Russian, surtitles in Czech, EnglishPremiere
November 24, 2023
State Opera Chorus
State Opera Orchestra
The Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich set Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk to a libretto he wrote together with Alexander Preis after the eponymous novella by Nikolai Leskov. He himself referred to the opera as a satirical tragedy. The main character, Katerina, is a murderess haunted by qualms of conscience. Yet, with a touch of bitter humour, Shostakovich also focuses on the moral decay of the inhabitants of a Russian village, revealing the omnipresent torpidity and recklessness. Life without hope and love is the very reason for the heroine’s downfall.
Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk premiered to great acclaim in 1934 at the Small Opera Theatre in Leningrad (today St Petersburg). Yet it would only enjoy general popularity in Russia until January 1936, when Joseph Stalin attended a performance at the Bolshoi in Moscow, following which the official Communist Party newspaper Pravda condemned the piece in the infamous article titled “Muddle instead of music”. Subsequently, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk had to be withdrawn from the repertoire of theatres throughout the Soviet Union. (By the way, it was also banned in Nazi Germany.) On the very day when Stalin saw the production in Moscow, the opera received its premiere, for the very first time in German translation, at the Neues deutsches Theater (now the State Opera) in Prague, conducted by Georg Széll and staged by Renato Mordo. Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk was prohibited in Russia until 1963, when its revised version, Katerina Izmailova, was first performed in Moscow.
After the composer’s death, the majority of opera houses worldwide returned to the original version, which is also the case of the new production to be presented at the State Opera.
Where to buy tickets
The National Theatre sells tickets up to 6 months in advance. On 1 March at 9am we started selling tickets for performances of Drama, Ballet, Opera and Laterna magika until the end of August 2023.
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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