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Le Grand Macabre

György Ligeti

Never will you have seen anything quite this grisly!

The State Opera
Premiere production
English surtitles
German surtitles

Basic information


The State Opera


In English

György Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre will receive its Czech premiere. The one and only opera written by the Hungarian-Austrian composer, one of the major 20th-century avant-garde figures, is a truly remarkable work, one that in many a respect surpasses that which is commonly expected from a piece of this genre.


  • 2022-2023
  • 2023-2024


Stage director, Sets and Costumes
Nigel Lowery
Lighting design
Lothar Baumgarte
Video design
Thilo Heins
Chorus master
Adolf Melichar
Ondřej Hučín


The State Opera Chorus and Orchestra

Loosely based on the Belgian avant-garde dramatist Michel de Ghelderode’s play La balade du grand macabre, Ligeti provocatively branded his adaptation “anti-anti-opera”. Le Grand Macabre presents an extremely bizarre apocalyptic vision of a world gone mad, teeming with characters of such telling names as Nekrotzar, Piet The Pot, Clitoria, Spermando.

Ligeti’s spectacular operatic fresco, set in a fictitious city bearing an equally telling name, Breughelland, not only shocks by featuring harsh, spine-chilling and perverse images, it is also striking in terms of the score, with the musical idiom encompassing conventional instruments, but also giving scope to a large variety of unprecedented sounds, produced by car-horns, electric doorbells, a sledgehammer, an alarm clock, paper bags, a tray full of crockery, a saucepan, a pistol and other items.

Le Grand Macabre had its world premiere in Stockholm in 1978. Later on, Ligeti made considerable revisions to his piece in preparation for a production at the Salzburger Festspiele in 1997. The second version of the “anti-anti-opera” will be staged in Prague by the versatile British director and designer Nigel Lowery. The music will be explored by the conductor Jiří Rožeň, a young Czech rising star.


Practical information

Where to buy tickets

The National Theatre sells tickets up to 6 months in advance. On 1 June at 9am we started selling tickets for performances of Drama, Ballet, Opera and Laterna magika until the end of November 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!

Menu (PDF, 70 kB)