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Opera

Mefistofele

Arrigo Boito

A Faustian tale in an evocative operatic setting with stunning choral scenes and a fascinating demonic bass title character

The State Opera
English surtitles

Basic information

Venue

The State Opera

Approximate running time

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

Language

In Italian, surtitles in Czech, English

Premiere

January 22, 2015

Mefistofele is the composer and poet Arrigo Boito’s one and only completed opera. It boasts mesmerising choral scenes, such as the Chorus Mysticus in the Prologue and the Witches' Sabbath in Act 2. What is more, the title role affords a great opportunity for basses, who since the early the 20th century have passed the baton, starting with the legendary Fyodor Chaliapin or the no less amazing Czech bass Vilém Zítek.

Cast

  • 2023-2024
  • 2024-2025

Creatives

Stage director
Ivan Krejčí
Light design
Daniel Tesař
Movement coach
Igor Vejsada
Chorus master
Adolf Melichar
Chorus master of Pueri gaudentes
Libor Slád

About

State Opera Chorus
State Opera Orchestra
National Theatre Opera Ballet
Pueri gaudentes boys’ choir

Arrigo Boito stressed that a perfect opera could only accrue from a great and profound work of poetry. And such is Goethe’s Faust. Yet unlike the composers who had set the masterpiece to music previously, he did not limit himself to Part 1, but proceeded to Part 2 of Goethe’s drama, taking place at the imperial court and during Antiquity. Although he had to omit a number of important scenes and characters, the result was an opera lasting nearly five hours. The premiere on 5 March 1868 at La Scala in Milan was a flop, giving rise to one of the most tumultuous uproars in opera history. Boito presently got down to revising the piece and radically reduced the score. The new version, first performed at the Teatro Comunale in Bologna on 4 October 1875, was an instant success. Boito continued to make changes to the opera, until Mefistofele assumed its definitive form in 1881, when it triumphantly returned to La Scala. Mefistofele was his operatic debut and swan song alike. Boito worked on several other operas, including Nerone, yet failed to finish any of them. Nevertheless, during his lifetime Mefistofele was so hugely popular in Italy and beyond that it was enough to prompt the University of Cambridge to grant him an honorary doctorate in music.

Mefistofele was first performed in Prague in February 1881 at the Estates Theatre. The production was also taken up by the newly opened Neues deutsches Theater (now the State Opera), in 1888 and 1897. The National Theatre first presented Mefistofele on 9 December 1885, then in 1896 and, finally, 1936 and 1942, with the celebrated bass Vilém Zítek in the title role. The current Prague production, staged by the renowned drama and opera director Ivan Krejčí, premiered at the State Opera in 2015.

 

 

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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!

Menu (PDF, 60 kB)