Immortality as punishment? Don Juan in the role of Ahasver
Sunday 12. 6.Tickets available
Wednesday 15. 6.Tickets available
Saturday 18. 6.Tickets available
Friday 24. 6.Tickets available
Saturday 26. 11.
The State OperaApproximate running time
2 hours 10 minutes, 1 intermissionLanguage
In Czech, subtitles in German, EnglishPremiere
June 12, 2022
The production is staged by the famous Spanish director Calixto Bieito, the holder of many prestigious international awards, and conductor Jiř Rožeň.
The Don Juan story, widely known due to W. A. Mozart’s splendid adaptation, is treated in a very different way in Erwin Schulhoff’s opera: Don Juan is punished for his sins by becoming immortal; instead of being redeemed by death, he is doomed to eternal suffering. The modern-time “Don Juan in a tuxedo”, jaded by all the pleasures and joys of life, is determined to reform his libertine ways and strives to find spirituality – yet just keeps finding sensuality and lust. After being rejected by a woman personifying Death, he tries to kill himself, but to no avail – he must live on …
State Opera Chorus
State Opera Orchestra
In the first few decades of the 20th century, Prague was a truly multicultural city, with the Czech and German artists inspiring each other. The German-speaking writer and translator Max Brod suggested to the composer Erwin Schulhoff, also a native of Prague, that a new play by the Czech writer Karel Josef Beneš might make a good basis for the libretto to his new opera. Even though Beneš was yet to attain international acclaim for his psychological novels Uloupený život (Stolen Life) and Kouzelný dům (The Magic House), which would be adapted as films both at home and abroad, Schulhoff was intrigued by his unconventional retelling of the Don Juan legend. At the time, he was influenced by late Impressionism and Expressionism, but, like many other composers, he was engrossed by jazz and had a penchant for experimentation. All these inclinations duly reflected in his one and only opera, Flammen (referring to flames of love and death), blending elements of opera, pantomime and tone poem, which, following its premiere, in Czech, under the title Plameny, on 27 January 1932 in Brno, fell into oblivion for decades. Interest in the piece only revived in the 1990s, when, using Max Brod’s German translation, it was performed as Flammen in concert on 16 April 1994 in Berlin. In the same year the opera was published with the German text by Schott. The State Opera will stage the work with K. J. Beneš’s original Czech libretto.
When working on Flammen, its creators could not have anticipated that they would meet similar fates. For his participation in the anti-Nazi resistance movement, Beneš was sentenced to death, yet the verdict was changed to imprisonment (1941–1945). Schulhoff did not live to see the end of World War II. Labelled as a “degenerate” (Jewish) artist, he was incarcerated in the Wülzburg prison camp in Bavaria, where on 18 August 1942 he died of tuberculosis.
Where to buy tickets
The National Theatre sells tickets up to 6 months in advance. On 1 May at 9am we started selling tickets for performances of Drama, Ballet, Opera and Laterna magika until the end of October 2022.
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
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