Schwanda the Bagpiper
Premiere performances: 6 and 9 October 2022 at the National theatre
The National TheatreApproximate running time
2 hours 45 minutes, 2 intermission (20 minutes) minutesLanguage
In Czech, surtitles in Czech, EnglishPremiere
October 6, 2022
An extraordinary performance of the opera Schwanda the Bagpiper by the Czech (and later on, American too) composer Jaromír Weinberger.
Weinberger’s fabulous – and truly folksy – opera garnered ovations at many theatres in Europe. As translated by Max Brod in 1931 Schwanda the Bagpiper was even staged at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
National Theatre Chorus
National Theatre Orchestra
National Theatre Opera Ballet
Pupils of the Olga Kyndlová Ballet School
“Czechs, German, citizens of the world – gather round! See a fairy tale in two acts and five scenes, penned by Miloš Kareš and adapted by Max Brod. What is it about? About lime-trees in bloom. About Queens of Darkness who fail to do what they desire to do. About bandits who do great good. About the Devil who loses a card-game. Dorotka is here. And Švanda can do incredible things – with that instrument of his. Long live the Czech bagpiper! Long live Dorotka! Horses, varlets, men with scythes, a soup for lunch, an astronomical clock stolen from the Devil, carriages, carts, bells of all tunes, thunders and thunderbolts, ominous figures, bats and an infernal marriage game. In the end, they all shout: Hail!” That is how the stage director Vladimír Morávek invites audiences of all generations, particularly children and their parents, to attend an extraordinary performance of the opera Schwanda the Bagpiper by the Czech (and later on, American too) composer Jaromír Weinberger. Along with Smetana, Dvořák, Janáček and Martinů, he was one of the select few Czechs whose music gained global acclaim. In the mid-1920s, during the time of the first Czechoslovak Republic, Weinberger and the humourist Miloš Kareš wrote a loose sequel to J. K. Tyl’s tall story The Strakonice Bagpiper. Švanda is married to his beloved Dorotka, yet he feels restless at home. And so, when the bandit Babinský tells him what is there to enjoy abroad ...
What follows is a crazy story, something like an opera-comic strip, giving an account of the adventures of Švanda the bagpiper and his bandit companion, who experience merry, as well as rather torrid moments. And whenever it seems that our heroes are done for good, the best of the Czech nature prevails – craftiness and love of music.
Weinberger’s fabulous – and truly folksy – opera garnered ovations at many theatres in Europe. As translated by Max Brod (a friend and associate of Franz Kafka and Leoš Janáček), in 1931 Schwanda the Bagpiper was even staged at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
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.
WARNING: Gunshots will be heard during the performance.
Suitable for audience from 10 years.
Photo and video gallery
Where to buy tickets
The National Theatre sells tickets up to 6 months in advance. On 1 October at 9am we selling tickets for performances of Drama, Ballet, Opera and Laterna magika until the end of March 2024.
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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.
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