Der ferne Klang
The mysterious story about love that falls victim to creative obsession.
The State OperaLanguage
In German, subtitles in Czech, EnglishPremiere
March 20, 2022
The work’s premiere, on 18 August 1912 in Frankfurt, catapulted the Austrian composer Franz Schreker among the top music avant-gardists. He maintained his position until the 1930s, when the Nazis added him to the list of “degenerate artists” and his music was withdrawn from public performances.
Love that falls victim to creative obsession and the tragic fate of a girl who, owing to her family’s poverty, becomes a prostitute are the key themes of the late-Romantic opera Der ferne Klang (The Distant Sound), an almost Freudian study of the chimeric artistic ideal and the degradation of women in a heartless and indifferent world.
State Opera Chorus and Orchestra
National Theatre Opera Ballet
At the beginning of the opera, Fritz, a composer driven by the ambition to write a great piece of music and discover the mysterious perfect “distant sound”, which will bring him fame, abandons his beloved Grete. She wants to kill herself, yet the mystic beauty of nature saves her life. Ten years later, Grete is a celebrated courtesan in Venice. Fritz is among the guests at her party, and proceeds to spurn her love again. Another five years later, Grete attends the premiere of Fritz’s first opera, which goes down badly with the audience – she perceives that he is still seeking his “distant sound”. Fritz and Grete ultimately reunite, whereupon he finally hears the desired sound. Yet it is too late – before he can finish a new ending to his opera, Fritz dies in Grete’s arms.
After a long time in obscurity, over the past two decades Schreker’s music has attracted renewed attention – due to the scores whose structure is akin to the film cut technique, due to the fascinating oscillation between traditional harmony and atonality, due to the original dimensions of expression, the traits that today put Schreker on a par with Gustav Mahler.
Schreker discussed the possibility of Der ferne Klang receiving its Czech premiere at the National Theatre with its then director, Karel Kovařovic, who – for unknown reasons – changed his mind and backed out of signing the respective contract. The opera was ultimately undertaken by Alexander Zemlinsky, a friend of Schreker’s, who conducted its first night at the Neues deutsches Theater on 20 May 1920 to great acclaim. The mysterious story about that which is within our reach yet beyond us is thus returning to Prague 102 years later.
Where to buy tickets
The National Theatre offers tickets for August – November 2021.
Tickets for November on sale from August1st.
According to the government's decision, visitors must meet these conditions.
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!