Prague Hotels Articles

June 11, 2010

Experience Theatre in the Beautiful City of Prague

Prague is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and the historic centre has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites since 1992. For those wishing to experience the night-life, Prague offers a vast assortment of venues to suit most people’s tastes and is one of the cheapest places to go out in the EU. Perhaps the best reason to visit Prague however is to experience the theatre.

Prague’s strong tradition of theatre has played a significant part in preserving and developing the Czech cultural identity. Today the National Theatre consists of three artistic ensembles devoted to opera, ballet and drama, who alternate their performances between the historic buildings of the National Theatre, the Theatre of the Estates and in the Kolowrat Theatre. The venues select their repertoire from the rich Czech heritage as well as modern local and international works.

The National Theatre was opened in 1881 to honour the visit of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria. Despite experiencing a disastrous fire shortly thereafter, a national collection was quickly set up to rebuild it, and The National Theatre became one of the most important Czech cultural institutions, being maintained by the most distinguished personalities in Czech society. The theatre recently hosted a Gala Concert to mark the jubilee of its 125th season, which includes such works as ‘Norma’ by Vincenzo Bellini and ‘Carmen’ by Georges Bizet.

The Estates Theatre was built during the late 18th century in response to the Enlightenment school of thought regarding general access to theatre and how theatres demonstrated the cultural standards of a nation. The building itself was constructed in a Neoclassical style and remains one of the few European theatres to be preserved in its almost original state to this day. One of the Estates Theatre’s many claims to fame is its strong link with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who directed the world premiere of his opera ‘Don Giovanni’ there in October 1787. The Estates Theatre currently offers performances of ballets, dramas and operas with the focus of the opera company on the work of Mozart.

The Kolowrat Theatre was long part of the Theatre of the Estates’ administrative building, but was opened for performances in 1991 with a performance of Felix Mitterer’s ‘Visiting Hours’. The extensive loft has been sensitively restored and is mainly used for works of intellectual seriousness.

Tickets for performances are available online from several vendors and the venues’ ticket offices, but travellers are advised to book tickets in advance as performances can sell out quickly. Prague is serviced by the Ruzyne International Airport, a flight destination for most of the pan-European budget airlines. From there travellers can catch a bus, shuttle or arrange private transfer to get to their final destination with ease. Hotels in Prague can be booked online in advance, which is recommended, especially as prices for accommodation can be up to twice as high during peak season, which roughly runs from April to October.

So whether you prefer opera, ballet or drama, make the trip to Prague to experience the best that theatre has to offer.

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