Mozart and the Others

Letters, Riddles and Writs / The Classical Style


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is returning to Prague – in person! The place in the city most synonymous with the Maestro, the Estates Theatre, will not only host his famous operas and concerts. The National Theatre will stage in Czech premieres two remarkable operas that present Mozart as a person in little known, even unexpected, connections. The renowned English composer Michael Nyman, one of the fathers of Minimalism, wrote his 30-minute mini-opera Letters, Riddles and Writs in 1991 for the BBC television project Not Mozart, which marked the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s death. Imbued with a tragicomic atmosphere, the one-acter juxtaposes the unbridled, defiant, frivolous, yet also highly melancholic artist with the narrow-minded, pragmatic world, particularly represented by his timorous father Leopold. The libretto is a poetic collage, which in addition to fragments of Mozart’s letters encompasses the almost unknown bizarre riddles the composer compiled for the Carnival in Vienna in 1786, in which he – it would seem – concealed the mystic cue to his complex inner universe. Perhaps even more novel was the subject that in 2013 served as inspiration for the opera The Classical Style by the US’s Steven Stucky, a holder of the Pulitzer Prize (and a pupil of the Czech composer Karel Husa). The piece is a setting of the American pianist and musicologist Charles Rosen’s eponymous book, giving an account of the music of three classical giants – W. A. Mozart, Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven – and paying tribute to them amidst the contemporary climate, one not overly favourably disposed to classical music. In his ironic comedy, Steven Stucky lets the three neglected geniuses descend from heaven among those living today, so they can find out in person what has happened to their imperishable glory in the modern-day world.


Sung in English. Czech and English surtitles.

Program and cast

Director and Video: Alice Nellis
Musical preparation: David Švec
Sets: Matěj Cibulka
Costumes: Kateřina Štefková
Motion cooperation: Klára Lidová
Dramaturgy: Ondřej Hučín


Conductor: David Švec
Mozart: Alžběta Poláčková
Maid: Michaela Zajmi
Servant: Pavel Švingr
Leopold, Reviewer Nägele: Ivo Hrachovec


The Classical Style


Conductor: David Švec
Mozart: Alžběta Poláčková
Haydn: Tomáš Kořínek
Beethoven: Pavel Švingr
Charles Rosen, Tristan Chord: Jiří Hájek
Dominant, Donna Anna, Musicologist: Lucie Hájková
Subdominant, Participant 1: Veronika Hajnová
Tónik, Don Giovanni, 2nd Partner: Daniel Klánský
Henry Snibblesworth, Bartender: Josef Moravec
Komtur: Ivo Hrachovec
Schumann: Michaela Zajmi
Student of music: Oskar Hes

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October 2019
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Estates Theatre

The Estates Theatre today

 

The Estates Theatre is one of the most beautiful historical theatre buildings in Europe. It has been part of the National Theatre since 1920. The Opera, Drama and Ballet ensembles give repertory performances at the Estates Theatre.

 

History

 

The Estates Theatre is one of the most beautiful historic theatre buildings in Europe. Its construction was initiated by the enlightened aristocrat František Antonín Count Nostitz Rieneck, led by the desire to aggrandise his native city as well as the souls of its inhabitants. The construction lasted less than two years and the Theatre was opened in 1783. This project, extremely important for the Prague of the time, was in keeping with the zeitgeist of the late 18th century, a time when national theatres were being built at European courts, royal seats and cultural centres in the spirit of the Enlightenment idea that a generally accessible theatre is a moral institution demonstrating the cultural level of the nation.

The first, sporadic Czech-language performances took place in 1785. From 1812 onwards there were regular Sunday and holiday matinees. At that time, these performances became to a certain degree a political matter too. Thus arising in the difficult years following the failed revolution in 1848 was the idea of a Czech National Theatre.

 

 

By car to the National Theatre car park

To the centre (OldTown), approach on Masarykovo nábřeží (Masaryk embankment) in the direction from the Dancing House, at the crossroads in front of the National Theatre turn right to Divadelní street and then right again to Ostrovní street to the National Theatre car park. Parking costs 50 CZK/h. 

From there, walk to the Estates Theatre along Národní street, then 28. října street, turn left on to Na Můstku street and right to Rytířská street. 

 

Other nearby secure car parks:

Kotva department store (Revoluční 1/655, Prague 1), then walk along Králodvorská street to Ovocný trh.

Palladium department store (Na Poříčí 1079/3a, Prague 1), then walk along Králodvorská street to Ovocný trh, or to the Powder Gate through Celetná street to Ovocný trh.

 

By tram

By daytime trams Nos. 6, 9, 18 and 22 or night trams Nos. 53, 57, 58 and 59 to the stop “Národní třída”, then by foot along Národní street, then 28. října street, turn left to Na Můstku street and right to Rytířská street.

By daytime trams Nos. 5, 8, 14 and 26 or night trams Nos. 51, 54 and 56 to the stop “Náměstí Republiky”, then on foot around the Municipal House to the Powder Gate, on Celetná street to Ovocný trh.

By daytime trams Nos. 3, 9, 14, 24 or night trams Nos. 52, 54, 55, 56 and 58 to the stop “Jindřišská”, then on foot along Nekázanka / Panská streets, turn left to Na Příkopě street and then right to Havířská street (from Na Příkopě street you can also walk through the Myslbek arcade).

 

By metro

To the station “Můstek”, lines A and B (green and yellow), then on foot through Na Můstku street and right to Rytířská street.

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