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September 2024 Next


Shakespeare (and Boito) and Verdi lead the title hero into an ever-deeper abyss. The opera opens with a powerful storm scene and the jubilant entry of Otello, commander of the Venetian Navy, who, in spite of all the natural forces, returns to Cyprus and announces victory over the Ottoman Empire. The hero, however, makes the fatal error of trusting an evil man. Iago, a ruthless schemer devoured by lust for power, turns Otello’s life into a hell. Lost in his own delusions, Iago’s intrigues drive the feted general to blind jealousy, ultimately resulting in murder. Verdi was well aware of the extraordinary quality of Boito’s libretto, the finest he encountered during his career as a composer. He believed that together they had created a masterpiece – and he was right.

The premiere, on 5 February 1887 at La Scala in Milan, was a triumph, following which Otello set out on its glorious journey around the world. On 7 January 1888, owing to the promptitude of its director, František Adolf Šubert, the opera was staged, in Czech, at the National Theatre in Prague. The State Opera first presented it on 20 December 1911, conducted by Pietro von Stermich. Our new production has been undertaken by the distinguished drama director Martin Čičvák, who has previously gained acclaim at the State Opera with adaptations of Verdi’s opera Macbeth, Paul Abraham’s operetta Ball im Savoy and Dmitry Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk.

Program and cast

Language: In Italian, surtitles in Czech, English


Conductor: Andriy Yurkevych; Piotr Staniszewski


State Opera Chorus
State Opera Orchestra


Creative team

Stage director - Martin Čičvák

Sets - Hans Hoffer

Costumes - Georges Vafias

Choreography - Silvia Beláková & Laco Cmorej

Light design - Jan Dörner

Dramaturgy - Jitka Slavíková

Prague State Opera

The State Opera today


The State Opera (formerly the State Opera Prague, between 1948 and 1992 the Smetana Theatre, and originally the New German Theatre) has been a part of the National Theatre since 2012. The Opera and Ballet ensembles give repertory performances at the State Opera.




The Prague State Opera resides in the building which on January 5, 1888 was opened as a Prague German stage with the performance of Wagner’s opera, The Mastersingers of Nürnberg. In the 19th century, Prague Germans performed in the Estate’s Theater in alternation with a Czech company. Desire for their own theater led to negotiations in 1883 for the construction of a new theater building for the German Theater Association. Over the next three years, a blueprint was drawn up and handed over to the Vienna atelier of Fellner and Hellmer. Also sharing in the design was the architect of the Vienna Municipal Theater, Karl Hasenauer, while Prague architect Alfons Wertmüller took part in the construction. Financing came from private collections. With its spacious auditorium and neo-Rococo decoration, this theater building is among the most beautiful in Europe.




By car

On Wilsonova street, from the left lane close to the State Opera building take the slip road to the Slovan above-ground garage. The parking fee is 40 CZK/h.


By tram


By daytime tram No. 11 to the stop “Muzeum”, through the underpass beneath Legerova street in the direction of the NationalMuseum, at the crossroads turn right along the NewBuilding of the NationalMuseum.


By daytime trams Nos. 3, 9, 14 and 24 or night trams Nos. 51, 52, 54, 55, 56 and 58 to the stop “Václavské náměstí”, then by foot uphill on the left side of the Wenceslas Square to the traffic lights across Wilsonova and Vinohradská streets. Then turn left along the NewBuilding of the NationalMuseum.


By metro

To the “Muzeum” station, lines A and C (green and red), and then by foot along the NewBuilding of the NationalMuseum.

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