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Prague is a city of literature, art and above all, music. It was home to Antonín Dvořák and Bedřich Smetana, 2 of the world's greatest composers. Mozart also had a special relationship with Prague – his opera Don Giovanni had its première there, and he even wrote a symphony especially for the Prague public.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, classical music flourished in a city that was known as the conservatory of Europe. But the operas and symphonies came to an end during the communist period when classical music was considered elitist. In the early 1990s as the Iron Curtain fell, Prague regained its musical spark. The melodies of the great masters have since then been resounding in all their glory in the city’s beautiful opera houses: the Estates Theatre, the National Theatre and the Prague State Opera.
The National Theatre, with its magnificent golden roof, is an important symbol of Czech national identity. Many Prague residents wanted to build a new theatre as a beacon of Czech culture in the mid-19th century, but the rulers in Vienna were against this. Nonetheless, a successful fundraiser among the people allowed the foundation stone of the National Theatre to be laid. The first performance, in 1883, was the opera Libuse by the famous Czech composer Smetana. Today the theatre provides a broad variety of opera and ballet.
National Theatre, Ostrovní 225/1, Prague, Czech Republic
The elaborately decorated Prague State Opera is located near Wenceslas Square. Guests can enjoy opera, ballet and concerts in the beautiful Rococo auditorium. While the programme boasts many household names, including Tchaikovsky, Rossini and Donizetti, lesser-known works are also staged here, such as La Bohème by Ruggero Leoncavallo. In August and September every year there is a festival in honour of Verdi, and in the run-up to Christmas the opera house is entirely devoted to classical concertos.
Prague State Opera, Wilsonova 4, Prague, Czech Republic