Libuše is an opera by Bedřich Smetana (1824 – 1884) intended for the big stage and the classic moment of national drama. It isn’t performed often because of the complexities of staging it. It was his fourth and most ambitious opera composed in 1872, though it was not premiered until the first opening of the National Theatre in 1881. Last Saturday our municipality, celebrating 90 years of existence, had it staged by the Czech National Opera and orchestra on the hillside of our gorgeous Šárka Valley.
Many years ago in the first republic T G Masaryk, the first President, and others liked the idea of staging classic Czech operas by Dvořak and Smetana in this idyllic and historic national park. A few years ago our Prague 6 Mayor revived the custom and it is great fun!
Thousands of people sat amidst the trees eating their sausage and potato pancakes and drinking their Czech beer as this nationalistic opera unfolded. It’s a three act opera and not everyone survived to the third act However it was worth the wait to see a double wedding and Queen Libuše prophecy various future events of Czech history including the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and the blind Hussite General Jan Žižka enter on his fine stallion.
The powerful voice of Eva Urbanová as Libuše seemed to reverberate around the valley as she sang the prophecy which is the closing climax of this opera. Truly a musical festival for all – and it was free courtesy of our municipality!