Attending a Mozart opera at the Estates Theater
19.05.2011 - 23.05.2011
When I first visited Prague, maybe 8 or 9 years ago, I was with my friends Dieter and Inge. We did a walking tour of the old town, Stare Mesto. This area was originally laid out in about 800a.d. and some structures are still used which were built in the 13th and 14th centuries. Now I’ve been to the Middle East and our own Mesa Verde so ancient is something I’ve experienced before but I’ll never forget the 1st time I saw the Estates Theater just a short walk from the square.
The Estates Theater was built in 1783 and is nearly all preserved in its original state, except for the wiring for electric lights and plumbing for modern flush toilets. This is the theater where Mozart opened Don Giovanni, conducting the opera himself and Paganini, Clara Schumann and Wagner performed here. The interior is mostly blue velvet with gold trim. The ceiling is very simple with a huge chandelier.
So the 1st and 2nd time I saw the Estates we could not go in as there are no tours. I determined that I did would return to Prague to see a performance in the Estates. I really wanted to see Don Giovanni but alas that was not to be as May was one of the only months in which it was not playing. We did find tickets to see the Barber of Seville and since that was a Mozart production it was going to be good enough.
Our box seat was about 3 boxes away from the stage and the 1st row up with 2 chairs and 1 high chair. We looked down to the poor saps below and looked up to the nose bleed section where some people had to stand up and we were feeling very smug indeed!
The stage is different than the one at the opera house in that stage is completely separated by the orchestra pit. This production was also different in that the costumes were period. But what a wonderful production the singing was so great and we were just above the orchestra so that we could watch the conductor closely as well as the various individuals. I went back in time and imagined Mozart conducting. We did learn some very fun sayings like: “my face lies but I do not”.
After the performance was over we took our time leaving our box, looking lovingly around. Then as we slowly walked out we stood for a very long time just admiring the theater and reflecting on what we had just experienced. It appeared that most everyone did the same.
We walked back to the square, probably like most did in the 1700’s, found a little outdoor café and had some good Czech food.
A guide book had suggested that a very romantic thing to do at night is to take a bottle of Czech bubbly out to the middle of the Charles Bridge and have a drink. We did just that along with some cream truffles. What an end to a most amazing night, standing on the Bridge in the moonlight looking that the reflections of the castle in the water.