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THE SECRET is Now Playing at the National Theatre in Prague

Performances run through 28 May 2025.

By: Jun. 03, 2024
THE SECRET is Now Playing at the National Theatre in Prague  Image
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The Secret is now playing at The National Theatre in Prague. Performances run through 28 May 2025.

The Secret is Bedřich Smetana’s seventh, and penultimate, opera. It is also the second fruit of the composer’s collaboration with the librettist Eliška Krásnohorská. Completed in May1878, the piece received its premiere the on 18 September at the New Czech Theatre in Prague.

The National Theatre first staged the opera on 12 May 1885, on the first anniversary of Smetana’s death. Yet it only attained wide popularity after the post of the opera company’s director had been assumed by the conductor Karel Kovařovic, who was fully aware of the qualities of the mature Smetana work. Krásnohorská furnished Smetana with an exquisite libretto, whose themes may bring to mind William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet or the Czech author Ladislav Stroupežnický’s play Our Uppish and Defiant Fellows, dating from a later time.

The story, set in a small Czech town, focuses on a feud between the families of the councillors Malina and Kalina, who for years have jostled for social superiority. Kalina strives to prove that he is not as poor as he was two decades ago, when Malina thwarted him when he wanted to marry his sister Róza. Despite the hostility between their fathers, Malina’s daughter Blaženka and Kalina’s son Vít love each other. All disputes are ultimately settled after the discovery of an old note by Friar Barnabáš, which leads Kalina to a treasure. But are piles of gold the most precious thing to be found? Smetana’s The Secret has been adapted by Ondřej Havelka, a stage director possessing an acute sense for music theatre and humour, noted for his visually captivating storytelling. The production will be conducted by Robert Jindra, the music director of The National Theatre Opera.

The production is part of the celebrations of the Year of Czech Music 2024.

The production has been financially supported by The National Theatre Benefactors’ Club.


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