1/8/2010 To 30/9/2010
When: Aug - Sep 2010 (annual)
Where: State Opera House
Opening Hours: Aug 8pm; Sep 7pm
The Czech State Opera celebrates the life and works of Verdi with an annual three-week end-of-summer season devoted solely to the giant of 19th century Italian opera. Not surprisingly it concentrates on three of his most popular works: Rigoletto, Aida and La traviata, while the spectacular Biblical epic Nabucco, famous for the chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, is also programmed.
A man renowned not only for his musical status but also his strong-will and political convictions (he served as a deputy in the first Italian national parliament 1860-1865, as well as twice turning his back on the stage in favour of farming, the last time, after Aida, for 16 years), Verdi is revered like no-other operatic composer. He composed 26 operas (some recast into new works, others substantially revised) and they have come to epitomise the romantic apex of the genre.
Nabucco was his third opera (1841) and, for a nation fighting for unification, its treatment of a population in exile singing about its need for a homeland struck a resonant chord. (27, 30 August; 3 & 6 September).
Rigoletto, based on Victor Hugo`s novel Le roi s`amuse, followed a decade later, and is famous for its womanising Duke who, memorably, sings Donna e mobile, whilst the hunchback jester`s plot against him goes terribly wrong. (21, 24 & 29 August; 5 September).
Three years later Verdi composed La traviata, again based on a French story, this time Dumas fils` La dame aux camélias. One of Verdi`s most intimate operas, it focuses on the doomed love affair of courtesan Violetta and love-struck Alfredo. Because of the potential scandal to Alfredo`s family, Violetta agrees to leave him, and he only finds her as she is dying of consumption. (19, 22, 28 & 31 August; 4 September).
Finally in the festival quartet is Aida. Not, as commonly believed, written for the opening either of the Suez Canal or the Cairo Opera House (1869), Verdi wrote it the following year, when it was premièred in Cairo on 24 December 1871. The tragic tale of star-crossed lovers - the triumphant Egyptian captain Radamès and the captured Ethiopian slave-girl, Aida - stormed the operatic world and remains one of the best-loved operas of all time. (20, 23 August & 2 September).