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PreviousNovember 2019


Time: Fifteenth century
Place: Prague


Act 1

Dalibor, a Czech Knight is on trial before the king for having murdered the burgrave of Ploskovice in revenge for execution of his friend, the musician Zdeněk. At the trial, the king calls upon the burgrave’s sister, Milada, who demands his execution. As Dalibor is brought in, the crowd rises in support of him. When Dalibor tells of his friend’s capture and murder the court reduces his sentence from death to lifetime imprisonment. Milada painfully realized that she is falling in love with Dalibor, and in collusion with Jitka, an orphan befriended by the knight, she resolves to set him free.


Act 2

After a scene in a mercenary camp, where Jitka and her lover Vítek plot to free Dalibor, Milada enters the prison disguised as a boy and finds employment with Dalibor’s jailer, Beneš. She charms the jailer into allowing her into dungeon where Dalibor is being held, to give him his friend's violin. The knight is dreaming, and initially thinks Milada is a reincarnation of his beloved Zdeněk. Then in a passionate duet, they sing of their joy in having found each other.


Act 3

In the dungeon, Dalibor looks forward to escape (singing his famous Song to Freedom) but feeling it is a bad omen when one of the strings of Zdeněk's violin breaks. The plot to bribe Beneš fails, and the jailer informs the king of their attempted escape. Taking the advice of his council, the king orders Dalibor’s death. Milada, waiting outside the prison, hears the tolling of the bell that signals Dalibor’s execution. Accompanied by her followers, she storms the castle, where, after rescuing Dalibor, she is wounded and dies in his arms. Dalibor stabs himself and is united in death with his beloved. An alternative ending has Dalibor executed before Milada can rescue him.

Program and cast

Prague National Theatre

The National Theatre today


The historical building of the National Theatre, constructed in 1883, is generally considered the prime stage in the CzechRepublic. It is the flagship of the National Theatre institution, today amounting to five buildings and encompassing four companies. You can see there Opera, Drama and Ballet performances.


Idea of building a stately theatre for the Czech nation


The National Theatre is the embodiment of the will of the Czech nation for a national identity and independence. Collections of money among the broad mass of the people facilitated its construction and hence the ceremonial laying of its foundation stone on 16 May 1868 was tantamount a nationwide political manifestation.


The idea of building a stately edifice to serve as a theatre was first mooted in the autumn of 1844 at meetings of patriots in Prague. It began to materialise through a request for “the privilege of constructing, furnishing, maintaining and managing” an independent Czech theatre, which was submitted to the Provincial Committee of the Czech Assembly by František Palacký on 29 January 1845. The privilege was granted in April 1845. Yet it was not until six years later – in April 1851 – that the Society for the Establishment of a Czech National Theatre in Prague (founded in the meantime) made its first public appeal to start collections. A year later the proceeds of the first collections allowed for the purchase of land belonging to a former salt works with the area of less than 28 acres, which predetermined the magnificent location of the theatre on the bank of the river Vltava facing the panorama of Prague Castle, yet at the same time the cramped area and trapezoidal shape posed challenging problems for the building’s designers.

By car

To the centre (OldTown), approach on Masarykovo nábřeží (Masaryk embankment) in the direction from the Dancing House, at the crossroads in front of the National Theatre turn right to Divadelní street and then right again to Ostrovní street to the National Theatre car park. Parking costs 50 CZK/h.


By tram

By daytime trams Nos. 6, 9, 18 and 22 and night trams Nos. 53, 57, 58, 59 to the stop “Národní divadlo” – in front of the NT historical building; by daytime tram No. 17 to the stop “Národní divadlo”.


By metro

To the station “Můstek”, line B (yellow), and then by foot on Národní street; or to the station “Karlovo náměstí” and then two stops by tram No. 6, 18 or 22 to the stop “Národní divadlo”. To the station “Staroměstská”, line A (green), and then two stops by tram No. 17 to the stop “Národní divadlo”. 

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