Slovak National Theater and Opera in Bratislava
Current program of the Slovak National Theater:
Drama - Opera - Ballet
Bratislava, the pleasingly inexpensive capital of Slovakia, is the perfect place for a night at the opera, British The Daily Telegraph wrote in January 2004. This is still true. Opera in Bratislava is popular among foreign visitors for its high artistic standard as well for cheap tickets.
The Opera performances are in the historical building of the Slovak National Theater at the Hviezdoslavovo Namestie Square in the Old City and at the new building of the Slovak National Theater at the Pribinova Street. Performances usually start at 7 p.m.
Opera has been performed for more than three centuries in Bratislava. Modern opera tradition dates from the 1920's. The company's first performance was the Czech composer Bedrich Smetana's famous opera The Kiss (Hubicka).
Today, the Bratislava opera house stages an average of 170 performances a season (each season lasts from September to June). The opera repertoire is all-embracing, including works from classic, romantic and contemporary ages. Even the American composer George Gershwin, the British Benjamin Britten and the Russian Sergej Prokofiev get a look-in, and artistic highlights of the last decade include the German Richard Strauss's Electra, modern stagings of Verdi's Rigoletto and the French Charles Gounod's Faust and Margarethe, which won the Critics Award at the 1990 Edinburgh Festival.
Opera Has Never Been So 'In-Your-Face', wrote Larry L. Lash, the Financial Times's Vienna-based live arts writer about Egen Onegin, a Slovak National Theater production of an opera in two acts with music by Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
The opera's trump cards have always been its soloists. Many world-famous opera singers of Slovak origin soprano Edita Gruberova, tenor Peter Dvorsky got their start on the Slovak National Theater’s cozy wooden stage, wrote the Slovak-English daily The Slovak Spectator. Several younger-generation soloists have won important contests, such as baritones Martin Babjak and Jozef Kundlak, who were chosen as laureates in a contest organized by that famed Italian songman, Luciano Pavarotti. The opera's marquee attractions are sopranos and male voices - Lubica Vargicova and Lubica Rybarska, bass Peter Mikulas, tenor Ludovit Ludha, baritone Martin Babjak and others.