"Dalibor" by Bedřich SmetanaAt the Czech National Theatre

138 min

Available until 10/09/2024

As part of the ARTE Opera Season, the Czech National Theatre is showing a classic from the Czech repertoire: In this opera, Bedřich Smetana tells the story of an avenger figure from Czech history, whom he elevates to the rank of national hero. The opera is conducted by Jaroslav Kyzlink while Jiří Nekvasil signs the stage direction.

Bedřich Smetana’s third opera is closely connected with the history of the Czech National Theatre. Dalibor received its premiere at the New Town Theatre in Prague on 16 May 1868 as part of the celebrations to mark the laying of the foundation stone for the new National Theatre.

The plot is based on events that took place in the 15th century: having led a peasant revolt, the Knight Dalibor of Kozojedy was imprisoned, by order of King Vladislav II of Bohemia, in a tower in Prague Castle that still bears the name “Daliborka” to this day. Legend has it that he learned to play the violin while he was incarcerated, and that the people passing by the tower would be moved on hearing his music.

In Smetana’s opera, the romantic idealisation of the justice-loving knight is clear. Dalibor has vowed to avenge the death of his friend Zdenek. During the trial, he falls in love with the beautiful Milada, sister of the Burgrave of Ploskovice, whom Dalibor has murdered in revenge for the killing of his friend.

Jiří Nekvasil is one of the leading opera directors in the Czech Republic. His version of Dalibor is a heroic epic with heartbreaking undertones. Jaroslav Kyzlink, Music Director of the National Theatre Opera in Prague and world-renowned interpreter of the Czech repertoire, conducts the orchestra. Slovak tenor Michal Lehotský sings the role of the violin-playing knight.

Initial recording in March 2020.


  • Michal Lehotsky

  • Adam Plachetka

  • Dana Buresova


Bedrich Smetana

Music director

Jaroslav Kyzlink


Orchester des Prager Nationaltheaters


Chor des Prager Nationaltheaters


Beno Blachut


Jiri Nekvasil


  • France

  • Czech Republic



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