Trip to the Opera
By Eleanor Klibanoff, George Washington University
The State Opera House in Prague is one of the most beautiful buildings in the whole city. It is a massive marble building where the wealthiest Czech’s dress to the nines and spend an evening enjoying stunning opera performances. But few people know that if you are a student at Charles University and you show up half an hour before the show, student tickets are only 50 kc or about $2.50 US. That’s how a group of thirty young Americans found themselves watching Nabucco, a classic opera about the Jewish era of Babylonian captivity.
Marie, one of the Czech buddies, let us in on the secret behind the student tickets and met us to show us the beautiful theater. We all dressed up in whatever fancy clothes we had brought with us and took the metro to Wenceslas Square, where the opera house is located. Despite getting a little lost along the way, we eventually were able to find the group and enjoy the music.
The opera, by Giuseppe Verdi, was first performed in 1842. While the story is about a horrible event in the Israelite history, Verdi also weaves in romance, family drama and martyrdom. Luckily, the opera house provides subtitles in both Czech and English to help those who don’t speak Italian. When the two-hour show got a little slow in places, I entertained myself by trying to identify Czech words I had learned in class that day. Afterwards, we took pictures in the ornate theater and went to dinner right down the street. I enjoyed the show, but I especially liked the price tag—who knew you could get dinner and a show for under $10!