Truth is, if there was ever a time for me to delve into the opera, doing so while living in Prague and visiting other places in central Europe is as good a time as any. Germany, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic all boast state opera houses, and Prague in particular is a hotbed of classical music with world-class artists visiting from around the world.
So last Friday, I took the plunge by attending a performance of Carmen, which is also known as "The World's Only Famous French Opera" and "The Opera With The Music From The Bad News Bears." For those of you unfamiliar with the story, an officer falls in love with a gypsy, who in turn falls for a bullfighter, which leads to the dramatic climax where the officer is thrown out at home plate trying to score the tying run against the Yankees. And then everyone pours beer all over each other.
The venue was the Narodni Divadlo, or National Theater. This building took 13 years to build, and slightly more than two to rebuild; a fire destroyed the place two months after it opened in 1881, was ready for business again in November 1883, and has been open ever since. The gold lettering above the stage reads "NAROD SOBE" -- "The nation for itself," a motto used as a rallying cry while collecting enough money to rebuild the theater so quickly.
|National Theater, right, as seen from Petrin Hill.|