Press release

This year’s edition of the Opera Nova Festival, taking place between 14-22 June 2024, promises to be modern, contemporary, interactive, diverse and daring – both Czech and international. Following its previous editions in 2018 and 2019, Opera Nova returns to Prague to offer not merely a lineup of exceptional opera productions but also introduce an innovative festival approach that intertwines opera with various other forms of contemporary art and explores some of the most relevant issues of today’s society.

The Opera of the National Theatre and the State Opera intend on gradually introducing to Prague audiences some of the most significant opera pieces of the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as new works commissioned by the National Theatre and the finest of the recent opera creations. The aim of the festival is to present opera as a living, relevant art form that reflects contemporary cultural and social issues worldwide. The central pillar of this year‘s program will therefore address pertinent themes that are currently affecting our society, including social inequality, diversity prejudices, the status of women in society, and the delicate issue of mental health in today‘s rapidly changing world. Moreover, we recognize that our present is deeply rooted in our past, and as such, the lineup of the festival also pays tribute to significant historical events. This year, for instance, it commemorates the centenary of the death of writer Franz Kafka, as well as sheds more light on the lives and tragic stories of children in the Terezín concentration camp.

 A notable aspect of this year‘s festival program is the incorporation of modern technology, which will enhance and enrich the festival experiences through video design, lighting effects and virtual reality. Following the success of the Musica non grata project, several productions will take place in venues other than our premiere stage, as the National Theatre ventures out to engage opera and contemporary art enthusiasts in new locations. Performances will take place at venues such as the State Opera, the New Stage of the National Theatre, the Bez zábradlí Theatre, and the ABC Theatre. Sustainability in opera and theatre industry will also be emphasized throughout the festival,and audience members will be invited to participate in a variety of accompanying events, including informal social gatherings, discussions, screenings, and diverse performances.

“I’m thrilled that we are able to revive our Opera Nova Festival. It’s important to continuously create an ongoing dialogue with contemporary artists and their work, and I’m glad that this June we will have the chance to introduce such exceptional operatic pieces in Prague. Opera has always belonged to the contemporary world, intertwined with various art forms and current global dynamics,” says Per Boye Hansen, Artistic Director of the National Theatre Opera and the State Opera.

The Artistic Curator of the 2024 Opera Nova Festival is Jiří Rožeň, a notable representative of the younger generation of Czech conductors. Rožeň frequently conducts at both the National Theatre Opera and the State Opera, specializing in opera from the 20th-century. As part of the 2024 Opera Nova Festival, Rožeň will be the main conductor for György Ligeti’s opera Le Grand Macabre, a seminal piece in 20th-century operatic repertoire that will make its Czech premiere on the 14th June 2024 at the State Opera. Le Grand Macabre will open the festival together with Ligeti Late Night, a very special performance by Lukas Ligeti and guests, featuring a new semi-improvised composition by the multifaceted artist.

Throughout the week of the festival, we will showcase a variety of new opera pieces by both Czech and international composers. An aspiring Czech composer Jiří Trtík has been commissioned by the National Theatre to create a new opera entitled Kafka’s Letter to His Father (Kafkův dopis otci). Šimon Voseček, a Czech composer living in Vienna, will present his scenic oratorio Ogres (Stvůry). Also making its Czech premiere will be the opera that has recently captivated the opera world’s attention. The Yellow Wallpaper, the chamber opera written by the talented British composer Dani Howard, enjoyed successful runs last year at London‘s Sadler’s Wells Theatre and the Copenhagen Opera Festival. In addition, children opera Les Papillons de Terezín (Motýli z Terezína) was created for this year‘s Opera Nova Festival by the promising French conductor and composer Charles Baumstark.

The Opera Nova Festival, also a significant contribution from the National Theatre Opera and the State Opera to the Year of Czech Music 2024 project, will serve as a gathering place for numerous exceptionally talented Czech and international artists, primarily from the up-and-coming generation. Among the invited talents are internationally recognized singers such as Grammy nomine Timur Bekbosunov (aka TIMUR), William Morgan, Logan Lopez Gonzalez, Bella Adamova, Vanda Šípová, Pavla Radostová, Arnheiður Eiríksdóttir, Eir Inderhaug and Clare Presland. Additionally, the festival will feature the creative input of the prominent Czech designer Maxim Velčovský,stage director Josef Doležal, costume designer Marianna Stránská, conductor Stephanie Childress, pianist Terezie Fialová and cellist Hana Baboráková. The STRO.MY Ensemble and the Prague Philharmonic Children’s Choir will complement the National Theatre Orchestra and the State Opera Orchestra. Mezzo-soprano Bella Adamova and violincellist Tomáš Jamník have been appointed as Ambassadors of the festival. The Opera Nova Festival will showcase a total of three world premieres and two Czech premieres. This outstanding artistic initiative of the National Theatre Opera and the State Opera not only builds upon previous festival editions, but also honors a tradition that dates back to 1924 and was established by composer and long-time Music Director of the New German Theatre (now the State Opera), Alexander Zemlinsky in collaboration with the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM).

More information about the Opera Nova Festival and its programme can be found on the websites Opera Nova and National Theater.