In this post we tell you what’s what when it comes to Classical Concerts, Opera and Ballet in Prague, the major venues and where to finding out what’s playing and where to buy tickets.
Prague’s many concert halls, opera houses and theatres means there’s usually a rich vein of culture for you to tap into on the Prague leg of a tour of Central & Eastern Europe – with one proviso…
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The major orchestras and opera companies take a summer break during the end of July and most of August. Some of them tour, others just enjoy a well-earned rest. Whichever it is, it means that there’s a big hole in the schedules.
‘Best of Classical’ – concerts for casual visitors
During this time the majority of performances available are purely those designed for more of a tourist audience – the ones promoted by people handing out fliers on Old Town Square and outside the venues. A rule of thumb – if they need to hand out fliers, it’s an event designed for the casual visitor and the music you’ll hear will usually be a kind of ‘best of’ from 2 or 3 composers. The venues for these concerts are typically churches or deconsecrated churches, rather than concert halls, the major exceptions being the ones held in Obecni Dum (the Municipal House, the grand art nouveau edifice on Namesti Republiky), which is a very ‘serious’ venue.
For opera buffs
Prague has three venues for opera, the State Opera House, the Estates Theatre and the National Theatre. Aside from the summer break there’s an opera at least once every two days. Read this post about opera in Prague
for more info.
Ballet? More of a black swan situation
Though not quite as rare as black swan sightings, there aren’t so many ballet performances, with only a few a month. Swan Lake is the mainstay of the season, with shows from September through October, and somewhat predictably, The Nutcracker in early December. Because of the scarcity ballet is one thing that’s bound to sell out early so get your tickets in advance.
Getting tickets and finding out what’s on
Some performances may have tickets available from the box office on the day but for peace of mind if you’re on limited time, you might want to book ahead. Venue websites usually have a schedule of upcoming performances but will link out to an external ticket website for bookings, so we’ve linked directly to them: TicketPortal are probably best for classical events, with diagrams of the venue so you can see the various seat categories. TicketMaster are also a reliable source for online tickets, though they don’t provide the seating plan so readily (you have to create an account or log in first).
What to wear
Finally a note on attire. Going to a concert, opera or ballet (at the major venues) is a big event and people like to get dressed up for it. If you’re on vacation it can be hard to plan for it and a dinner jacket or ballgown are probably not in your luggage plans, but dressing at least smart casual (not in jeans and sneakers) will help you fit in.
The major venues
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Charlie is head of marketing at JayWay Travel. A long-term Prague resident, his interests are cooking, eating out, cycling, skiing and of course, travel.