Boito’s Mefistofele in Prague


mefistofeledateConductor: Marco Guidarini
Stage director: Ivan Krejčí
Sets: Milan David
Costumes: Marta Roszkopfová
Light-design: Daniel Tesař
Chorus master: Martin Buchta, Adolf Melichar
Chorus master of Pueri gaudentes: Zdena Součková
Motion cooperation: Igor Vejsada
Dramaturgy: Jitka Slavíková

State Opera Orchestra

State Opera Chorus

Boys’choir Pueri gaudentes

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For a long time, Arrigo Boito (1842-1918) was more acclaimed as a writer and translator than as a composer. He supplied a number of Italian opera creators with librettos and there is no doubt that his excellent texts played a role in the success of Verdi’s final works Otello and Falstaff. In Mefistofele, his one and only complete opera, Boito turned to the Faust theme. He considered the previous, extremely popular setting of Goethe’s Faust by Charles Gounod a superficial intellectual treatment of the multilayered drama. Boito himself made use of the celebrated German poet’s text almost literally, including the far less frequently staged second part. The premiere of Mefistofele at Milan’s La Scala on 5 March 1868 was a flop. Even though the Prologue in Heaven, one of the most amazing opera scenes there is, enraptured the audience, their enthusiasm gradually ebbed away, to be ultimately replaced by booing, hissing and misunderstanding. Seven years later, Boito thoroughly revised and radically shortened the score. The first performance of the opera’s new version, on 4 October 1875 at the Teatro Comunale in Bologna, was an unqualified success. Boito continued to make changes to Mefistofele until the definitive version was presented in 1881 at La Scala to great acclaim. The music for the present production was explored and prepared by the renowned Italian conductor Marco Guidarini, a frequent guest of opera stages worldwide.

The opera is performed in Italian original. Czech and English surtitles are used in the performance.

Photo: Hana Smejkalová

Duration of the performance: 3 hours and 10 minutes, two intervals.

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