Things to Do in Prague: Watch Don Giovanni at The Estates Theatre

Watch a 3 hour long classical opera without falling asleep. 

This was one of my life long goals and my  trip to Prague posed to be a good opportunity to seize. I remember one of the most wonderful evenings in Vienna in 2008 where I went to watch a classical concert on my own.

We passed in front of The Estates Theatre formerly known as Teatro di Praga during a free walking tour and I remember the excitement when I came back here to buy tickets.

Don Giovanni, a two-act opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was originally premiered in this very theatre. Mozart himself  conducted here on the 29th October 1787. The opera is three hours long and sung in Italian. Unlike in the movies, there are no subtitles here. Mozart's show in Vienna prior to Prague was a disappointment. To his surprise and amazement, his first show at The Estates Theatre was very well received and became an instant success which catapulted Prague as a popular cultural destination since. Concerts and operas run here continuously all year round.

Don Giovanni, also well known as Don Juan is a fictional young nobleman, an arrogant and promiscuous libertine and seducer who takes advantage of naive ladies both old and young. Personally, I think he's a sex addict and the whole time, I just wanted him caught and punished. The show was beautifully wrapped with funny undertones, a flowing serious plot and a chilling end.

Ticket prices vary from 390 Czk - 1100 Czk  (USD$ 16 - USD$ 45) When purchasing tickets, it gives you a chance to select seats.  I chose one that is close to the center at 1100 Czk (USD$ 45).  There was an ongoing exterior renovation at the time of my visit but as soon as I entered the hall, I was transported back to 18th Century.  If it weren't for my modern wardrobe, I would have thought I went back in time. Watch the actor 's Rolando Villazon's reaction as he enters the Estates Theatre.

The seats were so closely arranged that it prevents anyone from escaping if you're seated at the center without being noticed. The audience sitting next to you has no choice but to stand and move for you to pass in the very narrow space. I can see how it was originally designed ergonomically for people in the 18th century with its intricately designed interior.

It was illuminated with chandeliers and wall sconces but what inspired me the most was the acoustic inside the theatre. A needle drop can literally be heard from the furthermost seat in the performance hall.

This acoustic effect somehow prompted the audience to be  mindful and respectful. There was immediately an air of elegant courtesy that is lacking in many places we are used to nowadays. For instance, as soon as the lights dimmed, everyone turned off their phones and was still and quiet. Watch an excerpt of the live performance you will witness here.

If I were to watch it again, I would  bring tissues. I kept crying watching it. The performance speaks to the soul there was no need for translation. I suppose that's the language of music.

Oh, bring a paper fan. Take off your coat and wear a sleeveless top because it can get hot in there during the summer.

I am a confessed lover of opera and I highly recommend for you to watch Don Giovanni if you do happen to stop by Prague.

Where is it?


Do you enjoy operas? Or musicals?
Was there a particular one you saw that you would recommend and why?

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  1. I've never actually been to opera. The building of our city theatre has been under renovation for a decade now so there isn't much going on these days.

    1. It reminds me how every historical landmark or site I have visited has always been under renovation. So much that I have mastered the art of hiding the scaffolding from my photos. There was even a rally one time under the Eiffel Tower and they closed it off to tourists. I don't know why, perhaps I always choose the wrong time :)

  2. I don't think I have ever been to an opera. The theatre is breathtaking gorgeous.

    1. It's also interesting to watch the audience. There was a guy sitting next to me who was forced by his girlfriend to watch. They arrived late so they were only seated after the first act during a short break, missing half of the performance. I felt sorry for him, he kept looking at his watch and was dying to leave. It's an interesting experience on the other hand. It gives a glimpse of what cinematic entertainment was like many centuries ago.

  3. I have never watched an Opera, just an Orchestra when I was a little kid. I remember loving it though, getting moved by the music even at such a young age. So I'd probably love Opera too. I really hope that someday I get to experience what you did even if I'm alone too. If I get a chance to go to Prague I'll make a time for this. Thanks for the tip, will wear sleeveless shirt if I go there on summer time. :)

    1. I am certain you'll enjoy this one too, Marge. It's also a great opportunity for dressing up. :)