The solemn performance in three acts (six paintings)
Libretto by J. Wenzig
Libusche, Czech Princess
Přemysl from Stadz
Hrishoch from Otava
Shtaglav from Radbuza
Lutobor from the Dobraslav Hills, their uncle
Radovan from the Stone Bridge
Krasava, daughter of Luthorb
Radmila, sister of Hrishoch and Shtyaglava
Foremen, soldiers, clergymen, haymakers of the courtyard of Libusche, Przemysl’s servants, people.
The action takes place in the Czech lands in pagan times.
HISTORY OF CREATION
The original drafts of the opera refer to 1861. For many years, Smetana was attracted by the idea of creating an opera based on folk legends about Princess Libusz, the wise ruler of the Czech Republic, sung by many figures of Czech art. The composer conceived this opera, wishing to glorify the Czech Republic, its heroic past, its beautiful future. In 1866, J. Venzig (1807-1876) completed the libretto, and in 1872 Smetana completed the “Libuse.” He called it “A solemn performance in three parts”, stipulating that it should not be shown as a normal performance. According to the composer, “Libuše” should be performed only in special cases, in commemoration of festive events. Therefore, Smetana for a long time refused to stage the opera. His premiere, he decided to coincide with the opening of the National Theater in Prague, the foundation of which was laid in 1868. But the premiere of “Libushe” was able to take place only on June 11, 1881. The production of the opera caused a great patriotic upsurge. Now the production of “Libuše”,
“Liboushe” – an epically great work, glorifying the homeland and the people. The tone of the narration is strict and solemn, the recitation of the lofty, mighty choral frescoes gives the opera the features of a monumental oratorio, and the orchestra party is endowed with the richness and colorfulness of the color.
In the overture, the themes that draw Libushe are heard. The first picture of the first act (it is called “Libushin court”) – a scene in the princess’s rooms, where her ariaso “Eternal God” sounds – wide-ripening, full of folk-Czech phrases. It is contrasted with a stormy, excited music that transmits the psychic state of Krasava.
The beginning of the second picture is a recitative scene, framed by the choir. Libusc’s exit is accompanied by her aria “You, the judges,” full of energy, determination and greatness. In the court scene, recitative statements are interspersed with replicas of the choir. The act ends with a chorus, glorifying Libuše and her fiancé.
In the first picture of the second act (it is called “Libushin marriage”) dominates the gloomy alarming color. Aria of Krasava “My Father” is a sad and passionate one. In the scene of Krasava and Hruska, music is gradually changing, acquiring features of excited lyrics, exaltation.
The second picture is dominated by light pastoral tones. Przemysla’s aria “The Sun Warms” – is deeply lyrical; In the future, heroic courageous intonations sound in it. The final act of the second act is again a powerful choral scene.
In the first picture of the third act (he is called “Prophecies”) Libushe’s aria “The world reigns again” is of an enlightened character. It is replaced by a large ensemble, and then proud, full of happiness arioso “That it.” The culmination of the opera is the prophesy of Libuše. The music that depicts events in the history of the Czech Republic becomes alarming, sometimes formidable, then majestic. The opera ends with a solemn hymnal choir.