About the SND Opera

The Opera of the Slovak National Theatre is the main Slovak opera house, founded in 1920. It commenced its activity in the building of the former city opera house in Bratislava, built in the second half of the 19th century according to the project of the well-known Viennese architects Helmer and Fellner. It has been led by a number of prominent personalities, one of the first being a renowned European composer and conductor, Oskar Nedbal. This Czech artist helped to build the ensemble to a high professional level and played an integral part in its first historical stage. The Opera House hosted many important artistic personalities in the interwar period, such as Richard Strauss and Pietro Mascagni, who conducted their works here, or singers such as Fyodor Chaliapin, Richard Tauber, Sándor Svéd, Ema Destinová, Zinka Milanov. After World War II, the theatre received its first great national work, the musical drama Krútňava by Eugen Suchoň. The Slovak National Theatre Opera stage also hosted the premières of great works by leading European opera composers of Slovak origin Eugen Suchoň and Ján Cikker. The ensemble had outstanding performers, especially in the 1970s and 1980s, and several of them made it to the major European stages. Among them were mainly vocal artists Peter Dvorský, Sergej Kopčák, Gabriela Beňačková, conductor Ondrej Lenárd, later tenors Miroslav Dvorský, Sergej Larin, baritone Dalibor Jenis, soprano Ľubica Vargicová, bass Peter Mikuláš and others. The SND Opera gradually drew attention to itself in the broader European context and undertook several important tours with its productions. Its successes included the Paris Comic Opera, the world-famous Edinburgh Festival and a tour in Japan. The Opera House has traditionally enjoyed a very close partnership with the Prague National Theatre Opera, and they regularly organise guest performances with each other. After the socio-political changes as a consequence of the Velvet Revolution, the borders were opened, and elite local vocal artists began to penetrate the Western opera scene even more while also returning to the domestic stage regularly. Today, it is mainly personalities such as Pavol Breslik, Adriana Kučerová, Štefan Kocán, Jolana Fogašová, Aleš Jenis, Simona Šaturová and others who represent Slovak vocal art in the world. A breakthrough year in the history of the Slovak National Theatre Opera was 2007, when the new SND building was opened on the Danube riverside. The opera was thus provided with a modern performance space with new production possibilities. In 2017, the world première of Vivaldi's forgotten work Arsilda, directed by David Radok and featuring the guest ensemble Collegium 1704 conducted by Václav Luks, was a tremendous international success; on the SND stage directed by one of the major European creators, Peter Konwitschny; the partners of several projects were leading European theatres and festivals, such as the Flemish Opera in Antwerp and Ghent, the Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg, the Opéra Royal de Versailles, the Bregenzer Festspiele, etc. The première of the production of Eugen Suchoň's historical opera drama Svätopluk, conducted by Martin Leginus and directed by Roman Polák, staged in 2023 on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Slovak Republic, was a great success. Prominent guests are also regularly present at the conductor's podium: Juraj Valčuha, Rastislav Štúr, Tomáš Netopil, Jaroslav Kyzlink, Robert Jindra, Tomáš Brauner, Enrico Dovico, Marco Guidarini, Pietro Rizzo and more. The SND Opera currently operates on the platform of a semi-repertory performance system - the seasonal programme consists of more than fifteen different opera titles as well as chamber and larger concert events. The SND Opera Company pays great attention to the original Slovak opera and the children's audience.