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Prague Opera Question

I apologize if this seems like a silly question, but it's something that's been bugging me. I will be in Prague in May and hope to attend an opera performance, or some kind of evening concert depending on what is going on the days I am there. (I love music and I'm having trouble narrowing down my choices so I don't know exactly what I want to do just yet.) I am staying near the old town square and I see that there are several venues reasonably close where one can see an opera or concert.

I am not worried about getting there, but I'm concerned about walking back to my hotel at night after a concert if it's later at night. I'm a woman in my twenties who will be traveling alone and I'm nervous about the idea of walking home in the dark. But at the same time it seems stupid to take a taxi or something when I can walk it in less than 10 minutes. Is it safe for a woman to walk in Prague at night? I've traveled alone before, but usually try to be back at my hotel before dark, or at least soon after. Usually I'm up and out early anyway and I'm tired by dinnertime. :) I'd hate to miss this experience because I'm too chicken to walk in the dark, but if it's not safe, then I want to be smart about it.

This might seem paranoid of me, but I live in a city where I wouldn't even consider walking from my house to my mailbox at the end of the street at night and at work if we have to leave late the security guard drives us to our cars. This is ingrained in me so please understand that the idea of wandering around in a strange city at 10pm seems a little scary to me. I'm hoping someone can reassure me or enlighten me with a solution I haven't thought of. Thanks!

Posted by
2349 posts

Prague is one of the safest cities in the world and I think that you would be perfectly safe to walk around at night.use your usual street smartys and you will be fine. Prague can be quite busy at night especially in the city centre so lots of folk about too.

Posted by
4619 posts

Unclegus is right. Prague is very safe. You won't walk in dark because the center is very well lit and plenty of people walking around even at midnight. Totally different experience than walking in big American cities at night.

Posted by
2013 posts

I visited Prague solo last May and the highlight of that visit was seeing Mozart's Marriage of Figaro at the Estates Theatre, the last remaining theatre he conducted his works in--the opera nerd in me was absolutely giddy with glee over that fact. Also that I had a wonderful box seat for about $60 US, at the San Francisco opera that would cost $300. I purchased the ticket a couple of months in advance and it was waiting for me at my hotel.

I stayed in the Old Town, perhaps a 10 minute walk, and walking back alone at 10 pm was perfectly safe--plenty of people out and about, no sketchy folks hanging around. I had trouble orienting myself in Prague so that afternoon I made a point to figure out my route, both so that I knew how long it would take to get there and also so I wouldn't be wandering in the dark later. I felt safe at all times walking alone in Prague, night or day.

Posted by
110 posts

Thank you all so much for your replies. I feel much better now and I'm very excited to really start looking into what I want to see while I'm there. I was hesitant before because I didn't want to get my heart set on going to something and then not be able to go due to safety concerns. I'm so excited now! I'm glad to hear that it's well lit and that there are other non scary people around. I had this mental image of walking down a dark street by myself dodging the drug dealers. (or maybe that's just a memory of what happens when I walk to the parking garage at work at night.) I've been dreaming of traveling to Prague for a long time. My dad's family is from Prague (many many years ago) and I'm so excited to see where my ancestors are from and learn more about my culture.

Christa, the Estates theater is one of the ones I have been looking at, also because of the Mozart connection. I did see that the box seats are pretty cheap compared to the US and I think I might do the same thing you did, especially now that I feel comfortable pre booking a ticket. Was it weird to sit in a box with strangers as a single person? I go to the movies and stuff by myself at home, but didn't know if it would feel different to be sitting in a box with strangers for a few hours. And thanks for the tip about figuring out how to get there and back in the daylight. That's a great idea!

Posted by
2349 posts

My first ever visit to a full opera was Don Giovanni at the estates in 2002 (the year of the great flood).we had box no11 and I think the tickets cost 850kc, there were only 3 seats in the box so we had it to ourselves.a truly wonderful experience.I have since been back to the estates a few times but nothing will match that first experience.This is the theatre tha Mozart himself premiered Don Giovanni and where many of the interior shots of the Film Amedeus were shot.
as to scary people around the only place you might see a few are around the Main train station and seriously there are a few vagranst that reside around there but they never bother anyone.

Posted by
1128 posts

Just confirming what everyone else has said. I went to the National and saw Tosca when I was in Prague last September. A box seat right by the stage cost around 1,400 krona. I was on my own - the friend I was visiting is a philistine! - and there were two other people in the box. We just nodded politely and were then all engrossed in the music. It didn't feel strange.

On leaving, shortly after 10, the streets were full of people and it didn't feel at all dodgy. That sort of time is mid evening for central Prague and everywhere is well lit and busy. There's an underpass under the main road directly outside the National Opera but again this was well lit and thronged with fellow opera goers.

Obviously as a man my experience is going to be different from a single woman but I've never felt in danger in Prague even much later at night. Czech women friends also seem quite happy about catching late night trams on their own after evenings out.

Have a great time. It's a beautiful city.

Alan

Posted by
110 posts

Don Giovanni is one of the options I'm seriously considering. I can't wrap my head around seeing a show like that in the place where Mozart actually premiered it. So cool! That's one of the things I love about traveling. We just don't have history like that in California.

Thanks for the statistics on Prague safety. I had to laugh when I compared it to my hometown. Basically I should lock all my doors and never leave the house again. Haha! It does make me feel much better to see that Prague is perceived as a safe place. It's just hard to imagine when you've been raised in a city that is so very different. I'm so excited for my Prague adventure now. I'll be on my own there for a couple of days prior to joining up with a RS Eastern Europe tour. Can't wait for May!

Posted by
2013 posts

I am quite the loner; or, I don't have the right friends for some of the cultural things I like to do, so I am comfortable going alone to plays or operas, and the box seat experience was no different.

I was a couple of levels up, so my box had 5 seats--3 across the front, then 2 behind with higher chairs. I had a front seat and liked that, it faced the stage directly--I bought well in advance so chose that rather than a side-view. A nice Japanese couple sat next to me and we had a good chat about Prague and opera. A German couple sat behind us and it seemed to me that they were not true opera fans because they actually TALKED during the performance. This is not ok. In San Francisco that'll get you escorted out. My seatmates and I at first turned around and gave them the fish-eye. When that failed we all turned in unison and shushed them--that worked.

If I return to Prague I would gladly see another opera there, it wasn't just for tourists, plenty of locals and a well-staged production. It's a beautiful, cozy little theatre, a bit like being inside a Faberge egg. They were renovating the façade so scaffolding was up when I visited last year.

Posted by
11984 posts

@ olihow19....Your concerns are totally justified. Which city are you describing in terms of where you live? No, you are not chicken nor paranoid in my book, just prudent and not setting yourself up for doing something stupid. One does not "wander around in a strange city at 10 pm" esp alone and at 10 pm if one is out alone , one is heading back to the hotel or hostel.

Posted by
2349 posts

One does not "wander around in a strange city at 10 pm" esp alone and at 10 pm if one is out alone , one is heading back to the hotel or hostel.
The US must be a heck of a difference to Europe,10.oopm and things are just starting to get lively in Europe especially in wonderful cities like Prague.You will find even at midnight the old town square busy and lively,yes start heading home around midnight but at 10.00pm the night is but young.Plus can I restate ,Prague is as safe a city as you are likely to find anywhere.Please don't let fear for your safety curtail your enjoyment of the city.

Posted by
110 posts

Well, I finally bought a ticket to the opera and I feel much better about the whole thing. (Although I promise to be smart about it and not do any unnecessary wandering around after) I'm very excited about it and am looking forward to my time in Prague even more now. I'd like to thank everyone again for their advice and opinions. I'm so glad this forum exists.

Unclegus, I can tell you that the US is definitely different from Edinburgh. (I'll reserve judgement on the rest of Europe until I've seen it for myself.) I've been to Scotland a couple of times now and have always felt safer there than I do at home, although I still try to be smart and not put myself in any bad situations. I think part of it is the public transport/walking culture that exists in the UK (maybe this is also true in the rest of Europe?) I've never lived anywhere that has decent public transport (all we have is a lousy bus system that only homeless people use) so I'm used to using a car and not being out and about on the streets with other people. I believe most folks here in my hometown do the same, so the ones you see out walking around are either the people who can't afford a car or the unsavory types who don't use one. I think this contributes to the fear that I, and probably others, have of being out in a strange city. We miss the security we feel from driving to and from various places in our own car, parking in our private garage, etc. I did notice that in Edinburgh and other parts of the UK there are "regular people" riding the bus or the train, etc. and I felt comfortable doing so myself, when I wouldn't dream of riding the bus at home. So yes, it's very different and it takes some getting used to for us cautious types. :)

Posted by
335 posts

You will love your experience at the Estates Theater. We pre-walked the route from our hotel during the daytime so we knew the best way to get there and back. It was not at all scary or intimidating. ( I only wish the walk from the Civic Center stop for the SF opera was so clean and felt as safe.)

Posted by
2349 posts

Olihow, I gave up my car 11 years ago and I walk to and from work now ( around a mile), bus services are available 200 yards from my house and get me to all parts of the city very easily and cheaply (currently £54 for 4 weeks travel) we also have an hourly late night service to and from the city centre.Next month when I reach 60 years I qualify for a free pass that allows me free bus travel thoughout the whole of Scotland. Prague has an even better and cheaper public transport system than Edinburgh, plus has many more pedestrianized areas which makes it a pleasure to walk at any time of day or night.
You will love the freedom that Prague can offer you.

Posted by
110 posts

I wish my city had a system as safe and easy to use as Edinburgh. There are definitely days when I am dead tired after work and wish I didn't have to try to wake up and concentrate on driving home. I took full advantage of the nice public transport system during my time in Edinburgh and greatly enjoyed it. I look forward to doing the same in Prague now that I have a better idea of what to expect. Thank you again for all your advice and a happy early birthday to you. :)

Posted by
20 posts

may I join in with a question- also will be in Prague in May, and would like to try an opera- for the first time. I see there are two theaters mentioned- the Estates, and the National. How do you pick which to go to- by the particular opera they're performing? Location? Does it matter which? thanks

Posted by
15219 posts

The Estates Theater is the old 18th century opera house, and the National is the big "new" (19th century) opera house.

The National is a more big-name, big-production house on par with other opera houses in Europe.

The Estates Theater is smaller, about 600 seats, and quite historic. It is here that Mozart himself conducted the first production of Don Giovanni. They still do this in repertory here, and if it playing while you are there, do not miss. The cast of singers is usually voice teachers at the Czech National Conservatory and younger singers still trying to break in. Production, orchestra, dancers are all great, and the cost of a ticket is a quarter of tickets at the big houses in Vienna and Munich. With only 600 seats, there really aren't many bad ones. And they have supertitles above the stage in both Czech and English (Don Giovanni is sung in Italian), so you know what they're singing.

Posted by
505 posts

To add to this discussion - I am glad you took the leap! I was there in January and toured the Estates Theatre and attended an opera at the National. Both were wonderful experiences! Something else my daughter and I enjoyed was the "Mozart Dinner" at the Grand Hotel Bohemia. We had occasion to be with a local guide in about her 50's who has lived all her life in Prague - she mentioned casually that if we were wandering late that the Old Town was better than the New Town as a direction to head. We walked from our hotel (close to the midpoint) to the Charles Bridge at midnight and felt very safe.

Posted by
2013 posts

Nancy--I chose to see Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro at the Estates because A. I'd never seen it performed, and B. It's the last remaining theatre that he conducted his works in, so to me it was like hallowed ground, or something like that. I'm goofy that way. If you've never been to an opera then Mozart is always a good place to start, his works are delightful and amusing.

Posted by
20 posts

I'd like to add a few questions please- I joined in a few comments up! Thought that might be easier than a new thread.

-- I can also see (as Christa did) The Marriage of Figaro at the Estates. I came across a website that sells tickets, and I think it's the actual venue: vstupenky.narodni-divadlo.cz. Is it better to use that than bohemiaticket.cz- maybe that's a reseller?

-- There are tickets on the ground floor available- that's like orchestra in the U.S., correct?

-- It says that "etickets are valid only printed in format A4". I know A4 is a paper size a bit narrower and longer than 8 1/2 by 11. Are they saying that the paper needs to be exactly that size?? I kind of don't think that's what it means! Thank you-

Posted by
2349 posts

That is the main website , so no problem buying from there and you e tickets printed on american sized paper is fine don't worry.
The area you are looking at is what we call the stalls in the UK and is the main area of the theatre, fine enough seats