Vanda (opera)
Vanda is a grand opera
Grand Opera
Grand opera is a genre of 19th-century opera generally in four or five acts, characterised by large-scale casts and orchestras, and lavish and spectacular design and stage effects, normally with plots based on or around dramatic historic events...

 in five acts by Antonín Dvořák
Antonín Dvorák
Antonín Leopold Dvořák was a Czech composer of late Romantic music, who employed the idioms of the folk music of Moravia and his native Bohemia. Dvořák’s own style is sometimes called "romantic-classicist synthesis". His works include symphonic, choral and chamber music, concerti, operas and many...

. The Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

A libretto is the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata, or musical. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass, requiem, and sacred cantata, or even the story line of a...

 was written by Václav Beneš-Šumavský and František Zákrejs after a work by Julian Surzycki.

Performance history

The opera was first performed in Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

 at the Provisional Theatre on 17 April 1876.


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, April 17, 1876
(Conductor: Adolf Cech )
Vanda, the Polish queen soprano
A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...

Marie Zofie Sittová
Bozena mezzo-soprano
A mezzo-soprano is a type of classical female singing voice whose range lies between the soprano and the contralto singing voices, usually extending from the A below middle C to the A two octaves above...

Ema Maislerová-Saková
Homena contralto
Contralto is the deepest female classical singing voice, with the lowest tessitura, falling between tenor and mezzo-soprano. It typically ranges between the F below middle C to the second G above middle C , although at the extremes some voices can reach the E below middle C or the second B above...

Betty Fibichová
Betty Fibichová
Betty Fibichová was a Czechoslovak opera singer and the wife of composer Zdeněk Fibich. The greatest Czech operatic contralto of her day, she enjoyed close artistic partnerships with both Antonín Dvořák and Bedřich Smetana in addition to collaborating frequently with her husband.-Biography:Born...

Lumir baritone
Baritone is a type of male singing voice that lies between the bass and tenor voices. It is the most common male voice. Originally from the Greek , meaning deep sounding, music for this voice is typically written in the range from the second F below middle C to the F above middle C Baritone (or...

Leopold Stropnicky
Roderik, a German prince baritone Josef Lev
Slavoj tenor
The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice within the modal register. The typical tenor voice lies between C3, the C one octave below middle C, to the A above middle C in choral music, and up to high C in solo work. The low extreme for tenors is roughly B2...

Antonín Vávra
Velislav tenor Josef Smaha
Vserad tenor Josef Chrammosta
Vitomír tenor Ferdinand Koubek
Messenger tenor Jan Sára
Herald tenor Petr Doubravsky
High priest bass Karel Cech


The story is about the Polish queen who drowns herself in the Vistula in order to save her people from the German invaders.


  • Amadeus Almanac, accessed 4 November 2008
  • Vanda by Jan Smaczny, in 'The New Grove Dictionary of Opera
    New Grove Dictionary of Opera
    The New Grove Dictionary of Opera is an encyclopedia of opera, considered to be one of the best general reference sources on the subject. It is the largest work on opera in English, and in its printed form, amounts to 5,448 pages in four volumes....

    ', ed. Stanley Sadie (London, 1992) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
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