In 1776, the convent of Elizabethan Nuns in Prague’s New Town was commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of two events: the profession of the former Mother Superior M. Deodata a Presentatione B. V. Mariae OSE (née Anna Justina von Klausniz) and the laying of the foundation stone of the convent building. The celebrations of this dual anniversary were also reflected in the institution’s musical life. There was a performance at the convent of a congratulatory cantata with a libretto by the ex-Jesuit Rochus Elinger, and music was composed for it by the local choirmaster M. Juliana a Septem BB. Patribus OSE. On Holy Saturday, there was a performance of the sepolcro Der verlorne Sohn (The Prodigal Son), composed by Emilián Rickert OCist. from the monastery in Zbraslav. That same year, Jáchym Štěpanovský, the cantor from České Budějovice, also dedicated his works to the Mother Superior.
In June of 1892, Smetana’s Prodaná nevěsta (The Bartered Bride) was heard in Vienna for the first time as part of a guest appearance by the Czech National Theatre at the International Musical and Theatrical Exhibition. The clear success of the opera and of the performances of the National Theatre ensemble was reflected in the reviews of the Viennese critics, who were calling for German-language performances of Prodaná nevěsta on the stage of the Court Opera. On the basis of information from the archives of the Court Opera (Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv), one can document the reasons why, as it turned out, the first Viennese (and German-language) stage to produce the opera was the Theater an der Wien in April 1893, and why the premiere at the Court Opera did not occur until three years later. The study also devotes attention to the first performers for both productions of Prodaná nevěsta and to the circumstances of the two Viennese premieres, which opened up the pathway to other stages around the world after a thirty-year delay.
The collections of the Theatre Department at the National Museum in Prague contain a set of sources that allow us to see how Bohuslav Martinů participated in preparing productions of his stage works. This is a collection of the composer’s correspondence and comments on stage direction written on the occasion of the first Prague performance of the four-part opera Hry o Marii (The Plays of Mary), H 236 in 1936. The text publishes full transcripts of all of these sources with critical commentary. This involves two letters from Bohuslav Martinů addressed to Josef Munclinger, one letter from the management of the National Theatre in Prague to Bohuslav Martinů, and two lists of the composer’s comments on stage direction.
Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) and his brother Michael (1737-1806) were the most popular composers in eighteenth-century Bohemia, and their compositions have been preserved in collections in Prague, among other places. The study deals with Haydniana in the collection of Ondřej Horník (1864-1917) kept at the National Museum - Czech Museum of Music and with sacred works in particular. It notes the performances of compositions by both Haydn brothers given by the Brothers Hospitallers in Kuks, gives concrete examples of changes to instrumentation depending on changing tastes during the period, and touches on cases of doubtful authorship and practical questions concerning the manufacturing and distribution of paper. Among other things, it affirms the importance of Ondřej Horník's activity as a collector.