Although one of the incredibly popular things to do in Prague, this little puppet theatre version of Don Giovanni is both surreal and wonderful. Set in a miniature theatre, behind which the incredibly skilled puppeteers lean over, and gracefully manipulate a cast of puppets in eighteenth century dress, with Mozart at the front of the stage conducing an imaginary orchestra pit, becoming increasingly drunk and sweaty throughout.
It’s hard to describe and really has to be seen to be believed, but the dramatic overtones of the Don Giovanni opera score, written at a turbulent time in Mozart’s career after the death of his father, as he fell into terrifying debt and alcoholism, are somehow perfectly suited to this slightly bawdy doll-size performance.
In fact the opera was originally written for Prague and he personally conducted its world first performance in 1787 at the Prague Estates Theatre (Stavovské Theatre), at a time when opera was not revered in quite the same way as it is today, but was seen more as a revelous drunken spectacle, which is exactly what this puppet show captures.
Note: if you want the best seats in the tiny house, the men on the door take bribes.