Prague: Cheap seats at the opera or ballet
Prague boasts a world-class music scene, with concerts, operas, and ballets performed throughout the year in the city’s famous theaters. Best of all, tickets to these events are within even a Cheapo’s reach, as they cost a fraction of the going rate in other capital cities. You may even be able to score one for under $10.
If you’re planning a trip to Prague and are a fan of the performing arts, you owe it to yourself to check out performance schedules before you arrive, as you’ll want to consider all of your options. Of course, you could wait until you arrive to book last-minute tickets, but why limit your chances of securing a good deal?
Booking your seats online in advance directly with the performance halls gives you the most options for available seats, including the super-cheap seats. Also, when researching shows, consider choosing an afternoon performance, when seats can be less than half the price of an evening show.
Prague’s main performance halls
Prague has three main venues for opera, ballet, and concerts: The National Theatre (Narodni Divadlo), the Prague State Opera, and the Estates Theatre.
Located along the Vltava River, the National Theater produces dramas, ballets, and operas, and is the most important theater in Prague. The neoclassical building, its golden rooftop gleaming, was constructed between 1868 and 1881.
The charming and regal Estates Theater was built in 1783 and produces ballets and operas. It was here that Mozart conducted his Don Giovanni in 1787, and still today the Estates produces mostly Mozart operas.
Tickets for the National and Estates: You can book tickets for both venues through the National Theater’s website. Click the “Tickets” link at the top to see the current season and check availability. Tickets are available in seven price categories. You will first need to create a free user account, before paying with a credit card or simply reserving the seats and paying for them in cash when you arrive at the theater. (Be careful: It’s so easy, in fact, that we accidentally reserved two seats for “Falstaff” in October while doing our research!)
You may also purchase tickets, without surcharge, through the Bohemia Tickets website. Tickets can be picked up at their offices in central Prague, emailed to you (for free), or they can send them to your hotel, for 200 CZK ($13).
The city’s second most important opera house, the grandiose State Opera was built in 1888 and is situated just off Wenceslas Square. Opera performances here are often crowd-pleasers by the likes of Mozart, Puccini, and Verdi, in addition to special festivities around Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The State Opera performs ten months a year, with no performances during the summer.
Booking: Book tickets in advance directly from the State Opera’s website. There you can view performance schedules and click “buy tickets” to see available seats. The State Opera sells e-tickets directly through their site. When you buy an e-ticket, there is no need to exchange your email confirmation for an actual ticket at the theater.
As with the National and Estates, you can also book, without surcharge, through “Bohemia Ticket.”
Prices for all three theaters: Ticket prices vary, but can go as low as 100 CZK ($6.50) for the cheapest (and highest) seats. First and second-tier balcony seats are often in the 300-600 CZK ($19-48) range, while the most expensive orchestra (and prime mezzanine) seats normally cost 800-1,000 CZK ($51-$64).
A note about other ticket booking sites
In researching this post, we came across many other ticket booking websites. Put simply, we would always stick to the official theater websites or to their official partner “Bohemia Tickets.” Other sites often only sell the more expensive seats (not even bothering to offer the cheapies), then tack on “handling charges” and additional delivery charges. One site that we found would either deliver the ticket to your hotel or personally greet you with the tickets at the theater (holding a sign) for about $20. Not so fast.
Have other tips for finding a cheap seat in Prague? Let us know!