Libuše: An opera
by Bedřich Smetana
, finished in 1872 but first performed only in 1881 at the opening of the National Theatre in Prague
, by which time Smetana was deaf. He called it a festive
opera, and it is a great and stirring patriotic
work about the early history of the Czech
Chrudoš and Šťáhlav are two brothers disputing an inheritance. Libuše, Princess of Bohemia, arbitrates between them, but Chrudoš rejects her authority. Libuše offers to resign her crown in favour of a man if the Czech people will elect one, but they invite her to choose someone, and they will accept her husband as their prince. She chooses her friend and adviser Prince Přemysl.
In Act Two Libuše's handmaid Krasava tries to make piece between the brothers, because she loves Chrudoš but had given him false cause to be jealous of Šťáhlav.
In Act Three Prince Přemysl arrives at the castle of Vyšehrad for his marriage with Libuše and to bring peace to Bohemia. Libuše concludes with a prophetic vision of the heroes who will bring freedom to the Czech people of the future, including Jaroslav of Šternberk, Přemysl Otakar II, the Hussites, and George of Poděbrad. The whole people take up her song and the opera ends with
Český národ neskoná,
on pekla hrůzy slavně překoná!
The Czech people shall never perish,
They will resist all hell's horrors!