Smetana’s Litomyšl Festival

The Smetana’s Litomyšl festival is the second oldest music festival in the Czech Republic, and at the same time it is among the largest regular classical music festivals held in the country.

It mainly features opera performances and concerts, as well as gala concerts, oratorios, cantatas and song evenings; that is forms in which vocal artistry dominates. However symphonic, instrumental and chamber music are not ignored and in the venues here there are ballet performances and church music as well as promenade concerts and other genres. Every year at the festival practically all the top Czech interpreters perform, the three national theatres, all the significant orchestras and choirs and the best conductors, soloists and instrumentalists. And even though there are many significant foreign guests (among others Katia Ricciarelli, Sherill Milnes, Bernd Weikl, Kurt Rydl, Sergej Larin, Neil Shicoff, Torsten Kerl, Sumi Jo, Kate Royal, Marcello Giordani, Thomas Hampson, Oksana Dyka ...) Smetana’s Litomyšl has retained its Czech character and so is truly a national festival.

The centre of the festival is the wonderful Litomyšl State Castle, which in 1999 was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The main events are held mostly in the acoustically excellently prepared second courtyard with its unique retractable roof, as well as in the castle riding hall, in Litomyšl’s churches, in the Smetana Hall and regularly in selected places in the Pardubice region.

A visit to Smetana’s Litomyšl is no ordinary occasion, as aside from the interesting dramaturgy and the brilliant performances it offers a chance to stay away from the metropolitan hustle and bustle in a place with its own unique spirit.

Organisers: The town of Litomyšl and the Pardubice Region together with the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage Institute, Litomyšl State Castle and the Bohemian Heritage Fund.

Responsible organisation: Smetanova Litomyšl, o.p.s.

Year of founding: 1946

Dates: annually for a period of about 25 days at the end of June and beginning of July

Venue of the festival events::

  • Litomyšl State Castle – 2nd courtyard with retractable roof (capacity up to 1299 places, depending on type of event)
  • Castle Riding Hall (capacity of up to 350 places)
  • Piarist Church of the Finding of the Holy Cross (capacity of up to 700 places)
  • Capitular Church of the Raising of the Holy Cross (capacity of up to 480 places)
  • Smetana Hall (capacity 487 places)
  • And other places in Litomyšl and towns in the Pardubice Region

The Smetana’s Litomyšl International Opera Festival is a member of the Association of Music Festivals of the Czech Republic.