The Makropulos Affair

opera in three acts
performed in Czech (the performance will have synchronised Russian supertitles)


Music by Leoš Janáček
Libretto by the composer, after Karel Čapek's comedy

Director: Graham Vick
Set Designer: Richard Hudson
Original Light: Adam Silverman
Light: Giuseppe Di Iorio
Musical Preparation: Irina Soboleva
Principal Chorus Master: Andrei Petrenko
Czech Language Coach: Vsevolod Moskvin


Hieronymus Makropoulos, Emperor Rudolf II’s personal physician, has prepared an elixir for the monarch that will extend his life and his youth for three hundred years. But the Emperor decrees that the physician first try out the elixir on his daughter Elina. Elina Makropoulos thus becomes immortal. But as the three hundred years come to an end, the effect of the potion wears off and to continue to live she must drink yet more. But Elina’s lover, Baron Ferdinand Prus, took the recipe for the elixir from Elina and failed to return it. And so, at the age of three hundred and twenty seven and under the name of the singer Emilia Marty, Elina Makropoulos wages battle to win the inheritance alongside her great-grandson Albert Gregor and Baron Jaroslav Prus by trying to gain access to the archives held at the Prus family estate. As a result of her scheming, Prus’ son Janek commits suicide. Elina is unmasked and, having told the story of her incredibly long life, she hands over the recipe for eternal youth to Kristina, Janek’s young beloved. Without any regrets Kristina burns the document, now yellow with age.

Listen to a soundbite

World premiere: 18 December 1926, The National Theatre in Brno
Premiere at the Mariinsky Theatre: 23 October 2010

Performance running time: 2 hours 45 minutes
The performance has two intermissions

Age category: 16+
The Makropulos Affair
on the playbill
12 March 2019, 19:00
30 April 2019, 19:00
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The highlighting of performances by age represents recommendations.

This highlighting is being used in accordance with Federal Law N139-FZ dated 28 July 2012 “On the introduction of changes to the Federal Law ‘On the protection of children from information that may be harmful to their health and development’ and other legislative acts of the Russian Federation.”

From the overture to Leoš Janáček’s opera Vĕc Makropulos (The Makropulos Affair). Performed by the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra. Conductor: Mikhail Tatarnikov. Recorded on 16 July 2010.