‹ Back to What's On The Makropulos Case

11 Aug - 22 Nov 2012

Leoš Janáček (1926)

Who Wants to Live Forever?
New production

Do you wish for immortality? Even if your endless life would be one without love?

When the celebrated opera diva Emilia Marty reveals the whereabouts of the lost will of Baron Jaroslav Prus, it seems as the long lasting squabbling over Prus’ vast estate might finally be resolved. But when Marty reveals an uncanny knowledge of events long gone and exerts an inexplicable power over the men surrounding her, it soon emerges that the enigmatic singer has secrets of her own.

Based on Karel Čapek’s eponymous absurd comedy, Janáček’s penultimate opera is a mystery thriller about desire and eternal life. Tackling the big questions of love, life and death, it keeps its audience guessing until the gripping end. Written in Janáček’s creative period alongside masterworks like Katya Kabanova and The Cunning Little Vixen, The Makropulos Case is often described as featuring the most transcendent music of all 20th century operas and contains some of the composer’s most radiant, life-affirming music.

Richard Farnes conducts this new production by acclaimed director Tom Cairns, which opens the 2012 Edinburgh International Festival. 

Sung in English with English titles

Lasts approximately 2 hours  

What the critics say

Tom Cairns's new staging for Opera North, presented in a 1950s setting designed by Hildegard Bechtler, is cool and lucid and refreshingly untricksy.....the evening's star is Richard Farnes, who conducts his orchestra with a finely judged sense of the work's febrile modernist edge and urban restlessness: under his electrifying baton, the music reaches a white heat of intensity without blasting the singers or losing the plot.

The Daily Telegraph - Full Review ›

Kihlberg is [...] exceptionally fine. She's particularly good at the panic behind the poise. Her voice blazes in sensual defiance against the physical weariness eating her away.....Richard Farnes's conducting, which is superb in its passion, elation and drive throughout

The Guardian - Full Review ›

There was no lack of fire or inspiration in Richard Farnes’s conducting of Janácek at the Festival Theatre on Saturday....Opera North’s music director let the music blaze, maintaining a flawless balance between its tensile pulse and lyrical glow.

The Financial Times - Full Review ›

let’s savour this too rarely performed 1920s black comedy, especially when conducted and played with as much raw energy as Richard Farnes and his Opera North orchestra deliver.

The Times - Full Review ›



  • Emilia Marty Ylva Kihlberg
  • Albert Gregor Paul Nilon
  • Vítek Mark Le Brocq
  • Kristina Stephanie Corley
  • Jaroslav Prus Robert Hayward
  • Janek Adrian Dwyer
  • Dr Kolenatý James Creswell
  • Technician Matthew Hargreaves
  • Cleaning Woman Sarah Pring
  • Hauk-Šendorf Nigel Robson
  • Chambermaid Rebecca Afonwy Jones
Creative Team
  • Conductor Richard Farnes
  • Director Tom Cairns
  • Set and Costume Designer Hildegard Bechtler
  • Lighting Designer Bruno Poet

Click on the venue below to plan your visit.


Find Us

3/29 Nicolson Street

Important Information

On Foot:

(From Princes Street) The Festival Theatre is on Nicolson Street, which is the continuation of North Bridge heading south from the east end of Princes Street (the Balmoral Hotel is on the corner of Princes Street and North Bridge). The theatre is on the right hand side of the road; approximately 10 minutes walk from the east end of Princes Street.

By Rail:

The nearest rail station to the Festival Theatre is Waverley Station.

By Bus:

The Festival Theatre is accessible by many different bus routes across the city. The main Lothian bus routes which serve the Festival Theatre are: numbers 2, 3, 3A, 5, 7, 8, 14, 21, 29, 31, 33, 37, 37A, 42 and 49.

By Road:

The Festival Theatre is on Nicolson Street, which is the continuation of North Bridge heading south from Princes Street. There are on-going roadworks in preparation for the introduction of trams, so for up to date information please checkwww.edinburgh.gov.uk/internet/Transport or AA Route Planner

Car Parking:

There is limited street parking around the Festival Theatre. There is small car park located about 5 minutes walk from the theatre on Niddry Street (7.00am - 11.00pm, 7 days). For further car park information visit Central Car Parks

Leeds Grand Theatre

Find Us

46 New Briggate
Leeds Grand Theatre

Important Information

Box Office: 0844 848 2720 (calls cost 7ppm)

  • To access the Grand Theatre, there are six steps from the street up to the foyer or a wheelchair lift from the Grand Theatre Box Office to the foyer, and then lift access to the rest of the auditorium (excluding the Upper Balcony). Some areas of the auditorium do have steep stairs and may not be suitable for people with limited mobility. Please check with the Box Office. 
  • There are 6 wheelchair spaces: four in the Stalls and two in the Dress Circle.
  • There are accessible toilets at Stalls and Dress Circle levels. 
  • There is an infra-red system in operation for sound amplification. Headsets are available from the Grand Theatre foyer for a £5 refundable deposit. Please ask Box Office staff when booking for advice on the best seats to use this service. 
  • Support dogs are welcome in the auditorium and can be looked after on request. 
  • For refreshments, there are bars at Stalls, Upper Circle and Balcony levels.  

Choose from these fantastic pre-theatre dining options and make your experience complete!

The Alchemist

Opera North ticket holders can enjoy 20% off their food bill at The Alchemist. Located on the second floor of Trinity Shopping Centre, The Alchemist offers a fantastic menu and stunning views of Leeds City Centre. Not available Saturdays. 

Download Menu | Book online 


Manahatta is a recently opened bar and kitchen located on Merrion Street, just a minute's walk from Leeds Grand Theatre. Serving a fantastic New York inspired menu made with fresh local produce, guests will receive 20% off their food bill before 6.15pm with proof of ticket. Booking is required. 

Download Menu | Book online

North Bar

Opera North and Howard Assembly Room ticket holders can enjoy 10% off all drinks at New Briggate's finest craft beer hotspot — North Bar, just a stone's throw from Leeds Grand Theatre. 

Find out more 


Enjoy 15% off all food and drink at authentic Italian wine bar Veeno (Leeds branch only) on presentation of ticket for an Opera North performance. Excludes Fridays and Saturdays after 5.00pm. 

Download Menu | Book a table 

Veritas Ale & Wine Bar

Enjoy a special pre-opera meal at Veritas Ale & Wine Bar. Just a 5-10 minute walk from Leeds Grand Theatre, choose either two courses for £13.95 (£17.50 with a 175ml house wine) or three courses for £15.95 (£19.50 with a 175ml house wine). Available 5.00-6.30pm. Booking is required.

Download Menu | Book via email or call 0113 242 8094 and quote 'pre-opera menu'

Brasserie Blanc

Sample the fabulous pre-theatre menu at Brasserie Blanc and choose from two courses for £11.95 or three courses for £15.45, with a complimentary glass of fizz for Opera North ticket holders. Located just a 10 minute walk from the Leeds Grand Theatre. Available 12.00-6.30pm, Monday-Saturday. 

Download Menu | Book online or call 0113 220 6060

The Reliance

Just a 5 minute walk from Leeds Grand Theatre, The Reliance bar and dining room offers a fantastic pre-theatre menu. Choose from two courses for £14.45 or three courses for £18.90. Available 5.30-6.30pm, Monday-Saturday.

Download Menu

Salford Quays

Find Us

Pier 8
Salford Quays
M50 3AZ

Important Information

Box office: 0843 208 6000 

There is a passenger drop-off point immediately in front of The Lowry. Secure parking is available in The Lowry Outlet Mall multi-storey car park. There are designated areas for disabled parking on every level. 

The Lowry is accessible by train, tram and bus. http://www.tfgm.com/

From national railway stations, Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria you can travel to The Lowry by Metrolink tram. You can board an Eccles line tram and should alight at Harbour City, or Media City UK for trams which stop there, as this is slightly closer.

More info: http://www.thelowry.com/plan-your-visit/getting-here/


Find Us

100 Grey Street

Important Information

Box office: 08448 112121


Free Parking in all City Council multi-storey carparks after 5pm.

The two closest car parks to Theatre Royal are the Oxford Street multi-storey (just behind the Laing) and the Dean Street multi-storey. Click here for more info.

There are two parking spaces for blue badge holders on Shakespeare Street and three on Hood Street. Most parking meters are free to Blue Badge Holders.


Alight at Monument Metro Station and follow the signs for the Theatre Royal. We are less than one minutes walk from the Metro entrance on Grey Street.

Travel free on the Metro with your theatre ticket (up to two hours before and after the performance) - simply retain your theatre ticket for inspection by Metro Staff.


The Theatre Royal is only ten minutes walk from Newcastle Central Station.


Find Us

Theatre Square

Important Information

Box Office: 0115 989 5555

Find access details for Nottingham Theatre Royal

By Car

Follow signs for the city centre and the 'Royal Zone'. Nearest car parks are Talbot Street car park and Crowne Plaza Hotel car park on Wollaton Street.
For maps and information about on-street parking, off-street car parks, park and ride and the blue badge scheme please visit Parking In Nottingham

By Bus

For bus times call Nottingham City Transport on 0115 950 6070, Traveline on 0871 200 2233 or visit www.travelineeastmidlands.co.uk   Find out about our £1 return bus ticket here.

By Tram

 The 'Royal Centre' tram stop is directly outside the venue and runs every 10 minutes until midnight. There are five Park and Ride sites along the route. Visit www.thetram.net or call 0115 942 7777 for full details of the tram route. Find out about our £1 return tram ticket here.

By Rail

Nottingham Station is a 15 minute walk or a short taxi or tram ride from the venue. Call 0845 748 4950 or www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times and fares. 


Discover exciting pre-theatre dining options for Nottingham Theatre Royal

What you say

Comment from Simon Smith


Simon Smith said ago

Went to see the performance in Leeds on 27th October, with my wife and mother. Like many in the audience, this was the first time I'd seen, or listened to this opera. All three of us were impressed by the quality of the singing, orchestral playing and the acting (always a strength with this company). The set was ingenious, and the tension and drama kept us gripped throughout. And what a star in Ylva Kihlberg - very compelling.

Comment from Max Page


Max Page said ago

First time I've seen this opera and was totally blown away by the performance. Excellently sung and with an exceptional orchestra performance (even by Opera North standards) this is a show not to be missed.

Comment from Guest


Guest said ago

This is more like it. A splendid opera not performed often enough, presented with verve, humour and gorgeous singing and playing. This is what Opera North is so good at. The casting was brilliant and the pathos nicely judged. This has to be an operatic high spot of the year.

Comment from Per Ahlander


Per Ahlander said ago

I attended the opening performance at Edinburgh International Festival. I was already familiar with the music from the wonderful Söderström/Mackerras recording, but I had never seen it staged before, and I liked the entire production very much - both visually and musically. Just missed the sound of the Czech language a bit, but it is of course also good to be able to follow the story word by word without having to look at the surtitles.

Leave a comment

Restaurant Deals


Enjoy 20% off your bill at Sandinista (Cross Belgrave Street - New Briggate) on presentation of your Opera North ticket when placing your food order. To book a table call 0113 305 0372. Food is served till 10pm through the week with final orders at 9pm Friday and Saturday. Only valid on the day of the performance your ticket is for. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer.


Why not make a night of it and enjoy a pre-show meal at The Lowry Restaurant? You can have your theatre programmes delivered to your table, pre-order your interval drinks or return for dessert and coffee during the interval. Call 0161 876 2121 to reserve your table.


Enjoy a two course pre-theatre meal at Pasqualino’s for just £15.50 or £13 for Friends. Available 5.30pm. Call the Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 to book.

Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. T&Cs apply.


Book your pre-show meal at Strada Italian Restaurant and get 2 for 1 on any main course upon presentation of an Opera North brochure.

The Corner House, Trinity Row, Nottingham, NG1 4DP0115 947 5009 www.strada.co.ukValid 20 – 24 November 5.00pm – 11.00pm. Up to 4 people per table.

Not valid in conjunction with any other offer, lunch menu or set menu. Valid at Strada Nottingham.

Did You Know?

Richard Versalle died after an accident on stage during a performance of The Makropulos Case at the Metropolitan Opera. Versalle, who was singing the role of Vitek, fell 10 feet from a sliding ladder just after he sang the words "Too bad you can only live so long". MET officials initially reported that he died of a heart attack.

Season Tickets

Full information can be found here.

On sale dates for Leeds Grand Theatre

Booking for fixed subscriptions opens on 28 May and booking for multibuy ticket packages opens on 18 June. Priority booking for Friends of Opera North and Groups opens on 9 July.

All tickets will be on public sale on 16 July 2012. 

On sale dates for The Lowry 
Booking for multibuy ticket packages opens on 14 June. Priority booking for Friends of Opera North and My Lowry opens on 28 June.

All tickets will be on public sale on 5 July 2012.

On sale dates for Theatre Royal Nottingham
Booking for multibuy ticket packages opens on 11 June. Priority booking for Friends of Opera North opens on 25 June.

All tickets will be on public sale on 2 July 2012.

Access Performances

This Autumn selected performances of The Makropulos Case will be audio-described (by Vocaleyes including a free touch tour).

Audio-described performances by Vocaleyes

  • Leeds Grand Theatre             
    Fri 2 Nov, 7.30pm (Touch tour starts at 6:15pm)
  • The Lowry, Salford Quays   
    Thu 8 Nov, 7.30pm (Touch tour starts at 6:15pm)
  • Theatre Royal Newcastle      
    Thu 15 Nov, 7.30pm (Touch tour starts at 6:15pm)
  • Theatre Royal Nottingham   
    Thu 22 Nov, 7.30pm (Touch tour starts at: 6:15pm)

For more information, to book for Leeds performances, to join our free mailing list or to discuss your requirements, please contact Eloise Williamson on 0113 22 33 590 or email eloise.williamson@operanorth.co.uk.


All discounts are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time. Discounts cannot be used retrospectively. Only one discount per ticket. Proof of eligibility must be shown.


All week

  • Multibuy Packages: 10% off when you book 3-4 operas; 15% off when you book 5-6 operas. With each package comes a £15 voucher if booked online or a £10 voucher if booked by phone, post or in person.  Full details here
  • Income Support, Pension Credit, JSA: £10 best available excl. Dress Circle
  • Disabled people: 25% off (essential carer free)
  • Family ticket: 50% off for up to four 18/under with each adult ticket
  • Groups of 10+: 20% off plus one free seat for the organiser
  • Visually impaired people: £13.50 tickets reserved in the most appropriate area for the audio-described performance

On the Day

  • Up to 50 £10 tickets available in the Upper Balcony.

Tuesday – Friday

  • Retired over 60: £3 off, excl. £15 tickets
  • Leeds Card holders: £3 off, excl. £15 tickets
  • Under 26 and full time students: £10 best available excl. Dress Circle


No concessions on £16 tickets

All week

  • Multibuy Packages: 15% off when you book 3-4 operas; 20% off when you book 5-6 operas. Full details here
  • Groups of 10 or more: £4 off per ticket. No booking fee.Where over half the group is entitled to concessions: £4 off per ticket plus 1 in 10 free.
  • Essential companions for disabled visitors are entitled to a free seat. Contact Box Office for details.
  • Family ticket: 50% off for up to four under 16s with each adult ticket.

Tuesday – Friday

  • Over 60s, Disabled people, JSA, New Deal, Pension Credit: £3 off
  • Full time students: £10 Stalls tickets with ID.
  • Visually impaired people: £15 tickets reserved in the most appropriate area for the audio-described performance. No booking fee.


All week

  • Multibuy Packages: 10% off when you book 3-4 operas; 15% off when you book 5-7 operas. Full details here
  • Friends of Theatre Royal: 20% off
  • Companion: One free ticket for the companion of a disabled person who is not able to attend the event unaccompanied. To be eligible you produce one of the following as validation of status: A letter confirming receipt of Disability Living Allowance; a Local Authority Mobility Card/Pass; a Disabled Person’s Railcard; a Local Authority Registration Card for Visual Impairment or certificate or a Doctor’s note (valid for 6 months).

Tuesday – Thursday (Excluding Gallery Seats)

  • Group bookings:
    • 10 or more: £2 off
    • 20 or more: £2.50 off + 1 free ticket
    • 40 or more: £3.50 off + 1 free ticket + 1 free programme
    • 100 or more: £4.50 off
  • Standby: half price from 2 hours before the start of the performance in the Upper Circle/Amphitheatre/Gallery subject to availability.
  • Visually impaired people: £2 off and one free ticket for an Assistant if unable to attend unaccompanied, for the Audio-described performance. 


All week

  • Multibuy Packages: 10% off when you book 3-4 operas; 15% off when you book 5-6 operas. Full details here
  • Group bookings: 20% off for groups of 8 or more
  • Disabled people: 50% off for patron and essential companion in Stalls
  • Standby tickets: Under 26s £7.50 in Stalls. Concession holders half price. Available from 6.00pm on the day. Subject to availability. Max 2 per person.

Tuesday – Friday Excl. Balcony Seats

  • Retired over 60: 10% off
  • Under 18s: 50% off
  • Registered unwaged: 50% off
  • Full time student: £10 stalls
  • School Groups: 50% off in the Balcony for 10+One free teacher place per 20 pupils booked.
  • Visually impaired people: 50% off in the Stalls for the Audio-described performance. 


  • Multibuy: Buy seats for Friday or Saturday and get 25% off tickets for Wednesday or Thursday performances (equivalent number of tickets)
  • Friends: 10% off Wednesday/Thursday evenings
  • Groups: Every 11th seat free (the free seat will be the cheapest purchased). Plus: groups of 8+ will get £1 off per seat; groups of 16+ £2 off per seat
  • Schools/Colleges: 1 free teacher for every 10 pupils booked
  • Standby: from 6pm on day of performance half price for senior citizens and unemployed people; £10 tickets for students
  • Access policy: a free companion seat for customers with disabilities who require assistance.