The Death of Vlasta (Vlasta) (opera), B440

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In the latter half of the 1890s Dvorak came by Karel Pippich’s libretto The Death of Vlasta, which treated a theme from Czech mythology and was previously entered for a competition announced by the National Theatre for a Czech opera libretto. In the early 1880s the text had already been offered to Bedrich Smetana and later also to Zdenek Fibich, but neither of them wanted to use it for a musical setting. Dvorak had perhaps initially taken a greater interest in the libretto since he had noted down several thematic ideas and marked them “Chorus of maidens fallen on the battlefield”, “Vlasta”, “Devin”, “Premysl” and so on; however, he did not get any further with the composition. Dvorak possibly considered treating this theme later on, after finishing his Rusalka. Yet, by this time, Otakar Ostrcil had already written an opera to the same text, which may have been the reason Dvorak finally abandoned the idea.