This year saw the 26th edition of Thalia Awards take place on October 5 at the historical building of the National Theatre in Prague, under the auspices of the Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic. The ceremony was broadcast live at ČT 1 channel of the Czech public television.
The annual Thalia Awards are traditionally presented in four categories – drama, opera, dance, and musical and operetta – for outstanding performances on the stage. Each category acknowledges women’s and men’s performances, which are judged by professional juries appointed by the Actors’ Association board. The Thalia Award can go to foreign artists who perform in Czech theatres as well.
This year also featured the fifth category, covering outstanding performances in alternative and puppet theatre. However, there will be only one award every year.
Professional juries decide about long-listed nominations, which are announced, as well as short-list nominations with three artists in each traditional category making it to the finals. The new category of alternative and puppet theatre includes five artists altogether. Making the decision about awards for outstanding performances is now assigned solely to professional juries.
The head of the drama jury is Jana Paterová, the chair of the opera jury is Zbyněk Brabec, the dance jury is supervised by Roman Vašek, the musical and operetta jury is led by Zdeněk Barták, and Kateřina Lešková Dolenská chairs the newly established jury for alternative and puppet theatre.
Apart from outstanding performance, the ceremony also includes the Czech Academy of Theatremakers Award, related to outstanding merits to Czech art of theatre in all genres. The first award winner is the playwright, scriptwriter, actor and expert in Cimrman Zdeněk Svěrák. The other award is traditionally handed out by the Presidium for lifetime achievement. This year saw two awards in drama and one award in opera, dance, musical and operetta. This year’s laureates are Ladislav Mrkvička from the National Theatre drama in Prague, Helena Kružíková from the National Theatre in Brno, opera singers Gabriela Beňačková, Věra Vlková, soloist emerita in the Music Theatre in Karlín, and Zdenka Kratochvílová, the founder of the legendary pantomime of the Theatre on the Balustrade. The Thalia Award for spreading the art of theatre on TV was handed out as well and went to the Czech Television producer and dramaturg Ondřej Šrámek.
This year’s Thalia Award for outstanding performances went to Lucie Trmíková from the Jedl Theatre Company in Prague for her role of Anna in Bergman’s Bergman on Bergman and Viktor Dvořák from the Prague City Theatres for the role of Louis Aronson in Kushner’s Angels in America. Kateřina Kněžíková was awarded in the opera category for the main role in Bohuslav Martinů’s Julietta at the National Moravian Silesian Theatre in Ostrava, and Ondřej Koplík for Don Ramiro in Rossini’s Cinderella at the F. X. Šalda Theatre in Liberec. Thalia Awards in the musical and operetta category went to Martina Šnytová for Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter’s musical Anything Goes at the National Moravian Silesian Theatre in Ostrava and Vojtěch Dyk for the dual role of Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in Brzobohatý’s musical Holmes, the Legend at the Karlín Music Theatre in Prague. Alina Nanu from the National Theatre in Prague received the award in the ballet category for the character of Lisa in Ashton’s choreography of Hérold’s The Wayward Daughter and Dominik Vodička from the Prague Chamber Ballet for his role of The Man in Petr Zuska’s choreography of The Bouquet with music composed by Ondřej Brousek. It was for the first time this year when then award was handed out in the category of alternative and puppet theatre, which went to Milan Hajn from the Drak Theatre in Hradec Králové for the main role in London’s novel White Fang.