|The paper is based on an empirical sociological survey which was completed in autumn 2001. It focused on the musical taste or preferences and musical activities of the section of the population of the Czech Republic aged between 18 and 75 years. 1,056 questionnaires altogether were collected by a specialised research company, providing a safe representative sample of the total population (more than 8 million) of the country. Of the results achieved so far, the most striking is the prominent position which the musical has attained among audiences over the last decade. In fact, the musical is the most important musical phenomenon of the 1990s in the Czech Republic. Before 1989, when musical life was controlled by the state, it played only a marginal role. An infrastructure has been established for the music business. Largely centralised in the capital, networks of specialist agencies, theatres, and stars, recruiting mostly from the sphere of rock and pop, have quickly become established. If we focus on the reception of genres of music theatre, we can summarize by stating that the musical is supported by 54%, the operetta by 33%, and the opera by 23% of the population. The data available suggest that opera has become an increasingly exclusive social institution over the last two decades. It raises the question whether there is a connection between the decrease in popularity of the opera and the increase in the role of the musical. It is rather plausible to read the data as supporting evidence for a hypothesis that the musical is in part a replacement for the opera in the generation aged between 30 and 59. Opera remains popular only among people aged over 60.