“Great, greetings from New York.” “The recital was beautiful. It gave me a lot of strength for the upcoming days. Thank you for a beautiful experience.” From reactions of the audience of the Jan Bartoš Recital live stream.
This year of the prestigious opera and music festival Janáček Brno had to adjust to the current complicated situation related to the spread of COVID-19. Still the festival took place from 28 September to 16 October in Brno and was a great success since we managed to do everything in our power to maintain the programme focused on the artistic turmoil at the turn of the 19th and 20th century and the search for new ways of musical expression in opera and instrumental works.
“Thank you very much for your flexibility and the offer of a “substitute” performance that will be a completely equal experience concerning the repertoire and performers! Best of luck and once again thank you to NdB for how amazingly they are coping with the current harakiri.” From reactions of the festival audience.
The first festival week (28 September – 4 October) passed with only minor changes of the programme; the Janáček Brno festival was very successfully opened with the opera Destiny directed by the world-renowned Robert Carsen. The exceptional premiere was visited by many Czech and foreign guests and journalists.
“In any case, the premiere of “Destiny” had an almost fateful effect. At his debut in the Czech Republic, director Robert Carsen created an emotionally exciting experience by skilful direction.” MDR Kultur – das Radio / LFH Dresden, Michael Ernst.
Moreover, the festival offered a number of exceptional concert productions, be it the concert of the Zemlinsky Quartet, Arnold Schoenberg Chor and other top performers.
“The Zemlinsky Quartet concert was great, the Löw-Beer Villa is impressive.” Online Merker, Robert Quitta.
“Arnold Schoenberg Chor has performed a great and professional vocal concert by one of the most internationally acclaimed choral ensembles of today with a very well elaborated dramaturgy programme.” Mundoclasico.com, Robert Ferrer.
The end of the week was dominated by Jenůfa of the Janáček Opera of the National Theatre Brno with an exceptional guest, the world-famous soprano Karita Mattila.
“Mattila does not play a role, she dwells in it. Her agony was tangible and her desperation was like a flame that kept growing until it brought her to the unthinkable.” Bachtrack, Frank Kuznik
In the week starting on 5 October, due to further measures to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, the festival continued with some changes to the programme. The majority of festival events were maintained, either by programme modification or by new concert dates. It is obvious that the overall situation related to the measures concerning the spread of COVID-19 had a great impact on the Janáček Brno festival, including the concert series since several programmes were built on the vocal element. Yet the dramaturgy was adjusted to remain attractive and interesting and within the context of the original festival programme concept.
“Since spring, I have admired your strong will and the ability to adjust to any – even impossible – conditions. And today I also must immediately congratulate you to the beautiful programme of the substitute (sic!) evening at the Janáček Theatre.” Ludmila Němcová, Director of the Leoš Janáček Foundation.
The production of the opera Salome, which could not be performed as a result of the government measures, was substituted with a great audience success by an exceptional concert of the Orchestra of the Janáček Opera of the National Theatre Brno on 10 October 2020 at the Janáček Theatre.
“The result was half chilly, half elevating.” Klasika plus, Jindřiška Bártová.
In the week from 12 October, based on the currently announced government measures, the festival had to restrict all events for audience in concert halls; however, the programme was substituted with live streams of the concerts scheduled for this year’s festival and recordings of significant events of the previous festivals so that every festival day offered an attractive production. Thus the festival accommodated audience not only in the Czech Republic but also abroad. The final concert of the Bamberg Symphony on 16 October also took place in the form of a live stream from the concert hall in Bamberg to the website of the Janáček Brno festival.
“I am happy that in spite of the adverse circumstances, we have managed to organize a virtual live stream of the concert, unchanged.” Jakub Hrůša, conductor.
Thus the festival website turned into a very strong platform. There were more than 100,000 visitors to the festival website www.janacek-brno.cz from more than a hundred different countries. The festival live streams were watched by people in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Mexico, Italy, Hungary, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Great Britain, USA, Poland and other countries.
Some of the performances of the Janáček Brno 2020 festival were rescheduled to November and December of this year; one of the performances will be shown as a live stream.
List of rescheduled performances of the Janáček Brno 2020 festival:
17 November 2020 – Brno Children Choir, Reduta Theatre
18 November 2020 – Church Songs from Znorovy – folklore concert, Red Church
25 November 2020 – Tomáš Král and Matan Porat Recital (to be shown as a live stream)
28 and 29 November – Destiny, Janáček Opera of the National Theatre Brno, Janáček Theatre
19 December 2020 – Concert of the Prague Philharmonic Choir, Besední dům
The Greek Passion, Janáček Opera of the National Theatre Brno – we are currently looking for a date of performance at the Janáček Theatre
Pavol Breslik and Róbert Pechanec Recital – we are currently looking for a date of performance at the Reduta Theatre
Detailed information about the festival is available at www.janacek-brno.cz
The main festival organizer is the National Theatre Brno.
The festival has been organized with the financial support of the Statutory City of Brno, the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, the Leoš Janáček Foundation and the Region of South Moravia. Bohemian Heritage Fund is a general partner of the festival. The main festival partner is VARS BRNO a.s. The main media partner of the festival is the Czech Television. Partners of the festival are the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno, Masaryk University, Moravian Museum, Brno Tourist Information Centre, Tourist Authority of South Moravia, Brno City Museum and AZ SERVIS, a.s.
The festival was held under the patronage of:
Lubomír Zaorálek, Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic
Bohumil Šimek, Governor of the South Moravia Region
Markéta Vaňková, Mayor of the Statutory City of Brno
Nick Archer, Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Czech Republic
Miklós Boros, Ambassador of Hungary to the Czech Republic
Christoph Israng, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Czech Republic