Performed in the original French with Czech and English subtitles
Czech premiere 24th March 2017, Janáček Theatre
Our tender words drift from shore to shore...
Experience the story of a nobleman from Blaye who hears of a Princess from Tripoli. He falls deeply in love with her and sets out on a long journey just to set eyes on her... The troubadour Jaufré Rudel, a nobleman from Blaye, was a real figure from the 12th century, whose amorous infatuations were captured in his songs. He perfected the concept of love from afar, which the opera took as its title and which is reflected in its content. “To dream about the form and intensity of love with the realization that it will not become a reality – that is the basis of Rudel’s poetry,” said the librettist Amin Maalouf. The opera’s musical language was greatly inspired by medieval and Arabic music and uses unusual sound effects. For example, the chorus is partly used as an instrumental element of the orchestra. The renowned Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho (*1952) was commissioned to write it by the Salzburg Festival in 2000. In 2003 it was awarded the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. Since that time it has been performed in many of the leading European opera houses. In December 2016 it will be performed for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The Janáček Opera is proud to give L’amour de loin its first performance in the Czech Republic.
Marko Ivanović, the principal conductor of the Janáček Opera NTB, whose opera Enchantia (based on Gerald Durrell's novel The Talking Parcel) is one of the most successful new works to be shown on the Brno stage, said that: "It is interesting to look at the score of L'amour de loin, one of the most important operas of the 21st century, through the eyes of a composer. For me, the score is musically pure and clear, and the musical language of Kaija Saariaho is close to the impressionists. For me personally it is impressionism of the 21st century."
"It is a story which surrenders to the higher principle of love, which makes us want to be better and more loving. It poses the question whether it is possible for the human soul to be like this in our world and whether we are capable of achieving it," said the director Jiří Heřman before continuing: "The troubadour Jaufré Rudel follows his concept of love with absolute submission, it gives him the chance to die in bliss. For me, the character of Clémence is an example of a woman who gradually opens up her heart, she experiences a brief state of bliss and loses it, just as Jaufré does in his first meeting with the Pilgrim. Clémence isn't yet ready to accept that moment, so that it might remain forever."