Sung in Czech with Czech and English subtitles.
World premiere 15th September 2017, Reduta Theatre
Relationships are governed by rules!
It is not complicated to be born. It is easy to die. To live between these two events is not necessarily impossible. It is just enough to adapt to the rules and accept their recommendations.
In 1994, the French playwright Jean-Luc Lagarce re-worked a manual of good manners from the turn of the 19th and 20th century. He conceived the play as one long scene in which an actress in a flowery way explains and comments on a list of rules for good manners in basic life situations - the absurdity and comicality of the list quickly emerges. It is an unusual theatre form which conspicuously connects serious thinking about the sense of human existence with how man makes it bearable. Lagarce's play became a starting point for a new opera by a tandem of renowned artists from a younger generation, composer Michal Nejtek and director Jiří Adámek. The opera was commissioned for the Janáček Opera Ensemble of the Brno National Theatre. At an absurd banquet in the Luis-Buñuel-style, a chorus of four singers – age-long guardians of traditions and noblesse - accompany the audience through life from birth to death, using the rules for good manners.
6. Course of life
"The performance of those on stage rests mainly in their socially distinguished phrasing, despite being both impractical and illogical, which is reflected most clearly in the Actor's behaviour as the clown. At the end of the opera, the singers decorate the stage with garlands, and the yellow woman, the most distinguished one (Daniela Straková-Šedrlová), releases the golden confetti even though it evidently scares her (a nice clown's number). The production is uncommonly balanced in its parts; the sophistication and playfulness of the performers is perfectly done and entertaining. The staging of this Gesamtkunstwerk constantly spills over between its individual components, the orchestra combines with the stage, the wonderful singers are real operatic actors." Opera Plus, Olga Janáčková, September 16, 2017
"From my perspective, this is a very successful opera which could even work well abroad as there is nothing specifically Czech in it. It would seem to be part of the trends in theatre and music today, and its exaggerated irony contrasting with pomposity makes it a guaranteed audience pleaser." Harmonie Online, Martin Flašar, September 16, 2017
"The four characters, in elegant and sophisticated costumes by Adriana Černá, entered from the edge of the stage, each of them with their own mat on which they first politely wiped their shoes. Here we can already see how the smallest deviation stands out in the quest for perfect behaviour: suddenly standing beside a mat has the emotional effect of jumping into an abyss, the slightest difference in the length of a dress takes on the importance of the theory of relativity." ihned.cz, Boris Kolepal, September 21, 2017