The 2018/2019 opera season revealed!

The Janáček Opera NTB has some famous opera gems in store for you – Libuše, The Cunning Little Vixen, Don Carlos and La voix humaine / Three fragments from Juliette. All of these productions are linked by the great theme of dreams…come and dream with us.  

Czech Television report from the official press conference for the new season 2018/2019 - HERE

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Dreams…we all have them, larger or smaller. Realms are born in our dreams from everyday trifles, without which there would be nothing… The operas in the forthcoming season also contain dreams within them. Princess Libuše’s dream about the future of the Czech nation. The dream of man woven into the fabric of nature in Janáček’s Vixen. A dream about freedom for the nation and the individual, which is the spark that lights the fire of Don Carlos. A dream about a world of dreams in which Michel becomes stranded with Juliette… Come and dream with us!

 

Bedřich Smetana: Libuše

  • Conductor: Robert Kružík
  • Director: Jiří Heřman
  • Stage design: Tomáš Rusín
  • Costume design: Zuzana Rusínová-Štefunková
  • Premiere 7 September 2018, Brno-Exhibition Centre Pavilion P

The Gods eternally above the clouds gaze down mercifully upon this earth!

The foundation of the independent Czechoslovak state is one of the most important events in our history. Throughout the 19th century, Czech patriots and politicians had striven towards this and in the autumn of 1918 it culminated in the start of a new era for our nation. The struggle for Czech statehood became an inseparable part of artistic creativity and gave rise to works which became lasting symbols of our national culture. One such work is Bedřich Smetana’s Libuše, which portrays the myth of the legendary Czech princess.  It was Smetana’s wish that this opera, which ends with a spectacular scene prophesising the future Czech nation, be kept as a work for ‘special commemorative days’, which is indeed what has happened. The myth of the legendary Czech princess and the origin of the Přemyslids returns to the repertoire of the Brno opera after almost forty years, and the gala premiere takes place in an area which owes its existence to the foundation of the independent republic – the Brno Exhibition Centre. The director, Jiří Heřman, is an artist for whom these unconventional spaces are a welcome challenge, and he has already demonstrated his ability to transform the extensive Pavilion P into a special theatre space with his production of Faust. Also working with him on Libuše are the stage designer Tomáš Rusín and the costume designer Zuzana Rusínová-Štefunková, a proven duo from their unique production of L’Amour de loin. The husband and wife team of Lucie and Jiří Hájek will perform the main roles of Libuše and Přemysl.

 

Leoš Janáček: The Cunning Little Vixen

  • Conductor: Marko Ivanović
  • Director: Jiří Heřman
  • Stage design: Dragan Stojčevski
  • Costume design: Alexandra Grusková
  • Choreography: Jan Kodet
  • Premiere 17 November 2018 at the Janáček Theatre

Nature has surrounded me with a circle which I cannot cross, I sit within it and learn to love life.

No other opera is as connected to Brno as Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen, which is why the new production that opens the 6th edition of the festival will be performed by the Janáček Opera NTB. It is also the first foray of one of the best Czech directors, Jiří Heřman, into the world of Janáček’s operas. Each one of Janáček’s operas is unique and this also applies to the Vixen, where the human and animal worlds interweave on stage. It is lyrical and melodic, it sparkles with a kind and slightly prickly Janáčkian humour, while embracing an earthy philosophy of the eternal cycle of life. The story of the spoiled vixen begins at the Brno offices of the Lidové noviny newspaper, where they decided to offer readers cartoons with humorous texts. The Janáček household were regular readers of the paper and the composer was quite taken by the cartoon stories, although he only chose ten from the original chapters of the series. Těsnohlídek’s story ends with the marriage of Bystrouška and Zlatohřbítek. Janáček, however, opted to change the original ending and let the main character die, because as a true dramatist he felt the need for catharsis. At the end of the opera, however, Janáček uses a young cub to remind us of the eternal cycle of life. In the title role are Pavla Vykopalová and Jana Šrejma Kačírková, with Svatopluk Sem and Jiří Sulženko as the Gamekeeper.

Giuseppe Verdi: Don Carlos

  • Conductor: Jaroslav Kyzlink
  • Director: Martin Glaser
  • Stage design: Pavel Borák
  • Costume design: Markéta Sládečková
  • Premiere 2 February 2019 at the Janáček Theatre 

How a man accepts his fate is more important than what that fate is.

Political intrigue, religion and forbidden love – one way to summarize Don Carlos, one of Italian maestro Giuseppe Verdi’s masterpieces. The work was inspired by the play by the German poet F. Schiller and was the highpoint in the composer’s artistic period focusing on enclosed drama of the highest quality. Don Carlos is often described as grand opera, but at its centre is a sophisticated chamber drama of only a few people who find themselves in the middle of a political game controlled by powers outside of their reach. Although, as with all of Verdi’s masterpieces, it is loosely inspired by historical events, the history here only forms the backdrop to a timeless story with psychologically skilfully drawn characters and masterful music capturing their deepest emotional states, whether it is the deeply moving confession of King Philip “Ella giammai m‘amò”, the desperate cry of Princess Eboli “O don fatale” or Elisabeth’s famous aria “Tu che le vanita”. The intimate sections go hand in hand with the spectacular choral entrances, such as the Auto da Fé scene, one of Verdi’s most impressive. In the title role is the Italian tenor Luciano Mastro together with Peter Berger, the role of Elisatbeth is played by Pavla Vykopalová and Linda Ballová.

 

Francis Poulenc: La voix humaine / Bohuslav Martinů: Tři fragmenty z Juliette

  • Conductor: Marko Ivanović
  • Director: David Radok
  • Stage design: David Radok
  • Costume design: Zuzana Ježková
  • A coproduction with Opera Göteborg
  • Premiere 14 June 2019 at the Janáček Theatre

Dreams arrive before the dawn.

Do you become infuriated when you lose your telephone connection? Imagine that this happens while you are talking to your lover who is breaking up with you. The absurd, almost surrealist situation where a desperate woman contemplates suicide while her phone call is being constantly interrupted is the basis of Francis Poulenc’s mono-drama La voix humaine based on the play by Jean Cocteau, which forms the first part of a June premiere that closes the 2018/19 season. Following his success with the two one-act operas Bluebeard’s Castle/Expectation, David Radok returns to the Brno stage with a project which continues to examine the complicated relationships between men and women, real and fictional, where the present is confronted by a real as well as fictional past, and where the characters inhabit a world of imagination and dreams. Three Fragments from Juliette by Bohuslav Martinů will be performed in the second half of the evening. This surrealist opera directly focuses on such concepts, while the three fragments which the composer selected from his opera Juliette and adapted to the original text by G. Neveux, intensify the unreal and dreamlike world of Michel and Juliette. The soprano part in La voix humaine and the title role of Juliette are performed by the outstanding Swedish soprano Kerstin Avemo, who appears regularly with leading European opera houses, such as Teatro Real Madrid and the Royal Swedish Opera.