The 7 th edition of the festival, Janáček Brno 2020 (28 th September to 16 th October), will undoubtedly build on the extraordinary successes of the previous years of this prestigious biennial. Janáček Brno 2018 was the first festival in the Czech Republic to receive recognition from the highly regarded International Opera Awards – the Best Festival of the Year award.

Despite the difficult situation, the programme announced in December last year has been preserved with only a minimum of changes. “Due to the current restrictions in the world in connection with the COVID-19 virus, the premieres of two productions which were supposed to be presented at the festival in the autumn have not taken place. These are Theatre Bremen’s Jenůfa, directed by Armin Petras, and the production of Jenůfa directed by Claus Guth that was being prepared by London’s Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. We have managed to obtain good replacements for both productions and have even expanded the festival programme to include another premiere by National Theatre Brno’s Janáček Opera ensemble.” (Jiří Heřman, Artistic Director of the Janáček Opera, National Theatre Brno)


Bremen’s Jenůfa will be replaced in the programme by a production of The Cunning Little Vixen from the ensemble of the F. X. Šalda Theatre from Liberec, directed by Linda Keprtová and music director Martin Doubravský. The London production will be replaced by a successful production of Jenůfa directed by Martin Glaser and performed under the baton of National Theatre Brno’s chief conductor Marko Ivanović. “We are extremely delighted that we have managed to attract world-class opera star Karita Mattila, who was originally supposed to perform in the London production, to play the role of Kostelnička in these two special festival productions.” (Martin Glaser, Director of National Theatre Brno)


The premiere of the opera The Greek Passion by Bohuslav Martinů has now been added to the festival programme, staged by National Theatre Brno’s Janáček Opera ensemble. It is directed by Jiří Heřman and music director Robert Kružík, and will be performed on 7th October at the Janáček Theatre. The last change in the programme concerns the concert at the basilica in Old Brno, where Janáček´s Glagolitic Mass and The Eternal Gospel will be performed by Brno Philharmonic with its chief conductor Dennis Russell Davies, instead of by National Theatre Brno’s Janáček Opera orchestra. The concert will feature the Janáček Opera choir from National Theatre Brno.


All the other parts of the festival programme remain as originally announced. The celebratory opening of the festival will thus be devoted to Janáček´s opera Destiny. It is less frequently performed than many of his other works, but was a significant step in the composer´s journey to seek out a new approach to modern opera.  The production will be created specially for the festival by the internationally renowned director Robert Carsen in cooperation with the ensemble of the Janáček Opera at National Theatre Brno, and with music direction by chief conductor Marko Ivanović.


The end of the festival will feature an excellent orchestra, the Bamberger Symphoniker, conducted by Jakub Hrůša. Visitors can look forward to song recitals by Tomáš Král and Pavol Breslik, a piano recital by Jan Bartoš and Jan Jiraský, and also choral works delivered by leading Austrian ensemble the Arnold Schoenberg Chor and the Prague Philharmonic Choir. As far as chamber ensembles are concerned, participants will include the Zemlinsky Quartet, PhilHarmonia Octet Prague, Brno Contemporary Orchestra and the Pavel Haas Quartet.


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