Janáček’s Opera Choir reaps success at the German Ruhrtriennale festival

4. September 2023
Zora Poppová

With the opera From the Dead House, the Janáček Opera Choir visited the Ruhrtriennale festival in Bochum, Germany, where the premiere took place on August 31, 2023. Under the baton of Dennis Russel-Davies and the direction of the stage designer and director Dmitri Tcherniakov, our Janáček opera male choir resounded in the Centennial Hall.

“There are no heroes in a Siberian prison camp. Whether they are poor or rich, educated or uneducated, aristocratic or not – here they are all equal and united by endless horror. Fyodor Dostoyevsky experienced it and described it in minute detail in his Notes from a Dead House. They served Leoš Janáček as a model for his last opera, which appeals to our compassion under the motto »In every creature is the spark of God«. Janáček gives each of the prisoners their own voice just to let them drown in polyphonic anonymity and indifference. Raw sounds and relentless rhythms make the harshness of camp reality almost physically palpable. Star director and scenic designer Dmitri Tcherniakov continues this idea in the enormous dimensions of the Centennial Hall: In a huge installation on the stage, he dissolves the protective separation between the artists: inside and the audience. We live in a ruthless prison world, we are inextricably linked with all the “unfortunates” who live here as the living dead.”