Janáček Brno 2022 QUO VADIS Festival will be launched this autumn

Four top Czech conductors at one festival! In the coming edition, the Janáček Brno Festival will bring together famous Czech conductors Jakub Hrůša, Tomáš Hanus, Tomáš Netopil and Marko Ivanović.

The eighth edition of the Janáček Brno festival, which falls in 2022, has a very apt theme: “Quo Vadis”, which is a quote from Feliks Nowowiejski’s spiritual cantata, Leoš Janáček´s favourite work. It carries a great humanistic message that can be seen reflected in Janáček´s own works, particularly those with Slavic inspiration. 

The Janáček Brno festival will take place on 2nd – 20th November 2022, and visitors will once again be treated to a busy programme featuring leading opera houses, renowned conductors, directors and performers. “The Janáček Brno festival won one of the most prestigious awards opera festivals can win. It is the first and so far only opera and music festival in the Czech Republic to have received The International Opera Award for the best festival of 2018,” recalls Martin Glaser, the director of Brno National Theatre. 

In 2022, the festival will offer exceptional opera and concert productions. The opening ceremony will present an extraordinary project. “More than two years ago, conductor Jakub Hrůša approached me with the idea of performing Janáček´s opera From the House of the Dead together with his Glagolitic Mass on stage. Such an impulse could not be resisted, especially with National Theatre Brno’s Janáček Opera ensemble on hand, as it is one of the best performers of Janáček´s music. The production will be broadcast live as part of the OperaVision programme, which we are involved in.” says Jiří Heřman, who is both the artistic director of the Janáček Opera at National Theatre Brno, and the director of the production itself. 

The festival traditionally shows the huge range of options that exist when it comes to interpreting Janáček´s operas, and the year 2022 will be no exception. The Grand Théâtre de Genève will be there with a production of Katya Kabanova directed by Tatjana Gürbaca, under Tomáš Netopil´s musical direction. Prague National Theatre will present a production of the same opera, directed by Calixto Bieito and conducted by Jaroslav Kyzlink. Spectators can thus look forward to two very interesting interpretative perspectives on the work. 

Another singular performance will be given by the Welsh National Opera, which will present The Makropulos Case directed by Olivia Fuchs, with musical direction by Tomas Hanus. Prague’s National Theatre will end the festival with the opera Flames by Ervín Schulhoff, again directed by Calixto Bieito. “Flames provides an interesting parallel to The Makropulos Case. Where Janáček´s Elina finds freedom through death, the finality of which gives our lives substance and meaning, Schulhoff´s Don Juan is punished for his deeds by having to remain forever immortal,” adds Patricia Částková, dramaturge at the Janáček Opera, National Theatre Brno. 

The festival’s concert series reflects the inspiration that Slavic culture brought not only to Janáček´s oeuvre, but also to the work of other composers, especially his contemporaries. Among the rich variety of concerts lies the aforementioned cantata Quo Vadis under the baton of John Fiore, with the orchestra of the Janáček Opera, National Theatre Brno, and the Slovak National Theatre choir. “Janáček wanted to perform Quo Vadis at all costs in 1910, but was unable to put an orchestra together. So, after 112 years, we will get to hear the work that Janáček wished so very much to have performed here in Brno,” says musicologist Jiří Zahrádka. Other concerts will also feature excellent institutions such as the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Welsh National Opera orchestra and the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra. The chamber concert series will feature top ensembles like the Pavel Haas Quartet and the Zemlinsky Quartet. Additionally, Janáček´s The Diary of One Who Disappeared will also make an appearance, in two versions, the first being an internationally acclaimed production with Julius Drake, Nicky Spence and Václava Krejčí Housková, and the second boasting instrumentation by Miloš Štědroň and showcasing the equally well-known performer Iva Bittová and leading Czech tenor Jaroslav Březina.

The festival also supports and gives space to the youngest generation of artists, in cooperation with the Brno Conservatory and the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts. The programme will include, for example, two premieres of new operas by composers Markéta Brothánková and Noemi Savková. 

Further information and a complete programme can be found at www.janacek-brno.cz.