The Devil and Kate
Performed in the original Czech with Czech and English subtitles.
Premiere: 10th December 2016, Mahen Theatre
Who will go to hell?
What is the most important place in a castle? The kitchen! Cakes smell exquisite in Mokrá Lhota, and somebody has already opened a beer cask. No wonder that all people come and meet and, after all, why can’t the feast take place right there? Everybody is dancing, only Kate is sitting next to the stove. And nobody is giving her attention. The smell has attracted a young gamekeeper. He is Marbuel, a devil sent by Lucifer to fetch the evil steward and princess. However, angry Kate attracts him so much! What if he first entertains him self for a while and asked Kate for a dance?
Dvořák’s opera about the fearless shepherd Jirka, the talkative and avid dancer Kate, who longs for a marriage, and the deceived devil Marbuel is based on a folk fairy‑tale of the same name from the collection of Božena Němcová. Adolf Wenig created a comical libretto; his devils are no dark demons and merciless rulers of hell but the true devils of Czech fairy tales – a bit funny creatures who clumsily try to terrify people, who are easily duped by the cheeky Kate. Dvořák wrote a part of the opera at the castle in Lužany and the local legend about Kate who started to dance with a devil and fell into hell with the whole pub was surely a good inspiration, as was the local village band. After all, it is Kate’s lust for dancing that is to be blamed for everything and therefore the opera is interwoven with waltzes and polkas and even the devils dance in hell.