Jiří Nekvasil graduated from Ladislav Štros’s course in opera stage direction at Faculty of Music of the Prague Academy of Music and Drama, a study he combined with taking a parallel extramural course in dramaturgy at the same school’s Faculty of Drama. In 1988 he and stage designer Daniel Dvořák founded an experimental opera ensemble, Opera Furore. Two years later, the two men were made co-managers of the Chamber Opera Prague, a company which was soon thereafter transformed into Opera Mozart. From 1998 he held the posts of artistic director, dramaturge and stage director at the Prague State Opera. From 2002–2006 he was the head of the Prague National Theatre’s opera company. On January 1, 2010 he took over as the general director of the Moravian-Silesian National Theatre in Ostrava.
In the course of his artistic career he has so far staged over 70 opera and drama productions. At the National Theatre in Prague, he mounted John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer, Janáček’s The Excursions of Mr Brouček and Jenůfa, Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur, Smetana’s The Bartered Bride and The Secret, Martinů’s The Greek Passion, Josef Mysliveček’s Antigone, Puccini’s La fanciulla del West, and a stage production of Verdi’s Requiem. He co-wrote, with composer Aleš Březina, and staged the “opera-trial” Tomorrow There Will Be… His projects at the Prague State Opera have included world premiere productions of E.F. Burian’s Bubu of Monparnasse, Emil Viklický’s Phaedra, and Trygve Madsen’s Circus Terra, the Czech premiere of Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, and productions of Zemlinsky’s Es war einmal…, Karel Weis’ The Polish Jew, Massenet’s Don Quichotte, and Die drei Pintos by Carl Maria von Weber and Gustav Mahler. At the Brno National Theatre Jiří Nekvasil staged Martinů’s Juliette and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Turandot. At the Moravian-Silesian National Theatre in Ostrava he staged Massenet’s Werther, Hindemith’s Cardillac, Dvořák’s Armida, Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, and Janáček’s Katya Kabanova.
Jiří Nekvasil has regularly worked as a stage director on the international circuit (Bratislava, Buenos Aires, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Erfurt, Hamburg, Nantes, Oslo, Regensburg, Rheinsberg, Riga, Rostock, Tallin, Tampere, Trier). Apart from his work in theatre, he has been involved for nearly two decades now in directing various formats for Czech Television (over 130 titles). He has to his credit many music documentaries, including Alois Hába, Josef Berg’s Operas,Václav Kašlík: An Opera Wizard; two titles devoted to Bohuslav Martinů (Return from Exile; and Martinů and America), and a music film on Ervin Schulhoff (My Teeth Clatter to the Rhythm of Shimmy), as well as a seven-part documentary entitled Our Countryman, G.M., on Gustav Mahler. He has also directed several operas for television: Ivan Kurz: An Evening Assembly,and Josef Berg: The Return of Ulysses and European Tourism. The most notable is a project involving three works by Bohuslav Martinů: the “mechanical ballet”The Amazing Flight, and the operas, Tears of the Knife, and The Voice of the Forest. Both films The Amazing Flight and Tears of the Knife won Gold Crystal Awards at the 1999 Golden Prague International Television Festival, and the Grand Prix plus Best Original Direction Award at the 1999 Screen Stage Arts Festival in Brussels.
Photo: Petr Hrubeš
Update: October 2016