Opera and theatre director, documentary filmmaker and scriptwriter Ondřej Havelka (born in Prague on October 10, 1954) is the son of composer and professor of the Prague Academy of Music, Svatopluk Havelka and actress and honorary member of the Prague National Theatre, Libuše Havelková. After completing studies of acting at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (1978), he later furthered his education in stage direction at the Janáček Academy in Brno (1988). He followed his Prague Academy studies by six years of work with the avantgard (and very popular) Studio Ypsilon Theatre in Prague, and soon asserted himself as both a film and television actor. After Czechoslovakia’s “Velvet Revolution,” he extended his scope to television scriptwriting and direction. He wrote and co-directed a musical documentary entitled Original Prague Syncopated Orchestra which was awarded the Silver Rose at the 1991 Montreux Television Festival. His long list of projects in that field includes the TV documentary, Mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená (script and direction, 1995), and the feature-length screen portrait of actor Vlastimil Brodský, Zdravý nemocný vlastimilený Brodský (script and direction, 1999). In 2008 he directed a new documentary, again devoted to Magdalena Kožená, entitled Magdalena. In 2012 he completed a documentary film entitled A Jewel of the Baroque, specifically devoted to the baroque theatre of Český Krumlov. In 1988, Ondřej Havelka began with the stage direction. Since then he has directed numerous productions such as: the musicals, La Caffeteria (Carlo Goldoni, Adolf Hoffmeister, Jaroslav Ježek, Studio Ypsilon Theatre Company, Prague, 1988); Tenhleten Manhattan (Martin Vačkář, based on Woody Allen’s short stories, Reduta Theatre, Prague, 1990); My Fair Josephine (Martin Vačkář, based on the play by Vladislav Vančura, Karlín Musical Theatre, Prague, 1993); and the song-plays, Men Off-side (Karel Poláček, Martin Vačkář, Municipal Theatre, Mladá Boleslav, 2007), Saturnin (Zdeněk Jirotka, Martin Vačkář, Municipal Theatre Prague, 2010) and finally The crime in the pacific train (Theatre Kalich, Prague, 2011).
Ondřej Havelka made his debut as an opera director with a production of the opera by Martin Smolka and Jaroslav Dušek, Nagano (National Theatre, Prague, 2004), followed by Smetana’s The Bartered Bride (National Theatre Brno, 2006), a ballet show based on Karel Jaromír Erben’s fairy-tale, Goldilocks, with music by Vladimír Franz (National Theatre, Prague, 2006), a double bill of Puccini’s one-acter, Gianni Schicchi, and Leoncavallo’s I pagliacci (National Theatre Brno, 2008), Puccini’s La bohème (State Opera Prague, 2008), Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus (National Theatre Brno, 2006), Offenbach’s Les Contes d'Hoffmann (National Theatre, Prague, 2010) and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (National Theatre, Prague, 2014). In 2011 he directed a historical reconstruction of a baroque opera performance Dove è amore è gelosia by Giuseppe Scarlatti in the unique baroque theatre in Český Krumlov. At the International television festival Golden Prague 2012, the television recording of this opera production was named "Winner of the special prize of the Dagmar and Václav Havel’s Foundation VIZE 97" in the category for direction. Furthermore, it won the Quarterly Award and thereafter the Annual Award presented by the German Gramophone Record Critics for the best DVD in 2013. In 2013, he wrote and directed the film version of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice which was produced by ClassArt Production, Munich with Bejun Mehta in the main role. The film’s premiere took place in Berlin on February 9, 2014.
Updated: February 2014