Katharina Schmitt, Lukáš Jiřička
Conductor: Jiří Kadeřábek
Stage director: Katharina Schmitt
Dramaturgy: Lukáš Jiřička
Sets and Costumes: Patricia Talacko
Chamber Ensemble Prague Modern
National Theatre Chorus and Orchestra
Children’s Opera Prague
Смерть решает все проблемы. нет человека – нет проблемы.
Death solves all problems. No man, no problem.
Opera houses? - Blow them up!
The original musical drama in three Acts deals with the tragic fate of the Czech sculptor Otakar Švec and the fate of his final work – the grandiose Stalin monument in Prague’s Letná Park.
The production, combining opera and art installation, is a stage Gesamtkunstwerk between utopia and dystopia. The music, composed by Jiří Kadeřábek, employs soloists and a chamber ensemble, recorded children’s choir, mixed choir and orchestra. The musical concept is based on the integration of absent performers and stage action, with this contrast creating an analogy to the absent presence of the Stalin monument from the current perspective.
The drama partially draws upon authentic historical and archival material, blending with an epic reflection on the human yearning for creating a work that surpasses the person. The production creators approach the image of the removal of the Stalin monument in 1962 as a response to the political changes in the Soviet Union and a backlash against the cult of personality. The engineer entrusted with the monument’s demolition was given the task of devising a silent explosion: the statue was to disappear without anyone noticing the blast. The silent explosion is the dramaturgical apex of the second part. As Stalin’s statue blows up, so does the classical structure of the opera No Man: passing from the classical form to an open structure. Following the silent explosion, all that is heard in the second part is the bustle of the theatre in operation – the sounds emitted by the props, technology and spectators – and silence. The silent explosion is ensued by the appearance of the phantoms that have remained in the wake of the demolition of the Stalin monument in the collective consciousness of Praguers.