Katharina Schmitt, Lukáš Jiřička
Conductor: Jiří Kadeřábek
Stage director: Katharina Schmitt
Dramaturgy: Lukáš Jiřička
Sets and Costumes: Patricia Talacko
Another opera treating a “non-operatic” subject to be staged in the 2016/17 season is a new piece written by the young Czech composer Jiří Kadeřábek (b. 1978) to commission for the National Theatre Opera. It deals with the monstrous grandiosity and fate of the monument to one Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, better known as Joseph Stalin, which towered above Prague from 1955 to 1962, then was blown up. The place where it stood, which still possesses a peculiar genius loci, has remained a scar on the face on the city, as well as a sui generic “monument” – a monument to human pride and folly, as well as the absurdity of history. Jiří Kadeřábek, whose music has also become known abroad (owing in part to the BBC Symphony Orchestra), has to date composed a few operas (The Little Prince, Kafka’s Women). Also with regard to the “monumentality” of the subject, the opera No Man is his most extensive piece for a theatre stage. The first part depicts the fate of the sculptor Otakar Švec, the second the demolition of Stalin’s monument, while the third centres on all kinds of phantoms that have remained. The music develops and transforms as the bizarre story unfurls: as in the case of the monument itself, its lucid and clear form gradually disintegrates, until it falls apart into isolated sonic fragments, the debris of bygone “glory”.