Opera The National Theatre
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Two extravagant Dmitry Shostakovich’s works give one of the possible answers to the question of what form should opera take after the final end of Romanticism. The ambitious avant-garde opus Orango tells the story of pseudoscientific experiment about humanization of an ape. The Antiformalist Rayok is the composer’s bitterly grotesque protest against the dunces controlling culture in the Soviet Union, and elsewhere, too.
The music drama in three focuses on the tragic fate of the sculptor Otakar Švec and the destiny of his final work – the monument to Joseph Stalin, which once towered above Prague. 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 opera Don Hrabal depicts the final years in the life of the celebrated Czechoslovak author. By no means, however, is it merely a “portrait of the artist as an old man”. Instead, it presents Hrabal as a lonely Mohican, a dreamer seeking beauty in the everyday and the ordinary, a brilliant storyteller and witty commentator. By the medium of the three essential women in his life, Hrabal concurrently reveals his innermost feelings, freely guiding us through them against the backdrop of the history of the second half of the 20th century. Following A Human Tragicomedy, an opera inspired by the writer/philosopher Ladislav Klíma, Don Hrabal is Orson’s second opera.
Dates: 22 June 2018
A composer Ivan Acher thought about setting Klíma’s work The Sufferings of Prince Sternenhoch to music back in 1993. The expressionistic nature of Ladislav Klíma’s work and the subject of a fictitious story full of murders, dreams about murders, tattle and high philosophising of the five main characters directly urges the application of trained voices within the new context of the sonic potential of electronic composition. The typical Klímaesque metaphysical penetration of reality into dream and dream into reality has motivated Acher to set the story beyond time sequence, thus giving rise to a space of infinite possibilities, whereby “Beauty is a kiss between love and monstrosity”
Dates: 24 June 2018