National Theatre Orchestra and Chorus
Prague Philharmonic Children’s Choir
Premiere performances: 25 and 26 June 2020 at the National Theatre
Bohuslav Martinů’s choral ballet is made up of a loose sequence of fairy tales, folk games and nursery rhymes, inspired by collections of Karel Jaromír Erben and Božena Němcová, popular folk poetry and tales, and medieval street theatre. Špalíček (The Chap-Book) is framed by a cycle of children’s games and scenes from rural life (The Water Sprite Game, The Cockerel and Hen Game, The Golden Gate Game, and others), interspersed with The Fairy Tale of Puss in Boots, The Fairy Tale of the Cobbler and Death, The Legend of Saint Dorothy and The Fairy Tale of Cinderella. Martinů’s ballet The Chap-Book received its world premiere in 1933 at the National Theatre in Prague, with a production choreographed by Josef Jenčík, one of the most distinguished avant-garde dance figures of the first Czechoslovak Republic. More than three decades since its previous staging, Martinů’s highly popular piece will return to the National Theatre in an adaptation by Petr Zuska, a superlative creator and dancer, former long-time artistic director of the Czech National Ballet, which will be conducted by Jaroslav Kyzlink, the music director of the National Theatre Opera. The new production of Martinů’s playful ballet-féerie The Chap-Book is primarily intended for the whole family.