A playful, humorous and tender production for children and adults alike. Let’s return to our schooldays for a while!
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3 hours, 1 intermissionLanguage
In Czech, subtitles in Czech, EnglishPremiere
October 8, 2011
Dvořák’s The Jacobin is one of the most popular and most frequently performed Czech operas. Set in the 18th century, the plot unfurls in a small Czech town, to which a “suspicious” native returns after having lived abroad for years. The stage director Jiří Heřman takes us to the school where the teacher Benda rehearses with the pupils a famous festive cantata, while other protagonists recall their loves, or are taught a lesson.
National Theatre Chorus and Orchestra
Ballet of the National Theatre Opera
Prague Philharmonic Children's Choir
At the end of the 18th century, Bohuš, a count’s son, who at one time was hounded out by his father owing to his liberalism, returns from Paris to his native small town in Bohemia. Yet before he is allowed to reconcile, he and his wife are caught up in a slew of provincial intrigues which the locals direct both at themselves and – because of his being suspected of “Jacobinism” – against the couple. The opera features a number of stock and popular dramatic types – the happily amorous Jiří and Terinka, between whom the arrogant burgrave Filip wants to drive a wedge; the count’s power-hungry nephew Adolf; as well as the good-natured teacher Benda. The scene at the school during which Benda is rehearsing with the children a festive cantata in honour of the new master is one of the most remarkable in Czech opera.
As in many other similarly tuned Czech dramatic works, here too all the accumulated conflicts are resolved amicably. Besides the traditional title of the opera, The Jacobin, the stage director Jiří Heřman foregrounds the libretto’s lesser-known original name, Mother’s Song, which actually far more appositely indicates that which Dvořák’s opera is all about – tenderness, noble-mindedness, loving care, and the ability of music to soften even the most hardened of hearts.
Photographer for production: Hana Smejkalová
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