2 hours 45 minutes, 1 intermission 20 minutesLanguage
In Czech, Czech, English subtitlesPremiere
March 22, 2018
Leoš Janáček’s opera The Excursions of Mr. Brouček is an absurd burlesque about the chronic moral insufficiencies of the Czech man, or – even better – little man. Bringing to bear the tools of satire and irony (which are, fortunately, close to us), the diagnosis was first described by the great Czech poet and prose writer Svatopluk Čech in his two 1888 “Brouček” novels.
The National Theatre Chorus and Orchestra
Subsequently, the subject was undertaken by Leoš Janáček, who furnished it with equally satirically and ironically refined, or sharpened, music. Janáček’s indisputably most comical opera took some nine years (1908–1917) to write, as the composer strove to furnish it with an appropriate final form.
The Excursions of Mr. Brouček’s difficult genesis and journey to the stage of the National Theatre in Prague coincided with the very years of the no less complicated inception and building up of the Czechoslovak Republic.
Will, as they used to in the past and at variance with the creators, Mr. Brouček’s adventures and actions evoke our affection, or even sympathy, or do Janáček’s wishes have a chance to come true? “My aim was to attain it that such a man arouses our disgust, that we destroy and stifle him upon the instant – yet, first and foremost, in ourselves (bravo!).”