Oskar Nedbal (1874-1930): Polish Blood
I know how to deal with one woman, but two?
Author: Oskar Nedbal
Libretto: Leo Stein
Musical Preparation: Jakub Klecker
Conductor: Jakub Klecker, Ondrej Olos
Director: Tomáš Pilař
Set Design: Aleš Valášek
Costume Design: Aleš Valášek
Choreography: Hana Litterová
Chorus Master: Pavel Koňárek
Dramaturgy: Pavel Petráněk
Specialist Advisor: Irena Rozsypalová
Assistant Stage Director: Barbora Hamalová
Lighting Design: Tomáš Pilař
Janáček Opera Ensemble and Orchestra of the National Theatre Brno
Premiere 28th March 2014, Janáček Theatre
Polish Blood, written by the renowned Czech composer and conductor Oskar Nedbal, is one of the most famous and popular Czech operettas. Apart from several theatrical productions, it has also been adapted for film and television. Leo Stein wrote the libretto based on the short story The Squire’s Daughter by Alexander Pushkin. The operetta was first performed in Vienna on 25th October 1913 with the first Czech performance taking place just two months later on 26th December. From that time onwards, thanks to it being a quintessential work of the ‘silver age’ of Viennese operettas, Polish Blood has never left the stage. It is a story about the extravagant Polish count Boleslaw Baranski, the wealthy landowner in Russian Poland Jan Zaremba, and his daughter Helena who is in disguise as a peasant girl. A tale of mistaken identities, two women trying to woo one man, promises an evening full of entertainment. The charming musical numbers such as “Blondýnky něžné” (Sweet Blondes), “Jste kavalír, to vím” (You’re a Cavalier, I Know) and “Diplomat”, are known not only by operetta enthusiasts, but also by the greater public. Funny dialogues, a surprising plotline and above all beautiful melodies, makes it the quintessential Czech operetta.
The new staging of Polish Blood will be the work of a young team: the director, Tomáš Pilař, is already well-known to the Brno audience for his successful production of Papageno Plays the Magic Flute and other collaborations with the National Theatre Brno such as Operetta Gala and the DIVA Awards. Aleš Valášek, the set and costume designer, is one of the major talents of the young generation of artists in the Czech Republic.