The Brno National Theatre has presented the upcoming premieres for the 2023/2024 season. Among the opera productions on the programme next season will be, for example, The Jacobin or Rusalka by Antonín Dvořák. Ballet will be represented by Coco Chanel, choreographed by Mario Radačovský, and The Vigil, a follow-up to the award-winning 4 Elements. The upcoming season will be dedicated to the Year of Czech Music 2024, which commemorates the anniversary of composers ending with a four and generally focuses on Czech music.
Jiří Heřman, artistic director of the Janáček Opera NdB, says of the new season: “Faithful love has won! As ever... You don’t have to understand music, and you don’t have to understand opera, you just have to surrender to it and let it work. It’s an adventure that will definitely enrich you. The next two seasons of the Janáček Opera NdB will be in the spirit of celebrating the Year of Czech Music 2024, which we will dedicate not only to the anniversaries of composers ending with a four, but also to Czech music in general. We want to present it in a new perspective of creators and composers in a way that will be entertaining and inspiring for you. For the 2023/24 season, we found inspiration in a quote from Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, except that in life and in opera things are not so straightforward, and that’s why it has its ifs, ands, and buts.
Czech opera may not boast such a long tradition as Italian, but the last 200 years have been a treasure – Smetana, Dvořák, Janáček, Martinů and others. Dvořák’s Jacobin is often presented as an idyllic picture of the Czech Enlightenment, but along with the beautiful music, it contains many more themes that are still relevant today. So let’s head back to the schoolroom with director Martin Glaser and conductor Jakub Klecker, we’re in for humour and drama and, most importantly, a happy ending. And for the beginning of Advent, we have a gift for our young viewers and their families. We are preparing for them a special performance dedicated to Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, but we have invited famous puppet characters from Prague’s Spejbl and Hurvínek Theatre to help us. Not only Spejbl and Hurvínek, but also Mánička and Žeryk will be the guides of the famous Czech opera. Let’s see who they’ll sell the bride to.
The year 2024 is the 200th anniversary of Bedřich Smetana’s birth and the Janáček Opera NdB will be part of the Smetana200 project through a new production of Smetana’s opera Dalibor, which will be co-produced with the Welsh National Opera. The Welsh understand and love Czech music, as they showed us at the Janáček Brno Festival, and we are all the more looking forward to seeing Dalibor in a musical setting by their chief conductor Tomáš Hanus and directed by David Pountney, a great promoter of Czech opera around the world. Dvořák’s Rusalka is an obvious part of the repertoire of Czech theatres, but this is the first time it will be staged in the Czech Republic by director David Radok. This will be a continuation of his regular collaboration with the Janáček Opera NdB ensemble in creative tandem with chief conductor Marko Ivanović. The end of the season then belongs to a world premiere initiated by the Brno company as another in a series of commissions for new operas. The theme for composer Lubica Čekovská was the novel Orlando by the famous English writer Virginia Woolf. In the courtroom, the drama of the search for identity will come to life, directed by Jiří Heřman and with a musical score by Robert Kružík. So faithful love has won! As ever... and if not, there’s still opera!
And that’s why we have one more quite extraordinary event in the first half of the 2023/24 season, the return of the riveting Peter Grimes, directed by David Radok and starring Joachim Bäckström, an award-winning production that has received rave reviews from you. Dear audience, look at the world with music around you, try to expose your heart to it and share it with us. Let’s celebrate the Year of Czech Music with joy, Leoš Janáček will have his 170th birthday, our Bystróška will have had 100 years since its premiere, and our successful National Theatre will have its 140th birthday. Come and join us!”
Mário Radačovský, the artistic director of the NdB Ballet, comments on the new season: “Before I start to look at the future, I must look back for a moment. The first is the creation of the junior company Ballet NdB 2, which I consider an extraordinary achievement and I am very proud of it. Another important event at the end of this season is the organisation of the first edition of the international ballet competition in the category of young talents, which will help our region, city and company to become more established on the cultural map of Europe. But let’s move on to the future.
The autumn premiere entitled Bdění (Vigil) at the Janáček Theatre will consist of three opuses. Names such as Jiří Kylián and his Sleepless or Nacho Duato and his White Darkness are a clear guarantee of the uniqueness of this evening. But I am very happy that the great Ukrainian choreographer Radu Poklitaru has accepted my invitation to create a brand new choreography for our company called Waves. The second premiere will be at the Mahen Theatre and will be my new choreography and the symbolic end of my second term as artistic director of the ballet. I have decided to create a full-length title Coco Chanel inspired by the life story of a lady who changed forever the world of women’s fashion and the previously experienced standards of dress.
We are also planning two completely original premieres of the junior ensemble NdB 2 at the Reduta Theatre. Among our “off events” I would like to draw attention to the October Gala against Cancer, a very personal project for me, which will take place in cooperation with the Masaryk Cancer Institute. We would like to make the arts at least a little more enjoyable for those in need and those who care for cancer patients on a daily basis.
I must also mention the Dance Brno 2023 festival, which will be a showcase of not only Czech, but for the first time also Slovak professional ensembles and a showcase of the best of their repertoire. Of course, we will also continue with all our permanent projects, for example in July at the Bishop’s Court, where we will newly present the repertoire of the NdB 2 Junior Ballet.”
Opera premieres 2023/2024:
Antonín Dvořák: The Jacobin
Hurvínek Sells the Bride
Bedřich Smetana: Dalibor
Antonín Dvořák: Rusalka
Ľubica Čekovská: Here I am, Orlando
Ballet premieres 2023/2024:
NdB 2 PROGRAM 3 – Year of Czech Music 2024
NdB 2 PROGRAMME 4
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