The Last Polo: the first Czech site-specific opera

20 August 2018, 1:00
The Last Polo: the first Czech site-specific opera

Hausopera is a society of enthusiasts that prepares tailor-made opera shows for various Brno hidden corners. In the opening season, it invites the audience to the pool of the spa in Rašínova Street, where it will perform a single-act opera named The Last Polo. The music, written by Marko Ivanović, will swarm with graceful motions of synchronised swimmers; the nostalgic libretto of the piece was written by Josef Škarka and will be rendered by opera vocalists singing in swimsuits, confirming thus that the first love is never to be forgotten. Through a musical story, visitors will experience the well-known venue  in a new context.

The pilot opera The Last Polo will be produced in three consecutive shows at the pool of the spa in Rašínova Street in September and October 2018. Marko Ivanović, composer and chief conductor of Janáček Opera, composed the piece on the libretto by Josef Škarka. The production was created by director Petr Hašek, artistic director of the Geisslers Hofcomoedianten theatrical company. An integral part of the production will be a performance by the Olympic champion in synchronized swimming Alžběta Dufková and her team of synchronized swimmers.

Marko Ivanović gives a brief description of his creative intention: "Working on this opera, which is meant  for a particular venue, gave me much more creative freedom than it might seem. I visited the spa several times and let myself be inspired by its atmosphere. I even integrated in the score some music to be played on the handrails that are around the perimeter of the entire pool. In the choice of musical instruments I also had to take into account the specific acoustic properties of the place and the high air humidity. "

The ambition of the Hausopera society is to introduce new chamber operas tailor-composed to various locations of the city of Brno, which are remarkable for their architecture, their stories or genius loci. This brings to life site-specific projects inseparably linked to specific sites. Site-specific opera does  not have a tradition in the Czech Republic, hence in the context of our region it is a completely new genre. Hausopera refers to the tradition of progressive dramaturgy of Janáček Opera as well as Miloslav Ištvan, Josef Berg and other great spirits of the Brno’s Art Moderne. Its inspiration includes collective works by Brno composers (Piňos – Štědroň – Medek, etc.). It also follows on the strong legacy of Brno‘s conceptual artists and their interventions into the public space.

The premiére of the opera The Last Polo is announced on 30 September 2018 from 19:00 at the spa in Rašínova Street. Repeated shows are scheduled for 12 and 14 October 2018.

The founding members of the Hausopera society are the opera singer Josef Škarka, the music publicist Boris Klepal and the producer Lucie Kořínková. The Hausopera’s mission, according to Josef Škarka, is as follows: "The world is one big theatre, just find the right place and start playing. The actors do not need a stage or a curtain, the audience can do without tuxedos and formal evening gowns. The site for a new opera is perhaps where you regularly do your shopping, work, walk your dog, play football or drink beer. We can find such places and show them in unexpected light. We can take the illusion of everydayness away from them and resurrect their true glamour. We do not paint them pink, we do not make any illusions about them, and we just let them talk. And we guarantee them their freedom of speech."

Photo / Marek Olbrzymek

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