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

Comments

Reply

No comment added yet..

The Slovak group Kiero Grande, two Polish bands and the Brno musician Jan Fic with his solo project progressed from the competition Blues Aperitiv to the international festival Blues Alive in Šumperk. Jan, or Honza as he is informally called, who under the label Red Bird Instruments makes cigar box guitars and other instruments, is otherwise known as the frontman of The Weathermakers, playing their raw blues even at Porta. And in several festivals he appeared as leader of the mock country group The Honzíci. The interview that follows took place on the occasion of the release of the solo album Město (City), which Jan Fic together with the producer Martin Kyšperský officially presented on 17 December in Brno’s Stereo – Vinyl Culture Shop.  more

The last week full of musical events culminated in the final round of the Central European Jazz Competition organised by the “neighbouring” jazz festivals – JazzFestBrno and Poysdorf Jazz & Wine. This cross-border musical project has a promising future: the first year of the jazz competition in its final afternoon offered six half-hour blocks of the finalists, who were a surprise with their musical range and the quality of their musicianship.  more

The main programme focus of this year’s Janáček Brno 2018 international festival is the performance of all of the composer’s musical-dramatic works. After the popular success of Káťa Kabanová and the precisely staged The Makropulos Affair yesterday it was the turn of the Polish ensemble Teatr Wielki from Poznan with a performance of Jenůfa, a work which, twelve years after its Brno premiere in 1904 opened the doors to the international musical scene to Leoš Janáček.  more

Many diverse and qualitatively varied opera performances were heard at the festival Janáček Brno 2018. Every now and then a production appears that divides Brno audiences into two irreconcilable camps, one overjoyed by the innovativeness, many non-musical references and bold direction, while the others lament the illogical symbolism, departures from the libretto, seeing it even as a slap in the face of the composer. The song cycle The Diary of One Who Disappeared from the Belgian ensemble Muziektheater Transparant as directed by Ivo van Hove and with compositional annotations by Annelies Van Parys is controversial in the true sense of the word. The scenographer Jan Versweyveld, the costume designer An D’Huys and the dramaturge Krystian Lada also took part in this new stage form. The solo roles were taken by Ed Lyon, Marie Hamard and Hugo Koolschijn, accompanied on the piano by Lada Valešová and the choral academy De Munt/La Monnaie also took part in the production. The Diary of One Who Disappeared was performed yesterday in the hall of the Mahen Theatre.  more

The second of the accompanying folk concerts of the Janáček Brno festival took place at the Reduta Theatre. And it seems that the bar, set by the first concert, has remained high. The show, called Chodníčky k lidové písni (“Roads to folksong”) was to present one of Janáček’s favourite regions in Slovácko – Horňácko – to the audience. This job was taken on by a cimbalom band with the fitting name of Musica Folklorica.  more