NdB: ‘Dalibor’ Premieres Tomorrow With Star-Studded Cast and Audience
Bedřich Smetana’s legendary opera ‘Dalibor’ will premier tomorrow at Janáček Theatre as part of the Smetana200 cycle, with both a star-studded cast and a big-name audience.
The opera, co-produced with the Welsh National Opera, has an international cast. Tomasz Konieczny will play the role of King Vladislav, Peter Berger will portray Dalibor from Kozojedy, and the Hungarian soprano, Csilla Boross, will perform as Milada.
The Smetana200 project celebrates the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth. This performance of Dalibor will also be the ceremonial opening of the Year of Czech Music in Moravia, and will be attended by Prime Minister Petr Fiala, Minister of Culture Martin Baxa, and Mayor of Brno Markéta Vaňková.
The opera itself is returning to Brno for the first time in three decades. The premiere will start at 7pm, with some tickets still available.
Other performances are scheduled for 10th and 25th February, and 9th and 23rd March.
Dalibor is a romantic tragedy based upon a medieval tale. Dalibor is a knight from Kozojedy, a small town near Prague. He is on trial for murder, although a strong case can be made for self-defence. His life is at stake, and there are a lot of considerations in the balance, touching on the timeless themes of revenge, passion, and politics.
The director, David Pountney, a passionate promoter of Czech opera, will present the audience with a contemporary view of Dalibor’s story. He promises dramatic tension, passion and political intrigue.
“I am directing Dalibor for the second time,” Pountney said. “The first time was for the Edinburgh Festival. It’s a challenge because Smetana combines some musically very simple ideas with very sophisticated and interesting moments. I use some irony in Dalibor due to the concept that Milada is not actually telling the truth at the beginning and exaggerates her presentation in court. This gives it a bit of ironic distance, which I think helps get the characters into more interesting positions. Dalibor himself is full of interestingly ambiguous elements. His character is a somewhat aggressive hero and a melancholic poet at the same time. We’re not trying to be too realistic, but to step into the territory of symbolism through the depiction of musical instruments, harp, violin and cello on stage.”
‘Beethoven’, a locally produced ballet, will be performed on 13 February, with pianist Ivo Kahanek as the special guest. Additional performances will be February 14, 23, and 24.
NdB Ballet earned the prestigious honour of performing the work of George Balanchine, and will stage another performance of this on 8 February.
(R)Evolution, a cutting-edge play that addresses the pressing issues of our future, will premiere on Friday, 9 February, at Reduta Theater.
Written by Yael Ronen, a playwright and theater director of Israeli descent, it is described as dystopian cabaret that uses a witty and provocative form to draw attention to the potential consequences of ill-considered technological progress. It is based on the book “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” by best-selling Israeli historian and philosopher, Yuval Noah Harari, which addresses phenomena such as artificial intelligence, big data, and bio-engineering, and their effects on the society as a whole as well as on moral decision-making by individuals.
The premiere is sold out, but additional performances (in Czech) will be held on 10th, 16th, 25th February, 22 March, 6 April and 10 May.
Waiting for Godot, a drama staple by Samuel Beckett, will also be performed, in Czech. It is a slow, deliberate play that forces the audience to contemplate life. Perhaps appropriately it will be performed on Leap Day, 29 February.
The rest of the winter and early spring offers a wide range of options. Click here for the full NdB schedule and ticket information in English.