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Leoš Janáček: From the House of the Dead

(Arranger: Bakala, Chlubna)

  • Opera in 3 acts (1927-1928)
  • historical version (contains original ending)
  • 4 3 3 3 - 4 3 3 1 - timp, perc(5), hp, cel, str
  • Duration: 85’
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st flute
    2nd flute (+picc)
    3rd flute (+picc)
    4th flute (+picc)
    1st oboe
    2nd oboe
    cor anglais
    1st clarinet in Bb
    2nd clarinet in Bb (+cl(Eb))
    3rd clarinet in Bb (+cl(Eb)
    bass cl)
    1st bassoon
    2nd bassoon
    3rd bassoon (+cbsn)
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    3rd horn in F
    4th horn in F
    1st trumpet in F
    2nd trumpet in F
    3rd trumpet in F
    bass trumpet (+tenor tuba)
    1st trombone
    2nd trombone
    3rd trombone
    violin I
    violin II
  • Choir: TB
  • Roles: Petrowitsch, baritone Alej, tenor Luka, tenor Der Platzkommandant, baritone Skuratoff, tenor Tschekunoff, baritone Schischkoff, bass-baritone a number of smaller parts and silent roles
  • Composer: Leoš Janáček
  • Librettist: Leoš Janáček
  • Writer of pre-existing text: Fjodor Michailowitsch Dostojewski
  • Piano reduction: Bretislav Bakala
  • Arranger: Bretislav BakalaOsvald Chlubna
  • Original language: Czech
  • Translator: Max BrodDenis ArundellAntonio Gronen-Kubizki
  • Remarks: Original ending arranged by Rafael Kubelik according to Leoš Janácek.

Work introduction

Read an interview with Pierre Boulez and Patrice Chéreau on Janá?ek's Aus einem Totenhaus.

Leoš Janá?ek based his final opera on his own libretto after Dostojevsky’s Memoirs from the House of the Dead. He wrote, drafted and revised the opera in full score during 1927 - 1928. He then had it copied out by two of his long-established copyists (Václav Sedlá?ek and Jaroslav Kulhánek), who shared the work between them. Janá?ek supervised the copying and the correction of their score, making many changes and additions which resulted in new pages having to be inserted. Then he began a final check through the score, adding extra doublings, dynamics and other details in his own hand. He completed Acts 1 and 2 in this way, but died before he had checked Act 3. In other words, except for a final check of Act 3 and any last-minute alterations Janá?ek might have made at rehearsals, From the House of the Dead is no less finished than any other Janá?ek opera.


Sample pages

World première

Brno (CZ)
Orchestra of the National Theatre of Brno
Bakala Bretislav

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