Sláva Daubnerová’s production of The Excursions of Mr. Brouček premières on 22 March at the Národní divadlo in Prague. Jaroslav Kyzlink conducts, Jaroslav Březina stars in the title role. Further performances take place on 25 March, on 5 and 15 April and on 20 and 29 May.
Leoš Janáček initially planned to arrange the satirical novel The Excursions of Mr. Brouček to the Moon by Svatopluk Čech as an opera in four acts, later changing the structure of his work to three acts and an epilogue: The Excursion of Mr. Brouček to the Moon. Once he had finished composing the opera, he decided to set the sequel of the novel to music. This tells of Mr. Brouček’s excursions to Hussite Prague in the 15th century. Janáček discarded the entire epilogue and the finale of the third act from his opera, and merged the remaining music to create two acts: The Excursion of Mr. Brouček to the 15th Century. He made his decision to continue working on the opera and to add The Excursions of Mr. Brouček to the 15th Century following the success of Jenůfa in Prague. The second, patriotically tinged excursion to the era of the Hussites was to be an homage to the new republic.
The Excursion of Mr. Brouček to the Moon and The Excursion of Mr. Brouček to the 15th Century doubtlessly occupy a special position within the composer’s operatic oeuvre. After all, they seem to completely contradict the fundamentally serious and dramatic character of his other operas. With its intense comedy, garnished with unmistakably satirical elements, one could almost characterise The Excursions of Mr. Brouček as being atypical of Janáček’s production. Yet here as well, his extremely expressive, text-orientated and, above all, original compositional style, which made him one of the 20th century’s most important composers, is unmistakably present. On the occasion of the German première in 1959, the Viennese music critic and cultural journalist Karl Löbl asked, “How has this delectable music managed to remain hidden from us for so long?”
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The Excursion of Mr. Brouček to the Moon
The Excursion of Mr. Brouček to the 15th Century