Janáček Brno 2016 – twenty-seven top-class productions over twelve days on twelve stages in Brno. Some of the world’s leading directors and performers: Robert Carsen, Calixto Bieito, David Radok; Ian Bostridge, Julius Drake, Martina Janková, Ivo Kahánek…
Following the success of the last Janáček Brno festival with audiences, the National Theatre Brno is preparing the fifth year of this prestigious biennial dedicated to Leoš Janáček, which will run from 7–18 October 2016. The festival programme consists of three basic strands. The first strand is made up of exceptional interpretations of operas by some of the world’s leading artists and ensembles, another strand is dedicated to choral works, and the final programme strand presents multi-genre approaches to Leoš Janáček’s compositions (“Jazz goes to Janáček”). The festival programme also offers a rich line-up of concerts.
The festival motto, which links the individual strands of the programme, is Expectation. As well as being the title of one of the compositions which features in the programme, this is also a symbol of the early 20th century. It is part of us from the first moments of our lives. It accompanies us in our most intimate moments as well as at times of historic change. It is the wellspring of our hopes and our nightmares… The choice of this motto for the Janáček Brno 2016 festival was no accident. Janáček himself spent a large part of his artistic career waiting for success and recognition, which he finally achieved towards the end of his life. The turn of the 19th and 20th centuries was a time of great change, which in turn raised great expectations about what the coming years would bring. The map of Europe changed, there were huge leaps in technology and we were flying towards the heavens. The art world was electrified by an unprecedented number of trends and schools. It was the start of an era which continues to this day. And nowhere else is expectation more powerful than in art. That brief moment before the curtain rises…before the bow touches the strings…
The theme of Expectation chosen for this year’s festival also encapsulates how many Europeans feel today. Like Janáček and his contemporaries, we are experiencing a turning point in history and waiting to see how our civilization will develop. The choice of festival productions is intended to show how contemporary opera and stage productions reflect our shared life experiences, and how vividly and intensively they affect our lives.
For the operatic part of the programme, the Janáček Opera company is preparing a premiere of a new staging of Káťa Kabanová (L. Janáček) directed by Robert Carsen. The National Theatre Brno will be the first theatre in the Czech Republic to stage a production by this world-renowned director, which will become a core part of its repertoire. There will be a guest appearance by the Nuremberg State Theatre with their production of the opera From the House of the Dead (L. Janáček) by the acclaimed director Calixto Bieito, whose productions often push the boundaries of the opera genre. Opera Göteborg will present a staging of Expectation (A. Schönberg) and Bluebeard’s Castle (B. Bartók) directed by David Radok, with the music performed by Marko Ivanović and the orchestra of the Janáček Opera. The Brno Contemporary Orchestra is preparing the audiovisual opera The Cave by Steve Reich.
An important part of the programme consists of the choral works of Janáček, his contemporaries and followers. There will be performances by leading ensembles such as the chorus of the Janáček Opera led by Josef Pančík, the Czech Philharmonic Choir led by Petr Fiala, the Prague Philharmonic Choir led by Lukáš Vasilek and Vienna’s prestigious Arnold Schoenberg Chor led by Erwin Ortner.
Another part of the programme consists of multi-genre overlaps of the work of Leoš Janáček. This will be based on jazz interpretations of compositions by Janáček and the folk music which inspired them. The festival also features concerts by E. Viklický, M. Topferová, I. Bittová, M. Vitouš and other outstanding performers.
One of the highlights of the festival’s concert programme is a recital by the world-famous tenor Ian Bostridge, accompanied by leading pianist Julia Drake, which will include Janáček’s Diary of One Who Disappeared. There will also be an orchestral concert featuring the Prague Philharmonia with conductor Tomáš Brauner. The Miloslav Ištvan Quartett and the Parnas Quintet will be performing chamber concerts. Matinee concerts are also being prepared in collaboration with the JAMU Faculty of Music. The unique space of the Villa Tugendhat will be the venue for a recital by leading soprano Martina Janková and pianist Ivo Kahánek.