Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Janáček (ヤナーチェック) Opera - Jenůfa

Finally! I had a chance to go see a Janáček opera on Oct 9th. Unfortunately, it was right after us coming back from the wine festival, and we were exhausted from all the hiking and drinking under the sun. But I could not miss this opera. So, we went!
It was back in September that I found out about the International Festival Janáček Brno 2010. There are a series of Janáček's pieces being played in different theaters in Brno. The one on Oct 9th was called Jenůfa and was to play in the theater called Janáček Theatre, one partof the National Theatre in Brno, located fairly close to our flat.

Jenůfa is said to be the first opera piece Janáček composed, and was first performed in Brno in January of 1904. The story contains immoralities in many senses including the killing of an infant, a love affair among Jenůfa, a man Jenůfa made a baby with, and his stepbrother, etc.  How shocking it might had been 100 years ago. If you are interested in reading the brief story, check out the wiki here.

Jenůfa was also special for Janáček and his wife Zdenka. Olga, their daughter was suffering from an unknown desease at the time Janáček started to compose the piece. He depicted her daughter's suffering as Jenůfa's suffering, and he himself cast his love towards his daughter to the other character in the opera Kostelnička (a stepmother of Jenůfa).  Olga unfortunately died in 1903 without seeing her father's opera. Janáček dedicated Jenůfa to her memory. For Zdenka, it was a bitter piece. Janáček started to have an affair with Gabriela Horvátová, who played Kostelnička in the Prague premiere of Jenůfa. The incident led his wife Zdenka to an attempted suicide and their informal divorce.

The International Festival Janáček Brno 2010 is still going. I am hoping to go to see another piece before it ends.

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