National Theatre Brno

The Excrusions of Mr. Brouček (Janáček Brno 2024)

The motto of the 9th edition of the festival Without Borders! was inspired by Janáček’s fifth opera The Excursions of Mr. Brouček, in which the main character takes us to the Moon and for a journey through time to the 15th century. The same motto could be used to describe the work of director Robert Carsen, creator of productions appreciated worldwide for their dramatic grasp, poetics, humour and artistic sophistication. The famous director’s path intersected with the work of the Czech composer many years ago and today Carsen has staged six of Janáček’s operas. In 2020, he created a production of Destiny for the Brno ensemble and now he returns to the stage of the Janáček Theatre to open the festival with his new production of The Excursions of Mr. Brouček. 

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All dates

Friday

11/1/2024


7:00 PM


Janáčkovo divadlo

Brno


300 - 3750 CZK

Sunday

11/3/2024


3:00 PM


Janáčkovo divadlo

Brno


260 - 2600 CZK

Tuesday

12/3/2024


7:00 PM


Janáčkovo divadlo

Brno


150 - 900 CZK

Wednesday

12/4/2024


7:00 PM


Janáčkovo divadlo

Brno


150 - 900 CZK

Description

ABOUT

The motto of the 9th edition of the festival Without Borders! was inspired by Janáček’s fifth opera The Excursions of Mr. Brouček, in which the main character takes us to the Moon and for a journey through time to the 15th century. The same motto could be used to describe the work of director Robert Carsen, creator of productions appreciated worldwide for their dramatic grasp, poetics, humour and artistic sophistication. The famous director’s path intersected with the work of the Czech composer many years ago and today Carsen has staged six of Janáček’s operas. In 2020, he created a production of Destiny for the Brno ensemble and now he returns to the stage of the Janáček Theatre to open the festival with his new production of The Excursions of Mr. Brouček

None of Janáček’s operas can be called comic, although humour is never absent in them, but rather as rare spice. But in this opera about the landlord from Malá Strana, a typically Czech little man, Janáček sparkles with humour, even if it is quite sharp-edged. Janáček found his inspiration in the popular novellas by the poet Svatopluk Čech and complemented his satire to perfection with music in a dance rhythm and the use of unusual instruments such as the glass harmonica or bagpipes. While the first part of the opera, the trip to the Moon, aimed its blistering humour at Prague critics, intellectuals and artists, the second half, set in the Hussite period, took aim at the unpleasant qualities of the Czech nation in general. 

The opera was not easy to create, Janáček changed several librettists and it took him nine years to reach a successful conclusion of The Excursion of Mr Brouček to the Moon after all the trouble with the libretto. At the end, he sighed at his poets: “Oh, but our poets! One is to tell them everything – and the result is still poor!” Nevertheless, after finishing the opera, he decided to expand it with one more part, an excursion to the 15th century. This time, he and the librettist F. S. Procházka managed to produce it quickly, but from then on Janáček wrote his own librettos. And why did he choose Čech’s Mr. Brouček? He described it beautifully in his letter to Kamila Stösslová: 

“So do you know who Brouček is? He’s just an ordinary man; he swears at the world and spends his life with a jug of beer in his hand. There is no use for him in the world. And you ask: “Why would you choose such a man for the opera then?” So that he may be an abomination to all, for mockery and a warning! The Russians also had such a “soft” man; his name was Oblomov. In fact, every other Russian was an Oblomov – and how they ended! A terrible revolution, now rivers of blood are cleaning it. That’s why I’m putting Brouček on display – as a warning. There are also more than enough of Broučeks here everywhere! All they think about are their stomachs. So my dear little Brouček gets drunk again, falls asleep somewhere in Hradčany and dreams: He flies to the Moon! He falls down there. Oh, the horror! The people there are satiated only by the scent of flowers. They only let Brouček sniff the flowers. And now there’s a Moonwoman falling in love with him! No blood, body like a stick!” 

Cast & creatives

Director: Robert Carsen

Conductor:
 Marko Ivanović

Scene:
 Radu Borozescu

Costumes:
 Annemarie Woods

Lights:
 Robert Carsen / Peter van Praet

Choreography:
 Rebecca Howell

Dramaturgy:
 Robert Carsen / Patricia Částková

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Matěj Brouček – Nicky Spence

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Málinka / Etherea / Kunka – Doubravka Součková

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