The National Theatre Opera, Prague – The New Stage, CZECH REPUBLIC
directed by Michal Dočekal
Black magic as a cure for moral disintegration. Devastating freedom.
This production is based on a romanetto written by Ladislav Klíma, an original Czech philosopher, artist and author, a fellow of Franz Kafka with the look of Friedrich Nietzsche, about the decadent Prince Sternenhoch. The prince, in a fit of sulks, decides to marry a woman of inferior birth, unaware of the fact that his Helga is a witch. A unique combination of low and high culture, of grotesque and horror, of lofty philosophy and the banal dullness of the original text, which composer Ivan Acher forged into an opera – but here, signers perform difficult parts suspended in tortuous poses on ropes and the orchestra is by no means classical. Contemporary opera has long not been as entertaining and captivating as this homage to an iconic and unrightfully overlooked author that is, to top it all, sung in Esperanto. After a long hiatus, opera returns on stage in Nitra, with a piece straight from the National Theatre in Prague that has earned a number of Czech critics awards.
This production was co-selected by the Spectator Programme Board of the Be SpectACTive! project.
libretto: Ivan Acher
stage director: Michal Dočekal
musical preparation: Petr Kofroň
set design: Marek Cpin
costumes: Eva Jiřikovská
choreography: Lenka Vagnerová
light design: Ondřej Kyncl
dramaturgy: Beno Blachut
sound design: Eva Hamouzová
violin, viola: Tereza Marečková
contrabasson: Lukáš Svoboda
zither: Michal Müller
conductor: Petr Kofroň
characters and cast: Sternenhoch: Sergej Kostov, Helga: Vanda Šípová, Helga´s Father: Luděk Vele, Kuhmist: Tereza Marečková, Poet – Lover: Jiří Hájek, dancers: Fanny Barrouquére, Monika Částková, Karolína Gilová, Klára Jelínková, Andrea Opavská, Michal Heriban, Jan Kodet
Presentation at Divadelná Nitra supported by SPP Foundation
Michal Dočekal (1965)
graduated in directing at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. He was director of the Kašpar Theatre Collective and subsequently worked as director and artistic director at Komedie Theatre. Some of his productions include: A. P. Chekhov: Three Sisters, W. Shakespeare: King Lear, Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew and Merchant of Venice, P. O. Enquist: The Image Makers, A. Christie: And Then There Were None. In 2002, he became artistic director at the Drama of the Slovak National Theatre and gained recognition abroad: H. Galron: Mikve – Aréna Theatre, Bratislava (2009), Vigszínház Theatre, Budapest (2010), T. Williams: A Streetcar Named Desire – Slovak National Theatre, Bratislava (2011), M. Bulgakov: Master and Margarita – Vigszínház Theatre, Budapest, F. Kafka: America – Hungarian Theatre of Cluj (2015). In 2011, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Union of Theatre of Europe and elected its President in the fall of 2015.
Awards: 1996 – Alfréd Radok Prize for Best Theatre of the Year – Komedie Theatre (Dočekal was then its artistic director); 2001 – Theatre News Award for The Tragic History of Doctor Faust (Komedie Theatre); Josef Balvín Prize for What Happened When Nora Left Her Husband.
Sternenhoch earned the Play of the Year 2018 Award (Theatre News Survey), and Ivan Acher received the Theatre Critics Prize for Best Music in 2018.
The Opera of the National Theatre Prague will make its third appearance at Divadlená Nitra.