NdB November Highlights: The Humorous Side of 18th Century Vienna
Photo: Pera markýze de Sade (Quills). Credit: Patrik Borecký.
Brno, Nov 1 (BD) – “The Knight of the Rose”, one of the best operas by Richard Strauss, will return to Janáček Theatre with a premier on Nov. 29.
The tagline: “Time is a strange thing, it doesn’t change things.”
The opera is just one of the many treasures that are available in November through the National Theatre of Brno, including a rousing version of the ballet La Bayadère, several English subtitled plays and a Czech-language play about the provocative Marquis de Sade.
The Knight of the Rose, which is known as Růžový kavalír in Czech, is a comic opera that is set in Vienna. It works on several levels to peak into what life was like in that so-close capital city in the middle of the 18th century.
There are many themes that are interlaced with the rhythms of the Viennese waltz: the desire to be young, the fear of growing old, infidelity, the selflessness in love.
This new production is staged by Jiří Heřman and the music is conducted by Robert Kružík.
Click here for the full schedule and ticket information, in English.
Additional November highlights from the National Theatre of Brno include:
La Bayadère, a famous ballet that goes by Bajadéra in Czech, is a fairy tale that takes place in Old India. It explores the complications that arise from the love of Nikiya, a Hindu dancing girl known as a bayadère, and Solor, a military commander. Neither the High Brahmin nor the Rajah — who‘s daughter, Gamzatti, happens to be Solor’s fiancée — appreciate the relationship.
The ballet premiered at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg in 1877. Locally, the ballet had a renewed premier on Oct. 18. The spectacular performance featured the fluid athleticism of Michal Krčmář, the first soloist of the Finnish National Ballet, and concluded with a lengthy and well-deserved standing ovation.
This new version, with stage design by Slovak artist Marek Hollý, will have performances on Nov. 21 and 22, then again on June 16 and 17, 2020. The performance is 2 hours 25 minutes long, with a 25-minute break. It is suitable for 8 year-olds and up.
Several plays are available with English subtitles in November. All of them are worthwhile.
Petrolejové lampy (Kerosene Lamps)
This Czech classic, which analyzes the intersection of excruciating desire and fear, will next be performed on Nov. 18 at Mahen Theatre. It will close in February. The greatest human heroism consists in accepting your own destiny.
Noc bláznů (Così)
Can theatre work as therapy? A theatre director attempts to put on a play in an institute for the insane. It’s not easy. One patient insists on nothing but Mozart’s opera Così fan tutte. Another patient, a junkie who is addicted to lithium, really hates Mozart. Then there is the pyromaniac, the stuttering lawyer and the autistic woman. Madness ensues. See for yourself if theatre can be therapy on Nov. 21 at Mahen Theatre.
Milenci nebes (Children of Paradise)
In Paris 1828, a mime meets the love of his life on the “Boulevard du Crime”. This is a story about uncompromising love and great intrigue that is based on real characters from both theatre and crime. Two men fight for the heart of one woman, but neither will win. The next performance is on Nov. 22 at Mahen Theatre.
Another current play is Pera markýze de Sade (Quills). It is powerful and provocative and controversial and surprising and thought-provoking. You need not be a sadist to enjoy it, but you do need to understand Czech. Doug Wright, the author, attended the Czech premiere last month. He is quoted as saying that the story of the famous provocateur, which he first staged in 1995, is timely even today: “It’s impossible to look at someone like Trump and not to remember someone like Sade.” The next presentations are Nov. 5 and 11 at Mahen Theater.
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