Baroque Opera Comes to Brno with Händel’s Alcina
The National Theatre of Brno (NdB) has a full schedule of opera, ballet and theatrical performances, which in February will include the Brno premiere of Alcina by Georg Friedrich Händel. Photo credit: Marek Olbrzymek
Brno, Feb. 1 (BD) – Baroque operas are not common in the Czech Republic, but February begins with the National Theatre of Brno (NdB) staging “Alcina” by Georg Friedrich Händel, being performed in Brno for the first time.
The premiere is on Saturday, February 5th at 7pm at Janáček Theatre. The cast and performers will include Pavla Vykopalová, Doubravka Součková, Andrea Široká, Ray Chenez, Václava Krejčí Housková, Ondřej Koplík and Tomáš Král.
The second performance, the following day at 5pm, will include Canadian soprano Karina Gauvain, Justin Kim, Mirella Hagen, Krystian Adam, Andrea Široká, Václava Krejčí Housková and Tomáš Král.
Additional performances will be on February 12th, 13th, and 18th, with more dates and times to be announced.
The production, which was prepared by the creative team of director Jiří Heřman and conductor Václav Luks, was developed in collaboration with Collegium 1704, a prize-winning Czech orchestra and choir that includes period instruments. Additionally, it was co-produced with French theaters in Caen and Versailles, and with the support of Gesamkunstwerk Bratislava and the Bohemian Heritage Fund.
After five performances in Brno, Alcina will tour French theaters in Versailles and Caen.
“The success of Baroque music today is convincing proof that the human soul has not changed so much since the time of Monteverdi or Händel, and what appealed to listeners centuries ago can still speak today,” Luks said. “Händel was not only an ingenious composer, but also an expert on human souls and an artist who lived a life full of twists and to whom, perhaps, that is why the topic of human destinies trapped on a magical island was so close.”
The plot centers upon Alcina, a powerful sorceress who attracts lovers to her island palace. Christian knight Ruggiero succumbs to her charms. His fiancée, Bradamante, will not give him up, so she disguises herself and sets out to get him back.
“Alcina is often interpreted as a negative character, a sorceress abusing a lover,” Heřman said, “but through Handel’s music and libretto, I discovered another story — the fate of a lonely woman who is looking for a perfect relationship, but ends up disappointed and abandoned. Loneliness and the search for balance in a two-person relationship are the major themes for me.”
Shakespeare’s Vecer trikralovy (Twelfth Night) is also on the NdB schedule. The premiere was on January 28th, with additional performances on February 3rd, 12th and 17th, and April 3rd, all at Mahen Theatre.
See the photos of rehearsals of the modern version of Twelfth Night. Credit: Courtesy of NdB.
This modern version, directed by Štěpán Pácl, includes a complex set designed by Dragan Stojčevski.
“Four hundred years have separated us from Shakespeare,” Pácl said. “We have to guess what he wanted to entertain his audience with, and then invent today’s means to have fun at least as much as the audience of Shakespeare’s premiere.”
February 8th will be a big night, as NdB Ballet will have a special performance of Bajadera with three soloists from the Royal Ballet in London — Vadim Muntagirov, Fumi Kaneko and Yasmine Naghdi — at Janáček Theater.
The homage to Beethoven, which premiered last fall, will have encore presentations on March 11th, 12th, 17th and 20th.
Click here to see the English-version website for the complete schedule, ticket information and more details.
There are strict conditions for audience members to protect against the transmission of COVID-19:
• proof of COVID-19 vaccination must be provided, with at least 14 days since the last vaccine dose (second for two-dose vaccines, first for single-dose vaccines), or:
• evidence of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 disease no longer than 180 days before the day of the event.
Children between the ages of 12 and 18 can prove non-infectivity with a negative RT-PCR test up to 72 hours old, as can those with a contraindication to vaccinations and who are currently being vaccinated. These conditions do not apply to children under 12 years of age.
Everyone present in the theatre building must wear a respirator at all times
Janáček Brno 2022 Tickets on Sale
An event that puts Brno on the international cultural map will be held later this year: the Janáček Brno 2022 festival.
If you live in Brno and you have not been introduced to the local composer, this is your chance.
Go to https://janacek-brno.cz/en/ for more information.
Brno Daily is a media partner of National Theater in Brno.