TEREZÍN OPERA CYCLE


THE NATIONAL MORAVIAN-SILESIAN THEATRE OPENS THE TEREZÍN OPERA CYCLE TO RAISE AWARENESS OF GREAT CZECHOSLOVAK COMPOSERS WHO WERE HOLOCAUST VICTIMS


National Moravian-Silesian Theatre’s opera company with its dramaturgy opens the Terezín Opera Cycle. There are three remarkable opera composers to be introduced within the cycle as a reminder of the interwar Czechoslovak music—these are Hans Krása, Viktor Ullmann, and Pavel Haas. None of them survived for their Jewish origin. The cycle was opened with Hans Krása’s Betrothal in a Dream that premiered on 17 February 2022 at the Antonín Dvořák Theatre.

“We will present three composers of the interwar period whose lives were negatively affected by WWII. For their Jewish origin on the territory of the Protectorate Bohemia-Moravia, they all were deprived of most of the civil rights first, then deported to the Jewish ghetto in Terezín, and finally sent to the Auschwitz II-Birkenau death camp where they were sent to fulfil the ‘final solution’. All of them—Hans Krása (1899–1944), Viktor Ullmann (1898–1944), and Pavel Haas (1899–1944)—died in a gas chamber on 17 October 1944. Not only the composers but also their works were designated to be erased from history; fortunately, the fall of communism in our country in 1989 allowed such works and their authors to become a common part of the Czech cultural environment and awareness. We stage works by Krása, Ullmann, and Haas for their unquestionable and inspirational artistic quality. In addition, we would like to right the wrongs that have been committed in the recent past by recognizing the authors of a rich Czechoslovak cultural palette that were supposed to be murdered and forgotten due to the totalitarian regimes—Nazism and Communism—that oppressed our country,” mentions the intendant of the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre and stage director of the first opera Jiří Nekvasil in the programme for the opening night of Betrothal in a Dream.

Alongside the Smetana Opera Cycle, the three-part Terezín Opera Cycle is the NDM’s second major contribution to the Year of Czech Music whose jubilee falls for 2024 (a year that ends with number four). This time, the number four appears also at the end of the date 17 October 1944 and is a tragic reminder of the violent liquidation of the Czech cultural elite. I think that this is also an aspect that should be highlighted and reflected during the celebrations within the Year of Czech Music, whose tradition was founded in 1924 on the occasion of Bedřich Smetana’s birth centenary,” concluded Jiří Nekvasil.