author Bedřich Smetana
conductor Robert Kružík
director Jiří Heřman
The foundation of the independent Czechoslovak state is one of the most important events in our history. The efforts of Czech nationalists and politicians were projected towards this goal throughout the 19th century until finally in the autumn of 1918 came the fulfilment of their endeavours and the beginning of a new era for our nation. The struggle for Czech statehood became inseparably entwined with the world of the arts, giving rise to works which became permanent symbols of our national culture. One such work is the festival opera Libuše by Bedřich Smetana (1824-1884), which concerns a myth about a legendary Czech queen. The opera, which culminates in a grand scene in which a prophecy is made about the future of the Czech nation, had its premiere at the opening of Prague National Theatre in 1881. Smetana wished for it to be a work performed at “particularly memorable days”, and so it is. The performance of Libuše has always been connected with festive events, just as it is with the darkest days of the Czech nation.
The new production of Smetana´s Libuše, performed by the Brno opera ensemble under the direction of its Artistic Director, Jiří Heřman, was created to mark the occasion of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of our statehood. A place was selected for its performance which has played a key role in the history of Brno – the Brno Exhibition Centre, which owes its existence and development to the foundation of the independent republic. With its opening in May 1928 with an Exhibition of Contemporary Culture to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Czechoslovak Republic, held under the auspices of President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, Brno gained one of the most important functionalist building complexes of its time. The whole programme of the Janáček Brno 2018 festival is aimed towards the celebration of the anniversary of our statehood and the exhibition grounds will thus host not only the performance of Smetana´s Libuše but also the works of Leoš Janáček, the greatest Czech composer of the 20th century.