We will always be a small minority in the world, but if a small nation manages to acquire something with its small means, it has a special and immense moral value. It doesn´t matter that we are a small nation; in fact it has its advantages. We can get to know one another better and live more intimately, we can feel more at home. But it is a great thing when a small nation doesn´t remain in the shadow of larger ones and also plays its part in the effort to bring humanity to a higher level. We also want to ring a bell in the belfry of the world… T. G. Masaryk
In 2018 our country celebrates one hundred years of Czech statehood, and the words uttered by our first president, T.G. Masaryk, still have their weight and deep wisdom. Of all those from the Czech nation whose influence has extended beyond our borders, it was Leoš Janáček who most strongly rang a bell in the imaginary belfry of the world and gave our Earth the most beautiful of presents in the name of our nation – unique music filled with understanding and humanity. While previous festivals have always enabled Janáček´s opera pieces to be viewed in the context of other authors and artistic directions, the 6th festival will be devoted almost exclusively to the works of the Moravian master. It will present Janáček´s complete stage oeuvre, from the early pieces created in the last decades of the Habsburg Monarchy, when his output was influenced by the moves towards Czech national self-determination, up to his greatest works from when our independent republic was finally in existence. The Cunning Little Vixen wasn´t selected for the festive opening by chance – it is not only a work which presents the composer´s wise outlook on life, but is also a charming reflection of life in a young and successfully-developing state – summed up well by Harašta: "Golden are you, my republic!"
The festival features a series of concerts devoted to the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Czechoslovak Republic, and not only formally, as the foundation of the independent Czechoslovak state occurred when Janáček was at the peak of his creative life. It stands at the very beginning of the composer´s “great old age”, a period connected with the composition of his most important works.
The festival’s dramaturgical team have devised a mix of orchestral and chamber concerts, concert versions of operas, song recitals including solo performances, and a choral concert. The works to be presented at the festival are closely connected with the foundation of the republic, with the phrase “national music”, and with the music of nations living on our territory or in the countries of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. They also show how composers reflected important historical events in their work.
All this and more in a programme of 15 concerts featuring excellent performers such as Thomas Adès, Jan Jiraský, Martin Kasík, Jitka Čechová, Simona Houda-Šaturová and the Pavel Haas Quartet.