The National Moravian-Silesian Theatre

conductor Jakub Klecker

director Jiří Nekvasil


The National Moravian-Silesian Theatre is one of the Janáček festival’s regular guests, which is fitting: after all, it is based in Janáček´s native region. At this festival, it will present a completely new production of the somewhat infrequently performed opera Destiny, directed by its manager Jiří Nekvasil and with music prepared by music director Jakub Klecker.

Janáček´s fourth opera, Destiny, was created in a period which wasn´t easy for the composer. In February 1903 his beloved daughter Olga died, and one month later, after almost ten years of effort, he finished the opera Jenůfa, which the National Theatre in Prague immediately refused to perform. In August 1903, Janáček left for his beloved Luhačovice for three weeks and there met charming twenty-eight-year-old Kamila Urválková, the wife of a forest manager in Zahájí and a previous love of composer and conductor Ludvík Čelanský. Kamila told Janáček about her romantic relationship with Čelanský; not only had it been unsuccessful, but also Čelanský had expressed his disillusionment in the opera Kamila, where he presents the main character as an unstable and immature personality. Janáček, who was charmed by Kamila, decided to create a “completely new, modern opera” in which her reputation would be cleansed. After his return from Luhačovice, he made an intensive search for a suitable librettist capable of processing his ideas. In the end, he asked Fedora Bartošová, a young teacher who had been his deceased daughter Olga’s friend. Janáček prepared the exact scenario of the opera himself, with a story and environment that makes it a completely different work from his previous operas. The first tones of an orchestral waltz take us into a world inhabited by the refined members of spa-going society; for their speech, Janáček asked the librettist to write verses in the style of decadent poets. The story gradually unveils via the dialogue of the main characters, Živný, who is a composer, and Míla. Just as in his other operas, Janáček made great use of his recordings of human speech. Despite its undeniable musical qualities, Janáček didn´t live long enough to see Destiny performed. He wanted the premiere of the work, which was originally assigned to the Brno theatre, to occur at the Vinohrady Theatre in Prague, but after many promises and delays, it didn´t take place. It was only in 1934 that Janáček´s pupil Břetislav Bakala prepared its radio performance and in 1954 also a concert version. Destiny was finally performed on stage in Brno for the first time on 25th October 1958, in an adaptation by Václav Nosek.

Jiří Zahrádka