Brno Conservatory

author Leoš Janáček

conductor Tomáš Krejčí

director Kristiana Belcredi


  • Synopsis

    The poor girl Poluška waits in the forest for Baron Adolf, who had enchanted her to such an extent that she had completely forgotten her beloved Tonek. She looks with yearning at the picture of the Baron, which he had given to her as a gift. The Baron arrives for the promised tryst and lavishes the beautiful Poluška with flattery. The young lovers are spotted by the gamekeeper Mudroch, the girl’s godfather, who has suddenly appeared in the forest. Unnoticed, he looks upon Poluška in the arms of the Baron. On her return from the forest Poluška meets Tonek who abhors her after her meeting with the Baron. Tonek does not understand her behaviour and reproach and arguments break out on both sides. Baron Adolf in the meantime is seeing the Countess Irma, whom he had known since childhood, and whose youthful beauty now bewitches him. He begins to woo her and no longer thinks about Poluška. The gamekeeper Mudroch comes to tell Poluška’s parents of the friendship between their daughter and Baron Adolf. At first they are enraged, and when she arrives home they force her to admit everything. The girl does not deny it and shows off her picture of the Baron. The father decides to take the picture to the old Count and ask about a possible marriage between his daughter and the Baron. He does not want to hear of the friendship between his son and the poor girl. In the end Poluška is happy to return to Tonek and is able to plan for a wedding.

  • Opera cast lists

    conductor: Tomáš Krejčí
    director: Kristiana Belcredi
    set design: Sylva Marková
    costumes: Sylva Marková
    choirmaster: Tomáš Krejčí
    choreography and movement supervision: Ladislava Košíková
    projections: Tomáš Hrůza


    The Beginning of a Romance
    Students of Brno Conservatory, and guests
    Poluška: Hana Kuželová, Kristýna Ševčíková
    Irma: Alexandra Vostrejžová, Veronika Zaplatilová (Eliška Rejmanová)
    Jurásková: Marie Rosová, Marie Halíková
    Tonek: Tadeáš Janošek, Lubomír Chlup (Tomáš Kořínek)
    Adolf: Vilém Cupák, František Sliž, (Ondřej Koplík)
    Mudroch: Vladimír Jindra (Jiří M. Procházka)
    Jurásek: Tomáš Chloupek (Aleš Janiga)
    Halužanský: Fendrych Lukáš, Machek David

    Rákos Rákoczy
    Katuška: Tereza Hromádková, Eliška Rejmanová
    Janek: Tadeáš Janošek, František Sliž
    Mayor: Vilém Cupák
    Teacher: Radovan Celý
    Reverend: Pavel Janečka
    Auntie: Marie Dvořáková, Kateřina Karzelová
    Innkeeper Mudrochová: Kristýna Vrbovská
    Postwoman: Lucie Mužíková
    Dog: Lukáš Fendrych, David Machek
    Rákoš Rákoczy: Tomáš Krejčí
    1st victim: Tereza Hromádková, Eliška Rejmanová

The Brno Conservatory is an institution which was founded largely thanks to Leoš Janáček. This will be the first time that its students will present themselves in a full-length production at this festival. They are preparing two of Janáček’s early works, the opera The Beginning of a Romance and his only ballet, Rakos Rakoczy, directed by Kristiana Belcredi, a graduate from the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts, in cooperation with Ladislava Košíková and the folklore band Hradišťan.

The ballet Rákos Rákoczy was created as a result of the composer´s interest in folk songs and dances, which is reflected in all of his works from that time. It is a series of orchestral versions of Wallachian, Lachian and Haná folk dances such as the dymák, kyjový, pilky or silnice, holubička, sekerečka and others, which Janáček either recorded himself or obtained from materials provided by the ethnographer F. X. Běháková. The ballet Rakos Rakoczy with the subtitle “A depiction of Moravian Slovakia with original dances and songs in one act” was accepted for performance at Prague’s National Theatre in 1891 right when the Jubilee Exhibition was taking place in the capital. Famous drama and ballet soloists took part in the successful premiere, e.g. Jindřich Mošna and Eduard Vojan.

Janáček started work on the opera The Beginning of a Romance shortly after completing the ballet and based it on a story by Gabriela Preissová. She refused to adapt the verse-based libretto and so the author was Janáček´s colleague from grammar school, Jaromír Tichý. Janáček himself called the opera a work of vaudeville, a genre which typically features a simple plot accompanied with popular (i.e. folk) songs, and indeed he really did find many sources of inspiration in his recordings from Moravian villages. The Beginning of a Romance had its premiere in Brno in 1894 and marked Janáček’s first theatre success here. However, he had already started work on the composition of Her Stepdaughter and his conception regarding truthfulness of expression in dramatic art had already attained a new and original form. Despite this, the sweet and naïve The Beginning of a Romance, which tells of the crazy love between a village girl and a young baron is, together with the folk ballet Rákos Rákoczy, an interesting and important chapter in the composer´s work.

Patricie Částková