author Leoš Janáček / Annelies Van Parys
director Ivo van Hove
The Diary of One Who Disappeared is actually a song cycle, but with its dramatic character and theatricality, it is just crying out for a stage production - and that is the form in which Muziektheater Transparant will present it at this festival. The stage version by this excellent Belgian ensemble was created under the leadership of one of Belgium’s leading directors, Ivo van Hove, who holds many awards for his drama work but is also one of the opera directors most sought-after by leading European institutions. His first encounter with L. Janáček´s work was the direction of The Makropulos Affair for the Holland National Opera. His production of The Diary of One Who Disappeared is extended to include musical input from Belgian composer Annelies Van Parys, which gives Janáček´s intimate confession of love a unique form.
In the summer of 1917, the 63-year-old Janáček met Kamila Stösslo¬vá in Luhačovice. The young lady became Janáček´s last great love and the inspiration for his peak works. No wonder her bewitching eyes led him to remember a column which he had cut out from the Lidové noviny newspaper one year before. It was a poem by an author who was unknown at that time entitled From a self-taught person´s pen. The poem concerned a young village boy who fell in love with gypsy girl called Zefka; in the end he secretly ran away with her. The poetic tale awoke Janáček’s imagination and Kamila turned into a beautiful gypsy in his eyes. For two years, Janáček worked on a collection of 22 poems in the folk style to turn them into the unique song cycle The Diary of One Who Disappeared for tenor, mezzosoprano, a choir of three female voices and piano. The premiere took place on 18th April 1921 at Brno’s Reduta Theatre.