The Excursions of Mr. Brouček to the Moon and to the 15th Century

The Excursions of Mr. Brouček to the Moon and to the 15th Century

"The Excursions of Mr. Brouček to the Moon and to the 15th Century" (Czech: "Výlet pana Broučka do Měsíce/Výlet pana Broučka do XV. století") is a comic opera in four acts by Leoš Janáček to a Czech libretto of Viktor Dyk and František Sarafínský Procházka, although a total of seven librettists had worked on the libretto, including Karel Masek, Zykmund Janke, Frantisek Gellner, Jiri Mahen, Procházka, Dyk and Max Brod.

The opera's libretto is based on the two satirical novels of the same name by Svatopluk Čech. The author himself makes an appearance in a vision near the start of Act 3. The opera occupied Janáček from 1908 until 1917 and the first performance took place at the National Theatre, Prague on April 23 1920, the only Janáček opera not premiered in Brno.cite journal | url= | last=Hunt | first=Christopher | title=The Life of Leoš Janáček | journal=The Opera Quarterly | volume=6 | issue=3 | pages=86–92 | year=1989 | accessdate=2007-10-18 | doi=10.1093/oq/6.3.86]

Janáček's original intention was for a one-act opera, dealing with Brouček's journey to the moon. However, Janáček then added the time travel story as the second part, and then a prologue and afterword to give the final version of the opera. Desmond Shawe-Taylor has characterized this opera as the most "purely Czech in subject and treatment" of Janáček's operas. [cite journal | url= | last=Shawe-Taylor | first=Desmond | title=The Operas of Leoš Janáček | journal=Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association | volume=85th session | pages=49–64 | date=1958-1959 | accessdate=2007-10-18]

The US premiere was in 1996 at the Spoleto Festival USA. [cite news | author=Allan Kozinn | title=Verdi and Janacek's Toppling Tipplers | url= | work=New York Times | date=29 May 1996 | accessdate=2007-10-18] .


"The Excursion of Mr. Brouček to the Moon"

Maciej Brouček is a smug, self-satisfied modern Czech who lives in Prague. In his first "excursion" he falls asleep and dreams he is journeying to the moon, which is inhabited by a colony of fey aesthetes. Brouček meets the poet Blankytný and falls in love with his fiancée, Etherea. The two elope to the Temple of All Arts, but when the philistine Brouček realises the nature of lunar life (no meat or drink, the people devote their entire lives to contemplating beauty), he is horrified and wakes up.

"The Excursion of Mr. Brouček to the 15th Century"

In his second dream, Brouček imagines he has travelled back in time to 15th century Prague, the era of the Hussite rebellion. The Hussites find his modern Czech speech difficult to understand and accuse him of being a spy, but he is rescued by the kindly Domšik, who takes him home. Domšik's family eagerly discuss religious affairs and inveigle Brouček into reluctantly joining them as they go to battle. The Hussites are victorious (though Domšik is killed). The cowardly Brouček manages to avoid taking part in the fighting but he is found out and condemned to be burnt in a barrel by the Hussites. He wakes up just as the flames are starting to engulf him.

elected recordings

* Supraphon SUA ST 50531/3 (LP issue): Orchestra and Chorus of the Prague National Theatre; Václav Neumann, conductor
* Supraphon 1116 3291-3: Richard Novák, Karel Hanuš, Libuše Márová, Vilém Přibyl, Jaroslav Tománek, Miroslav Švejda, Vladimír Krejčík, Jiří Olejníček, Jaroslav Souček, Jana Jonášová, Jiřina Marková, Bohuslav Maršík; Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus; František Jílek, conductor [Tyrrell, John, Review of "The Excursions of Mr. Brouček" (1983). "The Musical Times", 124 (1690): p. 753.]
* Orfeo - C354942I (in German): Fritz Wunderlich, Kurt Böhme, Wilma Lipp, Kieth Engen, Antonie Fahberg, Lilian Benningsen, Paul Kuen, Karl Ostertag, Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper, Joseph Keilberth, conductor
* Deutsche Grammophon 477 7387: Jan Vacik, Maria Haan, BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Orchestra; Jiří Bělohlávek, conductor


External links

* [ Universal Edition page]
* [ BBC Symphony Orchestra page on the opera]

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