Festival Janáček a Luhačovice
Leoš Janáček
The 30th year of the festival will take place from July 11th to 16th, 2023


Monday, 11 July 2016

Attended by guests of honour. Featuring Brass Harmony Orchestra from Zlín.

at Leoš Janáček bust

7.00 p.m. JENŮFA by Leoš Janáček

The opera Jenůfa (or Her Stepdaughter) was premiered in Brno in 1904. The opera was performed in Prague as late as in 1916 thanks to Marie Calma Veselá, an opera singer, poet and writer, who met Janáček in Luhačovice in 1908. Presently this opera belongs among the most frequently staged operas in the world.

The opera ensemble of the Silesian Theatre brilliantly staged Janáček's Jenůfa at the 12th Music Theatre Festival "OPERA 2015", winning Libuška honorary award.

Opera ensemble, choir, orchestra and ballet of the Silesian Theatre from Opava.
Conductor: Petr Šumník as a guest
Directed by: Jana Pletichová Andělová
Libretto: Leoš Janáček
Choreography: Jiří Kyselák as a guest
Choirmaster: Kremena Pešakova.

Spa Square ("Lázeňské náměstí") (or Municipal Community Centre "MěDK Elektra" in the case of bad weather)

JENŮFA by Leoš Janáček

The jubilee 25th Janáček and Luhačovice Festival will be opened by Leoš Janáček's opera "Jenůfa", which was staged in Prague's National Theatre for the first time with the help from Marie Calma Veselá, wife of the director and builder of the modern balneology in Luhačovice. Leoš Janáček met her during one of his stays in Luhačovice.

The third Janáček's opera has become a stabile part of repertoires of opera houses not only in the Czech Republic, but also throughout the world where it is often performed in the original Czech language (Moravian dialect) version. Staging of this fundamental work of Janáček by the Silesian Theatre in Opava in 2014, directed by Jana Pletichová-Andělová and conducted by Petr Šumník, will be written in gold letters in the artistic biography of the Opava opera scene, as from the premiere performance on 12 October 2014, the opera won ovations from both the audience and the critics not only in the Czech Republic, but also at the international opera festival in Prague, where it won the Audience Award.

Gabriela Preissová's play for theatre had its premiere on 9 November 1890. Unlike her previous drama Farmer's Wench, the new play did not enjoy a great success. Nevertheless the play was later produced in Brno, where Janáček had the opportunity to watch it. After the success of the opera, Preissová rewrote the drama into a novel in the years 1929-1930.

In 1893 Leoš Janáček asked Preissová for permit to set her play to music. Even though she at first did not agree to give the permit, Janáček abridged the play into a libretto in 1895. The libretto was unique by preserving the prosaic form, Janáček thus becoming one of the pioneers of opera sung in prose. Instead of verses, he used frequent repetitions of motifs and sentences in the libretto.

Janáček has been working on the opera for several years, finishing it as late as on 18 January 1903. However the opera was rejected by the National Theatre in Prague. Karel Kovařovic was the principal conductor there, known as having personal disputes with Janáček. Therefore the opera was first staged in Brno, with the opening night held at Veveří Theatre on 21 January 1904. The opera won a huge success. In the National Theatre in Prague, it was first performed as late as in 1916, after revisions made by Janáček and Kovařovic. The opera enjoyed success again. Then it was produced in Vienna (1918) and in other metropolises. Presently the opera is in repertoire of many world-renowned opera houses, mostly staged in Czech, using the original libretto text.


Act 1

In a mill at foothills, not far from a small village, grandmother Buryjovka keeps house for her two grandsons, half-brothers Števa (miller) and Laca (miller's assistant). She is helped by Jenůfa, a relative of both half-brothers, and stepdaughter (ward) of Kostelnička Buryjovka, a widow, whose brave way of life earned respect of the entire village. Jenůfa is in love with the local frivolous good-looker Števa.

Worried, Jenůfa waits for his return from the town where he was summoned to be drafted into the army. Nobody suspects Jenůfa is pregnant with his child; drafting Števa into the army would spoil their marriage. Laca, the miller's assistant, deeply loves Jenůfa. He does not wish the girl to become his half-brother's wife, and wants to marry her himself. He watches over Jenůfa with jealousy all the time.

Števa has not been drafted. He returns to the mill in high spirits accompanied by recruits, boasting of his prowess with the local girls, in Jenůfa's presence. Suddenly Kostelnička steps into the scene full of jolly young people. The strict Jenůfa's stepmother resolutely forbids Števa to court her stepdaughter until he can stay sober for one full year. Jenůfa is frightened, she knows how much her stepmother cares for her upbringing, and tries to persuade Števa to make peace with Kostelnička. Laca is insanely jealous of his half-brother, only attracted by Jenůfa's beauty, and slashes her cheek with his knife in a fight.

Act 2

Jenůfa hides along with the newborn Števa's son in Kostelnička's house. There was no wedding, Števa no longer likes Jenůfa with her disfigured face. Kostelnička tries to conceal the lapse of her ward to protect the girl's reputation and the respect Kostelnička enjoys among villagers. That is why she told everybody in the village she had sent Jenůfa to Vienna to be in service there. Kostelnička summons Števa to speak with him. She humbles herself to persuade him to marry her stepdaughter. But her desperate pleas have no response, Števa's affection for Jenůfa has completely disappeared. He is now engaged to marry Karolka, the mayor's daughter. Only Laca firmly insists on its intention to court Jenůfa, even after Kostelnička discloses the girl's misfortune to him. Laca becomes puzzled for a moment when Števa's child is mentioned. The agitated Kostelnička decides for a horrific act: after the tired Jenůfa fell asleep, Kostelnička runs out into the frosty night and drowns the baby in the mill-stream. In the morning she made her stepdaughter and Laca believe that the child died while Jenůfa was sleeping, and has already been buried. When Jenůfa agrees to marry Laca, Kostelnička thinks she saved the future of her beloved stepdaughter. However her clear conscience is now burdened with a heavy guilt.

Act 3

Wedding ceremonies for Jenůfa and Laca are approaching. Števa and Karolka are also going to marry soon. But Kostelnička has completely changed: only a little remains of the energetic woman, who always was full of resoluteness. She is tormented by pricks of conscience. Wedding guests are coming, girls are singing to the solemnly looking Jenůfa, her trousseau is checked. Grandmother Buryjovka gives her blessing to the couple, and the moved Kostelnička wants to do the same. However fate has a different plan! Screams are heard from outside - a shepherd boy runs up with a horrible news that brewery workers discovered a frozen child under the melting ice in the mill-stream. In the following turmoil, Jenůfa discovers that the dead child is her son, and proclaims Števa the baby's father. Before the raging crowd can pounce on the poor girl, Kostelnička confesses. She lets the mayor escort her, intending to admit her guilt before court to take her mind off the devastating load. Jenůfa realises the enormous sacrifice made by her stepmother, and forgives her. Marriage of Karolka and Števa is cancelled too. Everybody is leaving dejectedly. Jenůfa calls on Laca to leave with the others. But Laca promises to resist all the misfortune by her side - a time shall come when the sun shall shine again for their common journey through life.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016


Vilém Veverka is one of the most acclaimed Czech oboists. He studied at the Prague Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, and attended courses given by the renowned French oboist Jean-Louis Capezzali. His artistic development was crucially shaped by performing with the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and his subsequent study with the prominent German oboist Dominik Wollenweber at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin, followed by performing for two years with the renowned Berliner Philharmoniker (Karajan Stiftung). Furthermore, he was inspired by such outstanding oboists as A. Mayer, H. Schellenberger, M. Bourgue and H. Holliger. The path he had pursued culminated in this triumph at one of the most prestigious oboe competitions - Tokyo/Sony Music Foundation (2003). As a soloist, he has performed with the leading Czech orchestras (Prague Philharmonia, Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra etc.) and foreign orchestras (Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Bayerisches Kammerorchester, Dohnányi Budafok Orchestra, etc.). He is a soloist of the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, a founding member of the PhilHarmonia Octet Prague - a New Approach Ensemble, and an official player of the French company Buffet-Crampon. (www.vilemveverka.cz)

Janáček Chamber Orchestra with its fifty-year history belongs among the leading Czech chamber orchestras. Janáček Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1964 by prominent musicians of Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra Ostrava. Shortly after, Zdeněk Dejmek took over the artistic guidance, and thanks to his impressive musicality, sense of style and systematic precise work, he brought the orchestra up to an excellent level and gave it a distinctive interpretation character.

In 2005 Zdeněk Dejmek handed over the artistic guidance to a violinist Jakub Černohorský who successfully led Janáček Chamber Orchestra during the tour in South Korea in 2004. In the following years the Orchestra took part in many domestic and foreign festivals (for example Janáčkův máj, Janáčkovy Hukvaldy, Musica Sacra in Nitra, festivals in Poland, Netherlands, a tour in Spain and Italy), and in 2009 it performed again at an international music festival Pražské Jaro (Prague Spring). In 2011 a prestigious British publisher Chandos Records released a new profile CD of Janáček Chamber Orchestra titled Czech Music for Strings, which includes compositions by L. Janáček, P. Haas and B. Martinů.

Der Violinist Jakub Černohorský The violinist Jakub Černohorský graduated from Janáček Conservatoire in Ostrava (class of Prof. Vítězslav Kuzník) and from the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (class of prof. Petr Messiereur). He successfully participated in several interpretation contests and performed as a soloist with Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra Ostrava, Philharmonic Orchestra Hradec Králové and St. Gellert Festival Orchestra Szeged. He cooperates with Český rozhlas (Czech Radio) and is a member of Ostravská banda. In 2002-2007 he was giving lessons at Janáček Conservatoire in Ostrava. In summer 2005 he took part in the Festival of Chamber Music organised by the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra (Kent Blossom Festival, Ohio, USA), and in 2008 he became a concertmaster of Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra in Ostrava. (www.jco.cz)

Holy Family ("Svaté Rodiny") Church

Wednesday, 13 July 2016


Eva Urbanová - world-renowned soprano. With her electrifying stage presence and powerful voice, soprano Eva Urbanová is the First Lady of the Czech opera scene. For nearly twenty years she has been the supreme star at the National Theatre in Prague, in addition to her numerous performances abroad. Ms. Urbanová's most important recognitions include the Czech Thalie award for the role of "Kostelnička" in Janáček's Jenůfa and a Grammy award for her recording Celeste Aida: Famous Opera Arias. In 2003 in Toronto (with the Canadian Opera Company) she has received the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Performance in an Opera, again for her portrayal of "Kostelnička". Her recording of Fibich's Šárka, conducted by Charles Mackerras, was nominated for a Grammy award in 2001. In 2003 Ms. Urbanová has been appointed "Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters of the Republic of France". (www.evaurbanova.com)

Peter Berger - Tenor
Peter Berger studied voice at the Conservatory in Košice, Slovakia, and subsequently attended master classes given by Peter Dvorský and Eva Blahová. While still a student he became a soloist of the Opera of the State Theatre in Košice. In 2007 he won first prize in the Anglo-Czechoslovak Trust competition in London. In October 2007 he made an acclaimed debut at the Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava, performing the role of Pinkerton in Puccini's Madam Butterfly. In 2008 he appeared as a guest at the National Theatre in Split, Croatia, in the roles of Faust and Nemorino (Donizetti's The Elixir of Love), in 2009 at the Prague State Opera he sang the Prince (Dvořák's Rusalka). In September 2011 he became a soloist of the Prague State Opera, from January 2012 to February 2014 he was a soloist of the National Theatre Opera. He appeared as Lensky (Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin) in Bremen; as Prince in Dvořák's Rusalka at the Teatr Wielki in Łodz and at the Glyndebourne on Tour Festival, and as Lukáš (Smetana's The Kiss) at the Opera Festival in Wexford.

Peter Berger is also a much sought for concert artist. He cooperates among others with the Czech and Slovak Philharmonic Orchestras, Prague Philharmonia, Brno Philharmonic, Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra and the State Philharmonic Košice. (www.peterberger.sk)

Moravian Piano Trio - has been appearing at our concert stages since 1997, when it was established upon the initiative of members of Brno Philharmonic Orchestra. During almost twenty years of its history, the ensemble performed hundreds of concerts both in the Czech Republic and abroad, and was a regular guest at various music festivals.

The trio introduced itself at Janáček and Luhačovice Festival in 2008, performing a solo recital including the lost composition for a piano trio "Kreutzer Sonata" by Janáček.

Besides the main compositions for trio repertoire, the ensemble also performs contemporary compositions of living authors, participates in common projects with other instrumentalists (clarinet, viola), and has made several recordings for Czech Radio.

Cooperation of the trio with opera soloists of all voice types belongs among the noticeable activities of the ensemble. For them, imaginative arrangements of almost complete international opera and operetta repertoire performed at concerts have been created by the trio cellist.

Thanks to the fact that the ensemble consists of accomplished artists, it has achieved a characteristic musical stage presence - perfect coordination and distinctive expressive performance, which enjoys a high appreciation from professional critics, and a vivid response from the general public, which resulted in ever more invitations to perform at major concert stages. www.muzikobrani.cz

Spa Theatre ("Lázeňské divadlo")

Thursday, 14 July 2016


Ivo Kahánek
A musician of tremendous emotional power, depth and expressiveness, Ivo Kahánek has gained his reputation as one of the most exciting pianists of his generation and is considered the best Czech contemporary pianist. He is recognised as one of the impressive Romantic pianists and also as a specialist in Czech piano music, possessing a rare and special gift of creating an immediate and compelling emotional connection with his audience.

He won the Prague Spring International Music Competition in 2004 and even before, he gained awards at other leading domestic and international piano competitions (Maria Canals Piano Competition in Barcelona, Vendome Prize in Vienna, Stiftung Tomassoni Wettbewerb in Cologne, Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition in Marienbad, Concertino Praga, etc.).

After his successful debuts at Beethovenfest Bonn and Prague Spring Festival he was invited by the BBC to perform at the BBC Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in London. It's no wonder that Ivo Kahánek was selected by Sir Simon Rattle to perform at two concerts with the Berliner Philharmoniker in November 2014, with enthusiastic reactions both of critics and the general public. The young pianist has become only the second Czech pianist after Rudolf Firkušný to ever perform with this renowned orchestra.

In 2015 he performed, among others, in a tour around Japan playing Tchaikovsky's Concerto in B-flat minor, at the international festivals of Styriarte Graz (Austria), Dresdner Festspiele (Germany) with Dvořák Trio, Dvořák's Prague, Smetana's Litomyšl and concerts in Italy, Germany, Denmark, Poland and the Czech Republic.

A graduate of both the Janáček Conservatoire in Ostrava (class of Marta Toaderová) and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (class of prof. Ivan Klánský), Ivo Kahánek also graduated from the Advanced Instrumental Studies course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, and participated in master classes given by Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, Christian Zacharias, Alicia de Larocha, Imogen Cooper, Peter Frankl and other prominent masters. (ivokahanek.cz)

Spa Theatre ("Lázeňské divadlo")

Friday, 15 July 2016


The young Czech violinist Josef Špaček is fast emerging as one of the most accomplished violinists of his generation. He has been guided by highly regarded pedagogues, including Ida Kavafian and Jaime Laredo at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and Itzhak Perlman at the Juilliard School in New York. In May 2012 he was finalist of the International Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels; in 2009 Josef won the Michael Hill International Violin Competition (New Zealand) and both Third Prize and the Young People's Jury Prize at the Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition in 2008. He currently combines a flourishing solo career with the position of concert master of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

Recent highlights include solo performances with the Czech Philharmonic and PKF Orchestra - Prague Philharmonia, with foreign orchestras including Philadelphia Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, Queensland Symphony Orchestra or Orchestre National de Belgique, as well as with Czech Chamber Orchestra, Brno Philharmonic, Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic, and the Russian Chamber Philharmonic. So far he has worked with conductors including Jiří Bělohlávek, Jakub Hrůša, Christoph Eschenbach, Manfred Honeck, James DePreist, Asher Fisch, Roy Goodman, Eliahu Inbal and Rossen Milanov.

Josef Špaček regularly takes part in music festivals, he performed for example at the Dvořák Prague Festival, at Bravo! festival in Colorado, USA, at Ravinia Festival in Illinois, USA, at Bohuslav Martinů Festival and at the Moravian Autumn Music Festival in the Czech Republic. The Forbes Magazine in the Czech Republic included Josef Špaček in their list of most influential "30 under 30" people. (www.josefspacek.com)

Czech virtuosi, a chamber orchestra performing concerts with the prominent soloists and at the top festivals, not only in the Czech Republic, but also abroad. Czech Virtuosi was founded and started its activity 12 years ago. Its English-Italian name stands for the country of its origin as well as the quality of its artistic performances the ensemble pursues to accomplish in its concert activities.

During its prolific work, the ensemble performed 300 concerts, of which one third were foreign concerts. The members of the Czech Virtuosi are concert masters and soloists for wind instruments in two Brno orchestras - Brno Philharmonic Orchestra and Janacek Opera. Mozart's music is the main domain of the orchestra, determining its basic cast - 33 players. In Vienna alone, the orchestra performed four Mozart's operas, some of them in the newly renovated chateaux theatre in Schönbrunn. The wide repertoire of Czech virtuosi includes (in the corresponding cast) the works of world renowned masters from baroque era to the present days, not only symphonic compositions, but also spiritual ones (cantatas and oratorios) and important operas - they take part in "Tribute to Verdi" festival in Brno every year.

Czech Virtuosi are invited every year to participate in great international festivals (in Austria, France, Belgium, Spain - including Catalan festivals, Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, Germany and others). Their most prestigious concerts include concerts at the famous Konzerthaus in Vienna, in Munich, in Salzburg and a concert tour in Japan in 2003. They premiered John Rutter's Requiem in the Czech Republic, and at the first "Leoš Janáček Festival", the orchestra performed the composer's opera Cunning Little Vixen in a unique reduced version for 17 musical instruments.

The orchestra's guests included not only the best Czech instrumentalists, singers and choirs, but also prominent guests from abroad. More than thirty excellent artists from USA, Austria, France, Japan, Germany, Malaysia, Korea, Belgium, Poland and other countries have stood in front of the orchestra as its conductors.

The audience and professional critiques appreciate the purity of style, colourfulness, perfect interplay and spontaneous musicality of Czech Virtuosi. (www.czechvirtuosi.cz)

Spa Theatre ("Lázeňské divadlo")

Accompanying programme

1-18 July 2016

  JANÁČEK'S TUNES exhibition / Leoš Janáček Foundation

Vincentka Hall

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

"A land of beauty, a quiet people, its dialect as soft as though you were cutting butter." Leoš Janáček

Spa Square ("Lázeňské náměstí")
Lazne Luhacovice, a.s., Lazenske namesti 436, 763 26 Luhacovice, Czech Republic, Phone: +420 724 585 773, E-mail: hrbacova@lazneluhacovice.cz
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