26 Mar 2009
The Janácek affair
Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London.
Michael Downes [Times Literary Supplement, 25 March 2009]
With an instinct for dramatic timing worthy of his subject, John Tyrrell lifts the curtain on the second volume of his biography of Leos Janácek, Tsar of the Forests, just as the central event of the composer’s career is about to take place. Jenufå, Janácek’s fourth opera, received its first Prague performance at the National Theatre on June 26, 1916, thirteen years after the company had rejected the work and twelve years after its successful premiere in Brno, the composer’s home town. The Prague unveiling began Janácek’s rapid transformation from respected provincial choirmaster and pedagogue to internationally renowned composer. But as Tyrrell brilliantly shows, the ripples spread still wider, setting processes in train that left no aspect of Janácek’s complex personal and professional life unaffected.