The Czech repertoire of the National Theatre in the 2016/17 season will be extended to include a remarkable experimental creation by Václav Kašlík (1917–1989), one of the greatest and most versatile 20th-century Czech opera composers. A conductor and opera director, he mainly worked for the National Theatre in Prague, yet he also attained renown abroad. Kašlík based his second opera on Karel Čapek’s 1922 novel Krakatit, a philosophical science-fiction work, which in the form of a parable predicted the rapid development of modern science and, most significantly, the path of human civilisation to the very brink of extinction. At the present time, amid the world’s polarisation and new types of unceasing brutality and fanaticism, Čapek’s novel has acquired unthought-of connections. Kašlík’s opera Krakatit draws upon a dynamic scenario blending the real world and the world of delusion, and is characterised by sharp cuts and contrasts, with the score combining contemporary classical music experiments with jazz and pop. The libretto was co-created by the Czech film director Otakar Vávra, who had previously adapted Čapek’s novel into a movie, starring Karel Höger in the lead role of Ing. Prokop. The operatic version of Krakatit, written in 1960, was cinematised too, in the following year by its creator himself. At the time, the opera was also premiered in Ostrava. The National Theatre hosted the first performance of Kašlík’s Krakatit in 1966. Our production will mark the centenary of the composer’s birth.
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