Tribute to Leoš Janáček
The Diary of One Who Disappeared
Date of EventSaturday, 19. 5. 2018 from 17.00
Expected end of the concert 18.10
Event placePrague Conservatoire Concert Hall
Price300 CZK Sold out
- Leoš Janáček: selection of songs
- Leoš Janáček: Piano Sonata 1. X. 1905
- Leoš Janáček: The Diary of One Who Disappeared
- Eva Garajová - mezzo-soprano
- Jaroslav Březina - tenor
- Marián Lapšanský - piano
- Lucie Laubová - female voice
- Michaela Rósza Růžičková - female voice
- Petra Vondrová - female voice
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Eva Garajová – My Own Diary about the “Diary”
The Diary of One Who Disappeared and Leoš Janáček have been a special part of my life because of three debuts: at the State Opera in Prague as Varvara in Káťa Kabanová, at Prague Spring in the Glagolitic Mass under the baton of Sir Charles Mackerras, and at the festival in Como, Italy (Autunno musicale) for the first time together with Leo Marian Vodička and Marián Lapšanský in The Diary of One Who Disappeared.
There have been whole studies written about what makes The Diary such an exceptional work. From the perspective of my character Zefka, who has only an episodic role in comparison with the tenor, The Diary is still really all about her… It is a kind of miniature Carmen, if I may make such a comparison. In its chamber music form, it presents us with a credible story from everyday life, placed in the familiar setting of “grandmother’s village”. It does without any props, without anything flashy, and it evokes in us a nostalgia for the golden age of our ancestors and for traditions.
We find an undeniable parallel with Carmen in the seductiveness and sex appeal of the “exotic gypsy girl”. This is no well brought up girl, nor a beauty, let alone someone chaste or godly. She is an element, a revolt, a mutiny against conventions. She embodies the exact opposite of what the parents would want for their son… Zefka is one of a minority of characters who depart from the majority of naïve, love-struck girls. She enjoys her spontaneity. The love that she celebrates is above all sensuous, the joy of life (and of sex) does not abandon her even at the moment of death (or “disappearance”).
In the role of the youth, whether José or JD, we are witnessing the confrontation of nature with society, atavism, the call of blood, the conflict between one’s own will and the expectations of one’s environment, the remorse connected therewith… but we pursue what we want, not letting ourselves be bound. The tenor’s performance must contain all of that in a single evening. It is a demanding part with the most difficult possible conclusion.
The Diary remains very popular on stages around the world. At smaller concerts and outside of larger cities, however, it is still neglected (we should not overlook that finding a tenor capable of pulling off The Diary is a challenge all by itself). I know from my own experience that part of the public is still worried about an evening of Janáček being too demanding.
Let us not fear The Diary or underestimate the audience. The music is a guarantee of the supreme artistic experience. The varied nature of the cycle will keep you in suspense throughout the whole evening.
Our responsibility and task as performers is to carry you away, even if for just one evening, to the village of our ancestors and to bring their old loves back to life.
In the selections from Moravian Folk Poetry, I have mainly followed my heart, but there is also a reference or connection to The Diary in the song Loučení (Parting). The other songs (Koníčky milého, Vzkázání, and Jabúčko) date from a different period of JD’s life, before he met his fateful Zefka…