Prague National Theatre Orchestra, Jaroslav Kyzlink

Janáček: The Excursions of Mr. Brouček

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Catalogue Number: SU 4339-2
Published: 21st June 2024
Genre: Opera
Format: 2 CD
Leoš Janáček (1854–1928) – An opera in two parts (The Excursion of Mr. Brouček to the Moon, The Excursion of Mr. Brouček to the Fifteenth Century). Libretto by Leoš Janáček, František Serafínský Procházka, Viktor Dyk and František Gellner. Recorded in line with Jiří Zahrádka’s new critical edition (Universal Edition).

Jaroslav Březina, Aleš Briscein, František Zahradníček, Alžběta Poláčková, Jiří Sulženko, Jiří Brückler, Roman Janál, Martin Šrejma, Josef Moravec, Doubravka Součková, Stanislava Jirků. Prague National Theatre Chorus and Orchestra, chorusmaster Pavel Vaněk, conductor Jaroslav Kyzlink

In April 1920, following 12 years of intricate work, Leoš Janáček’s The Excursions of Mr. Brouček premiered at the National Theatre in Prague, the one and only work of his to do so. A century later, the self-same theatre’s soloists, chorus and orchestra returned to the “Broučekiad” at the Rudolfinum in Prague. The present studio recording, after Neumann’s and Jílek’s only the third in the Supraphon catalogue, was thus in part made owing to the closure of theatres and concert halls during the recent Covid pandemic.
Janáček dedicated The Excursions of Mr. Brouček to T. G. Masaryk, the first President of the newly founded Czechoslovak Republic. Declining to celebrate the two nations’ acquired freedom and statehood by foregrounding Saint Wenceslas, Charles IV or another great figure of Czech history, the composer chose as the protagonist of his “national” opera one Mr. Brouček, a narrow-minded oaf, coward, hypocrite, liar, boor and drunkard. A man overly fond of food and beer, possessing a simplistic worldview, suspicious of everything different and unaccustomed, loathing artists and intellectuals. In The Excursion of Mr. Brouček to the Moon, his crassness clashes with the Moonlings’ aesthetic, highbrow affectation, while in The Excursion of Mr. Brouček to the Fifteenth Century his unflinching self-centeredness, servility and mendacity contrast starkly with the ideals of the uncompromising Hussite warriors, fighting for “God’s truth”. As Janáček himself put it: “Brouček embodies our pettiness; made for stage.” One hundred years down the road, this picture of the “ordinary Czech” is still befitting, worthy of exposing. The new album features Jaroslav Březina, brilliantly portraying the lead character, and other distinguished Czech singers, under the seasoned conductor Jaroslav Kyzlink.
A significant role in enhancing the recording’s quality is played by spatial feeling of the recording process itself as well as by the Dvořák Hall’s splendid acoustics and colourful sound. By releasing the album, the National Theatre in Prague commemorates the 170th anniversary of the birth of Leoš Janáček, the most globally renowned of Czech opera composers.

Janáček’s “Mr. Brouček” on a new recording – still up-to-date after one hundred years…

CD 1

Leoš Janáček
The Excursions of Mr. Brouček, JW I/7
1. Introduction 03:34
2. Act 1: Can One Believe Men 05:50
3. Act 1: Love, Yes, Love´s Charming Flower 02:25
4. Act 1: Málinka! I´ve a Diamond 06:21
5. Act 1: Ha! Ha! What Monster Does Frigtten My Astonished Eye! 04:26
6. Act 1: You Have Never yet Known Love 05:13
7. Act 1: Fright Now Spreads from You Just like from Medusa! 05:48
8. Act 2: This Meloda, Yes Indeed, but on the Bombardon! 06:07
9. Act 2: Dance - You Clown, You! - You, Titan of Songs! 03:04
10. Act 2: O Sweet Creature, You! 08:17
11. Act 2: Come Here! 06:12
12. Act 2: You´re Dearer to Me 03:57
13. Act 2: Interlude 03:50
14. Act 2: With Lasting Laurels I Adorn Your Curls 04:30

CD 2

Leoš Janáček
The Excursions of Mr. Brouček, JW I/7
1. Act 1: There Were Deep Undergreound Passages 03:11
2. Act 2: Help! Help! 04:41
3. Act 1: O, You Sun of That Great Day 03:18
4. Act 1: We Must Remember Well This Newly Found Short-Cut! 06:04
5. Act 1: The Day of the Lord Begins! 02:10
6. Act 2: Introduction - If I Weren´t Sitting Here 06:35
7. Act 2: Here They Come from Church Service 05:11
8. Act 2: Alas, the Name of Czechs Has Been Dragged 09:12
9. Act 2: Hurrah, Tábor! 04:45
10. Act 2: Change of Scene - Hejsasa! Hejsasa! 04:51
11. Act 2: Look, One Is Crouching Here! 04:35
12. Act 2: He Too Went with Us 03:03
13. Act 2: Change of Scene - Ah! Ah! Ah! 03:34

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