Janáček’s The Excursions of Mr. Brouček coming to National Theatre

The First Republic satirical opera is still relevant in the current political climate

The National Theatre is premiering a new production of Leoš Janáček’s opera The Excursions of Mr. Brouček on March 22, with a second premiere on March 25.

The satirical opera had its first performance ever in 1920 at the National Theatre and is being brought back for the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Czechoslovakia.

And it is a fitting choice. The work is closely ties to Czech culture. The opera is based on two fantasy-filled Svatopluk Čech novels: The True Excursion of Mr. Brouček to the Moon and The Epoch-making Excursion of Mr. Brouček, this time to the 15th Century.

The opera has again become timely, as society finds itself torn between high ideals and the forces of populism.

“Besides grand celebratory gestures, we can also expect deliberations on where and how (and whether at all) the Czech people have progressed over the past one hundred years. Opera is not usually capable of promptly reflecting the ‘burning questions of the present,’ yet we have available a work that … simply cannot not be staged at the National Theatre in 2018: Janáček’s opera The Excursions of Mr. Brouček, an absurd burlesque about the chronic moral insufficiencies of the Czech man, or – even better – little man,” the National Theatre states.

Both the source novels and the opera use satire and irony to explore human nature. Mr. Brouček is an unrefined and hard-drinking landlord in Prague who experiences a series of fantastic events as he travels to the moon and then to the Hussite uprising in 1420. In both excursions, Brouček encounters characters who are transformed versions of his earthly acquaintances. Audiences might recognize a similar narrative structure to The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy is transported to a fantasy world and meets versions of people she knows.

“Janáček’s indisputably most comical opera took some nine years (1908–17) to write, as the composer strove to furnish it with an appropriate final form. The Excursions of Mr. Brouček’s difficult genesis and journey to the stage of the National Theatre in Prague coincided with the very years of the no less complicated inception and building up of the Czechoslovak Republic,” the National Theatre states.

While many productions portray the main role for easy laughs, this new one will try to take a more difficult view of Mr. Brouček and shows him as a bit unsympathetic in the hopes people will recognize the same bad qualities in themselves.

Stage director Sláva Daubnerová focuses mainly on contemporary theater and dance using new media, and this production will use video art and projection. In recent years, she has appeared as a guest author, director and actress in several theaters in her native Slovakia and abroad, and has won several awards.

Jaroslav Březina will play the lead role of Mr. Brouček. He is a soloist of the National Theatre and has extensive experience with Czech composers, having played roles in The Bartered Bride, The Devil’s Wall, The Jacobin, The Devil and Kate, Jenůfa, Káťa Kabanová, The Cunning Little Vixen, The Greek Passion, Juliette, and many others, not to mention roles in Mozart’s opera and other classics. He won the Thálie Award 2015.

Video on YouTube

Related articles

  • 'Movie Barf Monday' - a weekly English friendly film night by Ryan Keating

    Movie Barf and Edison Filmhub are thrilled to present 'Movie Barf Monday' - a weekly English friendly film night dedicated to screening a diverse variety of award-winning contemporary and classic films in the new Edison Filmhub cinema and bar located in Prague's old town.

  • The Prague Orgy - a new Czech film in English in Czech cinemas by Michal Kráčmer


  • Festival 4+4 Days in Motion by Eliška Míkovcová (4+4 Festival)

    Festival 4+4 Days in Motion to start in Desfours Palace, this year’s slogan is Nobody Has Anything

  • Lunchmeat Festival 2019—Dark Stars on the Horizon by Tony Ozuna - (Photo Lunchmeat Festival)

    Lunchmeat Festival returns to Prague at the end of September as the leading arena for cutting-edge electronic music and with more audio-visual punch than ever before. Their new motto is a challenge to the mainstream: “obsessed with audio-visual mindf**cks— & those who question the status quo.”

  • The Best European Locations For Hen & Stag Do's by Lucy Stevens

    Alpha Travel Insurance have ranked Europe's top Stag and Hen do destinations and indexed them based on factors including the cost of flights and hotel, the cost of a pint and the number of bars and activities available to find out which city comes out on top.

  • Circus and Theatre Festival Letní Letná Kicks off Next Week by Paul Lysek

    The "Leave the Crowd Speachless" Summer Circus Festival is back for its 16th Season at Letna.

  • Events for the week of August 19 - 23 by Narmin Ismiyeva

    We've highlighted five events for this week including The Great Beauty, Latino Anděl and Festival of Illustration.

  • Events for the weekend 17 - 18 August by Narmin Ismiyeva

    Are you making plans for the weekend? We've highlighted six events including the 1981 Secondhand Festival, beer tasting in the Botanical Garden, Etnopicnic and a lesson of Argentine tango atop Lucerna. 

  • Events for the weekend 3 - 4 August by Narmin Ismiyeva

    Are you making plans for the weekend? We've selected six events including the Czech version of the famous South Asian festival of love and colors that will take place on Střelecký Island on Saturday.

  • Events for the week 29 July - 2 August by Narmin Ismiyeva

    Are you in Prague this week looking for things to do? We have one event for each day, including yoga in Stromovka and screening of Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel in Karlín.

Facebook comments

T.G.I. Friday's (Příkopy)

A true legend in the restaurant industry - TGI Friday's

KUKBURG - Farm to table

Our meat and products straight to your table

Burrito Loco Spálená

Tasty Fresh Mexican fast food in Prague

Norbert’s donuts

Superb Donuts in the heart of Prague

Charles Bridge Museum

Discover the history of Prague’s famous Charles Bridge

Trabant Museum Prague

Trabant Museum @ STK Motol

Army Museum Žižkov

Armádní muzeum Žižkov

National Memorial to the...

Národní památník hrdinů heydrichiády


Prague’s # 1 source for Czech news in English…


Expat and Czech Business Professional Network


German Language Info Service