A new production of the opera Brundibár by Hans Krása was presented during this year’s mid-season festival held by Opéra de Lyon. Composed in 1938 yet premiered and more than fifty times reprised not until five years afterwards at the Theresienstadt concentration camp by the deported Jewish children, this over 30-minute-long children’s opera is, according to the production’s director Jeanne Candel, most importantly a story of human persistance. Not only this links her to this year’s festival theme, which is ‘humanité’ – humanity.
The co-production between Opéra de Lyon and Comédie de Valence was staged at the Lyon’s Théâtre de la Croix-Rousse on 29 March for the first time and repeated daily till April 3 with the exception of the last day of March when the performance had to be cancelled due to the General Confederation of Labour’s strike. The opera was sung in French, with the baritone Mathieu Gardon starring as Brundibár, the piece’s main evil character, while other singers, children’s choir and the orchestra were conducted by Karine Locatelli. Brundibár was not the only Czech opera on the festival’s programme – Viktor Ullmann’s The Emperor of Atlantis was played five times together in Lyon in Richard Brunel’s production from 2013.
29 March 2016, Théâtre de la Croix-Rousse, Lyon, France
Hans Krása: Brundibár (1938-43)
Director: Jeanne Candel, conductor: Karine Locatelli