Janáček's contacts with opera before the opening of the theatre in Veveří Street in 1884
Source document: Musicologica Brunensia. 2011, vol. 46, iss. 1-2, pp. -158
ISSN1212-0391 (print)2336-436X (online)
License: Not specified license
Janáček's interest in the operatic genre became evident only in the first half of the 1880s. Evidence of Janáček's childhood and youth contacts with opera is very rare. In fact the only source is Janáček's 1924 recollection – as a choral scholar in the Augustinian monastery in Staré Brno, he sang in the children's choir in Meyerbeer's Le prophète. This recollection would really be evidence of Janáček's first contact with opera, were it true, though, that this work was performed in Brno that year. Le prophète had been performed in the German Theare of Brno before even Janáček was born and then only when he was twenty. There are virtually no other venues in Brno where the opera could have been performed during Janáček's chilhood. The period production of theatre societies and amateur theatres concentrated almost exclusively on drama, with just some singing involved at the most. There are no records either of Janáček's visits as a student to the German theatre performances in Reduta nor later in the Interimstheater and the City theatre. The first evidence dates back to Janáček's Vienna years where he studied at the conservatoire and went to see Cherubini's Les deux journées and Weber's Freischütz in Hofoper in 1880. Once back in Brno, Janáček used to visit performances by the theatre society of Jan Pištěk in the entrance hall of Besední dům. His real interest in opera becomes evident in the summer months of 1883 when Janáček visited several operatic performances in the Prague Provisional theater. From then on, Janáček's primary interest is in the opera.