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Here I am, Orlando (2024)

I love trees that have been growing for thousands of years… Does time pass around us or do we pass in time? Are there people among us who can create their own inner time that lasts for ages? Orlando or Orlanda, what does it matter to name an identity, what others judge and feel the need to label when the only thing that matters is the freedom in our heart and soul. That’s the only way we can walk through time and see…

Another new opera work is being commissioned for the Janáček Opera of the National Theatre Brno. The author is the excellent Slovak composer Lubica Čekovská, who is no newcomer to the world of opera and whose last opera Impresario was premiered at the Bregenz Festival. The libretto was inspired by the fascinating novel Orlando by English writer Virginia Woolf – a literary journey across the centuries, from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I to 1928, with the young nobleman and poet Orlando. The opera takes us into the courtroom where the decision is being made as to whether Orlando is a man or a woman. Through individual testimonies, we get a glimpse into the turning points of Orlando’s life. The loss of the first great love, the search for solitude and a new identity, a mysterious sleep revealing the thin line between life and death. Orlando loves, creates and changes, and here the opera pays homage to the liberating power of imagination and art, and the ability to perceive the present moment.

Libretist: Viktoria Knotková
Director: Jiří Heřman

World premiere: 14 June 2024 at the Janáček Theatre

Staged in the English original with Czech, English and German subtitles.