Václav Věžník, One of the Last Traditional Opera Directors, Turns 90

Václav Věžník is an important figure in the world of Czech opera of the second half of the 20th century. He will turn 90 on August 1st.

Over the course of his more than half-century-long career, professor Václav Věžník has created over 200 productions both home and abroad, almost half of them in the city of Brno. After his studying directing at the JAMU Academy in Brno, under Josef Munclinger and Ota Zítek, he became the assistant director, and later director, at the State opera Brno (now part of the National Theater Brno.)

L. Janáček: Příhody lišky Bystroušky, 1970 (Pictured: Jaroslava Janská, in background)
L. Janáček: Jenůfa, 1972 (Pictured: Jarmila Palivcová)
L. Janáček: Věc Makropulos, 1978 (Pictued: Gita Abrahámová, Jiří Olejníček)

Even some of his first independent productions (for example Don Pasquale in 1955 or Il Barbiere di Siviglia, 1957), demonstrate his sensitivity for blending the score with the demands of the libretto, his ability to guide singers toward powerful performances, and his understanding of the visual aspects of theatrical works. His aim was never to shock the viewer through unexpected interpretations but, rather, to create a compelling artistic representation of the work at hand. He dedicated himself to Classical, Romantic and modern operas by both Czech and world composers.

Václav Věžník (second from right) and the soloists of Don Pasquale, 1955

To honor his legacy, the National Theater in Brno will dedicate a performance of The Greek Passion by Bohuslav Martinů to the famed director on October 20th.

On July 2nd, the Bohuslav Martinů Foundation presented professor Věžník with an honorary medal for “his lifelong care for the operatic works of Bohuslav Martinů.” The director of the foundation, professor Jiří Hlaváč, presented him with the medal at the Music School of JAMU in Brno.

B. Martinů: Veselohla na mostě, 1960
B. Martinů: Ženitba, 1960 (Pictured: Jadwiga Vysoczanská, Libuše Lesmanová)
B. Martinů: Veselohla na mostě, 1960 (Pictured: Helena Burianová, Vlastimil Šíma)
G. Verdi: Nabucco, 1985 (Pictured: Richard Haan)
G. Verdi: Il Trovatore, 1964 (Pictured: René Tuček, Hana Svobodová, Jiří Olejníček)
G. Verdi: Macbeth, 1987 (Pictured: Eva Gebauerova, Richard Haan)

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