Spectacular staging featured more than 220 artists. Martinů wrote The Miracles of Mary between 1933 and 1934 while he was living in Paris. The Miracles of Mary has an unusual structure. It is made up of four separate parts, that although are highly contrasted, fit together like a masterfully assembled mosaic: “The Wise and Foolish Virgins” (prologue & drama); “Mariken of Nimégue” (miracle); “The Nativity” (pastoral drama); “Sister Paskalina” (legend). In October 1935, Martinů was awarded a State Prize for his opera The Miracles of Mary which at the time was the most distinguished award won by the forty-five year old composer.
"Martinů’s previous operatic works had a decidedly cosmopolitan character - notably a series of operas set to French librettos. In contrast, The Miracles of Mary is full of simple and unaffected music, derived from national songs. In the opera, there are also large choral scenes and it also features some of Martinů’s most spectacular and inspiring music.The multi-layer thought and genre structure of Plays of Mary is rooted in a unifying stage design and clear style of the means of expression. The two-storey row of doors in the back of the stage is complemented on both sides by five periaktoi, allowing for an almost imperceptible transformation of the scene to the currently required appearance, whether a medieval town or a forge. Tables as essential props serve as needed as beds, the interior of a tavern, a stake or a catafalque. Against the background of neutrally coloured, grey-blue scene, Heřman creates an imaginative story with poetics proprietary to his handwriting, especially working with light and movement. The postural stylisation and mostly slow, smooth movements of the characters, along with spectacular lighting, add other foldspace dimensions to the compact stage form, creating the impression of a constant oscillation between dreams and reality."
Vladimíra Kmečová, 29 March 2015, Recenzie, 2014/2015 season
About the company
Janacek Opera NdB belongs among the leading opera houses in Central Europe. During its existence, the opera ensemble has introduced significant productions, including world or Czechoslovak premieres (Janáček, Berg, Martinů, Shostakovich). Cooperates with theatres abroad (State Opera Vienna, Covent Garden Royal Opera), directors and conductors (D.Pountney,Ch. Mackerras, R. Carsen D. Radok, T.Hanus) as well as outstanding artists. Opera enemble spans its activities across Europe (i.e. Austria, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy) and regularly appears on tours in Japan.