Performances begin April 4 in Brooklyn for the Brooklyn Academy of Music's limited run of Czech composer Leoš Janáček's autobiographical The Diary of One Who Disappeared.
In this contemporary staging from Flemish opera company Muziektheater Transparant, Tony-winning director Ivo van Hove sets the 22-part song cycle in modern-day and weaves in extracts from Janáček’s real-life love letters.
In 1917, Janáček became entranced with Kamila Stösslová, a married woman 40 years his junior to whom he would end up writing over 700 love letters. She became the muse for lead characters in three of his operas and the inspiration for other musical works, including Diary of One Who Disappeared—the story of a village boy named Janíček who falls in love with Zefka, a Romany girl.
In van Hove's production, composer Annelies Van Parys has woven the poetry of Romani women into Janáček’s score to bring the character of Zefka to the forefront. She is played by mezzo-soprano Marie Hamard.
Diary of One Who Disappeared, which plays at BAM through April 6, also stars tenor Andrew Dickinson and Wim van der Grijn. Lada Valešová is on the piano, and Raphaële Green, Annelies Van Gramberen, and Naomi Beeldens are the choir trio.
The production features dramaturgy by Krystian Lada, set and lighting design by Jan Versweyveld, and costume design by An D’Huys. Lada Valesova is the music director; Romain Gilbert is the assistant director; and Ramón Huijbrechts is the assistant scenographer.