Musical Delicacies

— Early Music Concert Series —

250 Kč / 150 Kč / 90 Kč

E. M. — tears of Elina Makropulos (1585–1922)

Scenic composition for soprano, lute and solo dance inspired by Karel Čapek’s theatre play The Makropulos Case (1922).

Monday 12 November 2018 19:30  &
Tuesday 13 November 2018 19:30 — Hallway, Museum of Applied Arts, Husova 14, 602 00 Brno, Czech Republic  (Wheelchair accessible) .


Review: Magazine Harmonie, 20.11.2018: “A musical journey in time with the Tears of Elina Makropulos” (Marta Tužilová, in Czech).
Review: Opera Plus, 18.12.2018: “Tears of Elina Makropulos” (Helena Havlíková, in Czech).


Ivana Loudová (*1941) Canto meditativo
John Dowland (1563 – 1626) Flow my tears
John Dowland (1563 – 1626) Melancholy galiard
Claudio Monteverdi (1567 – 1643) Si dolce el’tormento
Giovanni Giacomo Gastoldi (cca. 1554 – 1609) A lieta vita
Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695) Sweeter than roses
Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695) Dear pretty youth
Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695) Not all my torments
Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695) Evening hymn
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791) Un moto di gioia   (Le Nozze di Figaro)
Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856) Seit ich ihn gesehen   (Frauenliebe und Leben, op. 42, no. 1)
Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856) Er, der Herrlichste von allen   (ibid., no. 2)
Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856) An meinem Herzen, an meiner Brust   (ibid., no. 7)
Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856) Nun hast du mir den ersten Schmerz getan   (ibid., no. 8)
Kurt Weill (1900 – 1950) Youkali   (Tango habanera)
Arvo Pärt (*1935) Vater Unser

About the programme

The life story and personal drama of the heroine of Karel Čapek’s (1890–1938) play The Makropulos Case (1922) became a major inspiration for this scenic composition for soprano, lute and solo dance. Based on the well-known tale of the mysterious “Makropulos Affair” and the ensuing immortality, the music changes over time, as the imaginary thread unfolds of a life prolonged for more than 300 years. Therefore, you will hear songs from the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods, as well as music of the 20th century. On a more general level, E. M.’s tale captures essential fateful moments in the live of a women, as well as the subtle tremors of her soul.

Elina Makropulos is at the beginning of the story a sixteen year old girl who is forced by her father, an alchemist at the court of Rudolf II, to try on herself his recipe for prolonging life, the elixir of youth. After a week of feverish agitation between life and death, life prevails and Elina begins to experience the fruits of immortality. She becomes a respected singer, men revolve around her, and she experiences fame and fortune. But she also is experiencing hardships and more and more losses of those whom she loved, and whom she must always survive. She migrates from country to country and changes her name, in order to avoid causing concern that she does not age. Her fame increases, and so does her inner emptiness. Finally she hates everything and everyone. The only thing holding her to live is her terrifying fear of death. After the public revelation of her secret at the end of the story, she realizes that she does not really want to live this way, and after more than 300 years, she does not take the potion that renews her life, and dies reconciled.

This story is a challenge, both for the director and the performers, because it captures a variety of expressions in a succession of totally different historical epochs, which Elina Makropulos and later Ellian MacGregor and Emilia Marty pass through. In this staging, you do not hear the spoken word; everything belongs to the music, singing, dancing, costumes and transformations of light.


I.  Renaissance

Elina Makropulos’ father, an alchemist of Emperor Rudolf II, tries out on her own body the formula known as “The Makropulos Case”. She is taken on this dangerous experiment, for a week she is torn between life and death with fever and excruciating pain. The experiment, however, succeeds, and the girl is given a life of 300 years. She enjoys a new, exhilarating feeling of a youth filled with beauty.

II.  Baroque

Of Elina has become a famous singer. As everyone around her are aging and she remains young, she gradually changes her country of residence and her name. The initials E. M. are the only thing she always kept. Glory, pride and the sense of invincibility have changed her. Flirting with men, she cheekily plays with them, capriciously and cold. For the first time she experiences the other side of the coin of “immortality”. With her closest friends long dead, she feels a deep loneliness and begins to blame her father for his act.

III.  Classicism

Elina Makropulos is the sovereign of the theater stage, this is her real life, everything else is in ruins. Playing and hypocrisy. She experiences emptiness and boredom.

IV.  Romanticism

Elina meets a fateful man, a true love. Her life takes on meaning again, but not for long. Time is merciless towards all mortals except Elina, already now it is always her enemy. She outlives her child; her lover, whom she confided her secret to and gave him “The Makropulos Case”, did not survive the week of fever and pain.

V.  The year 1922

The end, cynicism, fear. What should she do? Elina feels that her strength is dwindling, her endless 300 years are over. Necessarily she has to regain “The Makropulos Case”. But does she really want to go on living? This terrible emptiness and loneliness, — she no longer feels anything, nothing at all. Just the terrible fear of death drives her forward. Eventually, however, comes the reconciliation and Elina voluntarily surrenders “The Makropulos Affair”. Her soul will finally come to a rest.

Gabriela Eibenová

Soprano Gabriela Eibenová has, after graduating from the Prague Conservatory and studying in London, been focusing primarily on concert activities and interpretation of Early Music. She performs at prestigious music festivals throughout Europe (Prague Spring, Smetana Litomyšl, Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht, MAfestival Bruges, Bach Festival Riga, Festival Internacional de Santander, Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music London) and has appeared in Israel and Japan. In 2000, she and the conductor and organist Adam Viktora founded the vocal-instrumental Ensemble Inégal, with the music of Jan Dismas Zelenka as its main theme. Their CD recordings repeatedly won prizes of prestigious international music critics (Gramophone Diapason d’Or, International Record Review IRR Outstanding, Goldberg Magazine 5 Stars)

Lenka Kniha Bartůňková

Lenka Kniha Bartůňková studied dance at the Duncan Centre in Prague and at the Folkwang-Hochschule in Germany. In 2008, she attended classes at La Caldera dance centre in Barcelona and created choreographies at the artistic centre Àrea Tangent. In 2005, she won the first prize in the Jarmila Jeřábková choreographic competition; in 2008, she received the main prize for emerging dancers at the Sazka (Czech lottery) choreographic competition with the choreography Knihovna; and she represented the Czech Republic at the EXPO 2010 international exhibition in Shanghai.

She worked in Spain with the Catalan choreographer Robert Olivan. She has collaborated with choreographers and artists such as Lorca Renoux, Samir Akika, La Fura dels Baus, Norbert Steinwartz, Ioana Mona Popovich, Chikako Kaido and Marcus Michalowsky. She performs with the German ensemble Renegade Theatre, which endeavours to link contemporary and street dance, break dance and visual art, and with which she performs at festivals around the world.

Lenka Bartůňková works as a dancer, pedagogue and choreographer; she is engaged in the production of dance films and is the founder of the FARO association, which links dance, theatre, music and visual art. She also organizes educational programmes (seminars, workshops).

Jan Čižmář

Jan Čižmář is a versatile performer focusing on historical plucked instruments. He performs regularly in Europe, Asia and the USA with ensembles such as Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Capella Cracoviensis, and under conductors such as Frans Brüggen, Christopher Hogwood, Giovanni Antonini, Yannick Nézet–Séguin and Christina Pluhar. He appears also as soloist with of baroque and renaissance repertoire.

After graduation in guitar and musicology in his native Brno he studied at the Royal College of Music in London, where he began playing the lute in the class of Jakob Lindberg. He continued his studies at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague with the teachers Nigel North, Joachim Held, Mike Fentross and Christina Pluhar.

He was the founder and editor of the Czech guitar magazine Kytara and contributes regularly to other musical periodicals. He is also intensely involved with publishing and research activities in the field of early music.

Jan Čižmář taught lute and related instruments at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice in Poland; currently he is teaching at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno and at the Academy of Ancient Music at Masaryk University in Brno. He regularly gives courses and masterclasses in Europe and overseas.

Magdalena Švecová

Magdalena Švecová (stage director) initially studied violin at the conservatories in České Budějovice (Budweis) and in Prague and at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna. In 2004 she graduated in opera direction under Alena Vaňáková, Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno (JAMU).

JAMU Chamber Opera saw for instance her productions of Milhaud’s L’abandon d’Ariane and Délivrance de Thésée, Markéta Dvořáková’s opera Žirafí, Leoš Janáček’s The Beginning of a Romance and his ballet Rákós Rákoczy (première within the International Festival Janáček Brno 2004). Other productions include Jaroslav Krček’s electroacoustical opera Raab The Harlot (2003) and Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale (2005), which was the opening performance of the renovated Reduta theatre in Brno.

For the Josef Kajetán Tyl Theatre in Pilsen, she directed Donizetti’s Don Pasquale (2005), Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (2007), Dvořák’s The Jacobin (2010) and Krček’s opera Šaty, jaké svět neviděl (2014). For the National Theatre in Prague she created a new form of Smetana’s opera The Bartered Bride.

As part of the Smetana Litomyšl festival in 2012 and 2013, she staged the baroque opera The Fairy Queen by Henry Purcell, and this year she performed J.-P. Rameau’s act de ballet Pigmalion. She is also devoted to teaching activities, specialized in stage movement within the musical drama genre.

Přemysl Janda

Přemysl Janda began as a designer for light commercials and shop lighting. After two years, he left this and joined the Estates Theatre (Prague) in the middle of 2002, where after three years of experience he became a light designer.

During his time he worked with many prominent directors, stage designers and light designers; for example, with Ursel and Karl-Ernst Herrmann, Hartmut Schörghofer, Joel Lauwers, Etienne Pluss, Guy Roberts, Ivan Rajmont, Michael Dočekal, Daniel Špinar, Daniel Tesar, Robert Wilson, A. J. Weissbard, David Radok.

Foto: Christopher Vinz

He created light design in the aforementioned Estates Theatre, but also on the New Stage; outside the National Theatre scene at the Mahen Theatre (Brno), at Théâtre La Monnaie / De Munt in Brussels, Théâtre de Caen – Opera House, Opéra de Dijon, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, the New Opera of the Slovak National Theatre, Opéra de Lille, or Opéra Royal / Château de Versailles.

As a light designer, he emphasizes the functionality and dramaturgy of light design and the technically perfect design for the performance.

Christopher Vinz

Christopher Vinz (costumes) is a sculptor, painter, illustrator and stage designer. He is a member of the Association of Medallists, his works have been exhibited in Prague, Brno and in galleries across the Czech Republic, as well as in London and Vienna. He began his theatre career working with costumes for Kent Opera, directed by Roger Norrington, and for regional theatres and the BBC. As a scenic artist he was involved with many productions for major London theatres including the English National Opera, Covent Garden and the Glyndebourne Festival. He was particularly pleased of his association with the well known Players’ Theatre annual Victorian Christmas “pantomimes”. As a costume designer he participated in operas of Collegium Marianum and of Collegium 1704 for the baroque theatre in Český Krumlov, on several projects with Andrea Miltnerova, and on musical and theatrical productions in Edinburgh and Istanbul.

Song texts

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1. Ivana Loudová: Canto meditativo
2. John Dowland: Flow my tears
Flow my tears, fall from your springs,
Exiled for ever: Let me mourn
where night’s black bird her sad infamy sings,
there let me live forlorn.

Down vain lights, shine you no more,
No nights are dark enough for those
that in despair their last fortunes deplore,
light doth but shame disclose.

Never may my woes be relieved,
since pity is fled,
and tears, and sighs, and groans
my weary days
of all joys have deprived.

From the highest spire of contentment,
my fortune is thrown,
and fear, and grief, and pain
for my deserts
are my hopes since hope is gone.

Hark you shadows that in darkness dwell,
learn to contemn light.
Happy, happy they that in hell
feel not the world’s despite.
3. John Dowland: Melancholy galiard
4. Claudio Monteverdi: Si dolce el’tormento
Si dolce è’l tormento
Ch’in seno mi sta,
Ch’io vivo contento
Per cruda beltà.
Nel ciel di bellezza
S’accreschi fierezza
Et manchi pietà:
Che sempre qual scoglio
All’onda d’orgoglio
Mia fede sarà.

La speme fallace
Rivolgam’ il piè.
Diletto ne pace
Non scendano a me.
E l’empia ch’adoro
Mi nieghi ristoro
Di buona mercè:
Tra doglia infinita,
Tra speme tradita
Vivrà la mia fè

Per foco e per gelo
riposo non hò.
Nel porto del cielo
riposo avrò.
Se colpo mortale
con rigido strale
Il cor m’impiagò,
cangiando mia sorte
Col dardo di morte
il cor sanerò.

Se fiamma d’amore
Già mai non sentì
Quel rigido core
Ch’il cor mi rapì,
Se nega pietate
La cruda beltate
Che l’alma invaghì:
Ben fia che dolente,
Pentita e languente
Sospirimi un dì.
5. Giovanni Giacomo Gastoldi: A lieta vita
A lieta vita
amor c’in vita
Fa la la la la la fa la la la.
Chi gior brama
se di cor ama
donerá il core
a un tal signore.
Fa la la la la la fa la la la.

Hor lieta homai
scacciando i guai
Fa la la la la la fa la la la.
Quanto ci resta
viviamo in festa
e diam l’honore
a un tal signore.
Fa la la la la la fa la la la.

Chi a lui non crede
Privo è di fede.
Fa la la la la la fa la la la.
Onde haver merta
Contra se aperta
L’ira e’l furore
D’un tal Signore.
Fa la la la la la fa la la la.

Ne fuggir giova
Ch’ogli ognun trova:
Fa la la la la la fa la la la.
Veloci ha l’ali
E foco e strali.
Dunque s’adore
Un tal Signore.
Fa la la la la la fa la la la.
6. Henry Purcell: Sweeter than roses
Sweeter than roses,
or cool evening breeze
On a warm flowery shore,
was the dear kiss,
First trembling made me freeze,
Then shot like fire all o’er.
What magic has victorious love!
For all I touch or see
since that dear kiss,
I hourly prove, all is love to me.
7. Henry Purcell: Dear pretty youth
Dear pretty youth, unveil your eyes,
How can you sleep when I am by?
Were I with you all night to be,
Methinks I could from sleep be free.
Alas, my dear, you’re cold as stone:
You must no longer lie alone.
But be with me my dear, and I in each arm
Will hug you close and keep you warm.
8. Henry Purcell: Not all my torments
Not all my torments can your pity move,
Your scorn increases with my love.
Yet to the grave I will my sorrow bear;
I love, tho’ I despair.
9. Henry Purcell: Evening hymn
Now, now that the sun hath veil’d his light
And bid the world goodnight;
To the soft bed my body I dispose,
But where shall my soul repose?
Dear, dear God, even in Thy arms,
And can there be any so sweet security!
Then to thy rest, O my soul!
And singing, praise the mercy
That prolongs thy days.
10. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Un moto di gioia
Un moto di gioia
Mi sento nel petto,
Che annunzia diletto
In mezzo il timor!

Speriam che in contento
Finisca l’affanno
Non sempre è tiranno
Il fato ed amor.

Lorenzo Da Ponte (1749–1838)
11. Robert Schumann: Seit ich ihn gesehen
Seit ich ihn gesehen,
Glaub’ ich blind zu sein;
Wo ich hin nur blicke,
Seh’ ich ihn allein;
Wie im wachen Traume
Schwebt sein Bild mir vor,
Taucht aus tiefstem Dunkel,
Heller nur empor.

Sonst ist licht- und farblos
Alles um mich her,
Nach der Schwestern Spiele
Nicht begehr’ ich mehr,
Möchte lieber weinen,
Still im Kämmerlein;
Seit ich ihn gesehen,
Glaub’ ich blind zu sein.

Adelbert von Chamisso (1781–1838)
12. Robert Schumann: Er, der Herrlichste von allen
Er, der Herrlichste von allen,
Wie so milde, wie so gut!
Holde Lippen, klares Auge,
Heller Sinn und fester Mut.

So wie dort in blauer Tiefe,
Hell und herrlich, jener Stern,
Also er an meinem Himmel,
Hell und herrlich, hehr und fern.

Wandle, wandle deine Bahnen,
Nur betrachten deinen Schein,
Nur in Demut ihn betrachten,
Selig nur und traurig sein!

Höre nicht mein stilles Beten,
Deinem Glücke nur geweiht;
Darfst mich niedre Magd nicht kennen,
Hoher Stern der Herrlichkeit!

Nur die Würdigste von allen
Darf beglücken deine Wahl,
Und ich will die Hohe segnen,
Segnen viele tausendmal.

Will mich freuen dann und weinen,
Selig, selig bin ich dann;
Sollte mir das Herz auch brechen,
Brich, o Herz, was liegt daran?

Adelbert von Chamisso (1781–1838)
13. Robert Schumann: An meinem Herzen, an meiner Brust
An meinem Herzen, an meiner Brust,
Du meine Wonne, du meine Lust!

Das Glück ist die Liebe, die Lieb’ ist das Glück,
Ich hab’ es gesagt und nehm’s nicht zurück.

Hab’ überglücklich mich geschätzt
Bin überglücklich aber jetzt.

Nur die da säugt, nur die da liebt
Das Kind, dem sie die Nahrung giebt;

Nur eine Mutter weiß allein,
Was lieben heißt und glücklich sein.

O, wie bedaur’ ich doch den Mann,
Der Mutterglück nicht fühlen kann!

Du schauest mich an und lächelst dazu,
Du lieber, lieber Engel, du!

An meinem Herzen, an meiner Brust,
Du meine Wonne, du meine Lust!
14. Robert Schumann: Nun hast du mir den ersten Schmerz getan
Nun hast du mir den ersten Schmerz getan,
Der aber traf.
Du schläfst, du harter, unbarmherz’ger Mann,
Den Todesschlaf.

Es blicket die Verlass’ne vor sich hin,
Die Welt ist leer.
Geliebet hab’ ich und gelebt, ich bin
Nicht lebend mehr.

Ich zieh’ mich in mein Inn’res still zurück,
Der Schleier fällt,
Da hab’ ich dich und mein verlornes Glück,
Du meine Welt!
15. Kurt Weill: Youkali
C’est presqu’au bout du monde,
ma barque vagabonde,
errant au gré de l’onde,
m’y conduisit un jour.
L’île est toute petite,
mais la fée qui l’habite
gentiment nous invite
à en faire le tour.

Youkali, c’est le pays de nos désirs,
Youkali, c’est le bonheur,
c’est le plaisir.
Youkali, c’est la terre où l’on
quitte tous les soucis,
c’est dans notre nuit,
comme une éclaircie.
l’étoile qu’on suit,
c’est Youkali!

Youkali, c’est le respect
de tous les vœux échangés.
Youkali, c’est le pays
des beaux amours partagés.
C’est l’espérance
qui est au cœur de tous les humains,
la délivrance
que nous attendons tous pour demain.

Youkali, c’est le pays de nos désirs,
Youkali, c’est le bonheur
c’est le plaisir,
mais c’est un rêve, une folie,
il n’y a pas de Youkali!

Et la vie nous entraîne,
lassante, quotidienne,
mais la pauvre âme humaine,
cherchant partout l’oubli,
a pour quitter la terre,
su trouver le mystère
où nos rêves se terrent
en quelque Youkali.

Youkali, c’est le pays de nos désirs,
Youkali, c’est le bonheur,
c’est le plaisir.
Youkali, c’est la terre où l’on
quitte tous les soucis,
c’est dans notre nuit,
comme une éclaircie,
l’étoile qu’on suit,
c’est Youkali!

Youkali, c’est le respect
de tous les vœux échangés,
Youkali, c’est le pays
des beaux amours partagés,
C’est l’espérance
qui est au cœur de tous les humains,
la délivrance
que nous attendons tous pour demain.

Youkali, c’est le pays de nos désirs,
Youkali, c’est le bonheur,
c’est le plaisir.
Mais c’est un rêve, une folie,
il n’y a pas de Youkali!

Roger Fernay (1905–1983)
16. Arvo Pärt: Vater Unser
Vater unser im Himmel,
geheiliget werde Dein Name.
Dein Reich komme,
Dein Wille geschehe,
wie im Himmel, so auf Erden.
Unser tägliches Brot gib uns heute
und vergib uns unsere Schuld,
wie auch wir vergeben unsern Schuldigern.
Und führe uns nicht in Versuchung,
sondern erlöse uns von dem Bösen.

Mt. 6:9–13

Thank you

The concert enjoys the auspices of the Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic Mgr. Daniel Herman and the Governor of the South Moravian Region JUDr. Bohumil Šimek.

The concert takes place with financial support from the Statutory City of Brno.

Logo of Ministry of Culture Jihomoravský kraj Logo Statutárního města Brna