Ervin Schulhoff - Flames

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November 2022

Act 1

Scene 1, Nocturne

The Shadows sing of the sexual power of Don Juan, and of the passion which La Morte feels for him. To the sound of a solo flute, Juan enters a dark, abandoned house to seduce yet another woman. Her ecstatic moans can be heard.

Scene 2, Song of Fire

The Shadows sing of a woman, whose desire for Don Juan is so great that she imagines his body in the colour of flame.

Scene 3, Midnight Mass

Don Juan, determined to atone for his debauched behaviour, enters a church during midnight mass, but is seduced by a nun. La Morte plays Gloria on the organ, while the foxtrot plays outside.

Scene 4, Chimera

Don Juan climbs a mountain of naked female bodies. At the summit he finds La Morte, who is waiting for him.

Scene 5, Gallery

Don Juan enters a gallery of statues. It is full of male statues depicting his dead ancestors, who unlike him were able to find their way to happiness.

Scene 6, Conversation

Don Juan converses with a woman, the same one that had previously appeared to him as a nun. Their discussion is disturbed when Don Juan has a vision of another woman. Her body has the colour of flame.

Scene 7, The Storm, and Dialogue with the Sea

Markéta and Don Juan are making love during a storm. La Morte appears and kills Markéta. Don Juan stands before the sea and speaks of his longing for death.

Act 2

Scene 8, Carnival Night

It’s carnival night. Don Juan and Donna Anna dance the foxtrot amidst a group of commedie dell’arte mimes. The Harlequin predicts a scene of horror that is to occur at midnight. Donna Anna refuses Don Juan’s loving advances and tells him: “You are a faithful image of death.” Juan then murders Donna Anna’s husband, Komtur, and Donna Anna commits suicide.

Scene 9, The Feast

Don Juan is trying in vain to revive Donna Anna when suddenly a group of naked ladies begin dancing around him. He is unable to stop them, and so he calls out to La Morte in his desire for her. La Morte says that he will be closer to her when alive than dead. Above Don Juan, Komtur utters a curse, condemning him to eternal life. Upon hearing this, Don Juan shoots himself, but instead of dying he is transformed into an even younger man.

Scene 10, Nocturne

Don Juan, condemned to the desperate repetition of his cyclical life, to the accompaniment of the same flute solo, re-enters the darkened house where the opera began in order to seduce another victim.  La Morte and the Shadows lurk in the dark and sing, and the last words of the opera belong to La Morte: “Salvation is so distant – once again”.

Program and cast

Production team:

Director: Calixto Bieito

Set design: Calixto Bieito, Anna Sofia Kirsch

Costumes: Paula Keller


In the leading roles:

Don Juan: Denys Pivnitsky

La Morte: Tone Kummervold

Woman / Nun / Donna Anna: Světlana Sozdetaleva

Janáček Theatre

Janáček Theatre is a theatre situated in the city of Brno, Czech Republic. It is a part of the National Theatre in Brno. It was built from 1960 to 1965, and opened in October 1965. During its existence, the theatre has premiered around 20 operas and ballet performances.




The building of Janáček Theatre, the youngest of the buildings of National Theatre in Brno, was planned from the early 20th century. From 1910 to 1957, seven architectural competitions were held to find the best design and project of the building. Around 150 architects participated in the competitions, among them several notable exponents of Czech arts and architecture: Bohuslav Fuchs, Josef Gočár, Vlastislav Hofman, Josef Chochol, Pavel Janák, Jan Kotěra and others. The proposed designs span a wide range of architectural styles documenting the history and development of the Czech architecture in the first half of the 20th century. The styles include historicism, Art Nouveau, Cubism, modernism, Functionalism, Socialist realism and classicising Neofunctionalism.

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