From the House of the Dead / Glagolitic Mass

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January 1970

Act 1
The days in the Czar‘s prison on the river Irtysh are all one like the next: miserable and endlessly long. The prisoners await a newcomer to their ranks, supposedly a „nobelman“. The guards lead Alexander Petrovich Goryanchikov, who simply for the fact that he proclaims him self to be a political prisoner, is immediately tortured. The prisoners who hear his screams gather round the cage of an injured eagle. They would like to set free the eagle at the very least and telease it from its cage; however, the eagle is unable to fly. The return of the guards compels the prisoners to concentrate on their co pulsory work., which they make more pleasant by singing and telling stories. While stitching footwear, Luka Kuzmitch, who stoad up to top military ranks and in fact killed his major because he was tyrannizing him., begins recounting his fate in life. Meamwhile, a guard leads the tortured Goryanchikov who is so weak that he can barely stand on his feet.
Act 2
A year goes by. Goryanchikov if befriended by a young Tatar youth named Alyeya who is reminiscing about his home. There is a reasonably good atmosphere at the prison as it is a holiday and the inmates are permitted to rest instead of working, are given better quality food and drink, and are preparing for individual performances. While preparing, one of them, Skuratov, tells his story: he shot a German who had lured away his beloved. meanwhile a provisional stage had been constructed and the play about Kedril and Juan which the inmates themselves would perform could begin.It greatly entertains everyone and allows them to forget the misery which surrounds them for at least a while. Unfortunately not for very long: one of the prisoners, considerably drunk, seriously injures Alyeya.
Act 3
Alyeya is taken to the infirmary. one of the other patients, Shapkin, recounts that he was sentenced simply for vagrancy. As it gets dark, the elderly prisoner is remembering his childern in prayer. At the infirmary lies the dying Luka Kuzmitch: although groaning and breathing with difficulty, he is however conscious and listening to the story that Shiskov is recounting. He knew Akulina, a wealthy woman whose honour was publicly defamed by the solf-assured Filka Morozov. That was why she was given to the impoverished Shiskov as his wife. On their wedding night he discovered that Akulina was innocent. When it came to be know that in spite of all of Filka‘s accusations, she was still passionately in love with him, Shiskov killed her out of jealousy. At those last words, Luka takes his last breath. Shiskov leans over towards him and suddenly recognizes him to be Filka Morozov. The guards era summoned and drag away the dead body. They are now searching for Goryanchikov, who immediately afterwards learms from the site commander that he is to be released. He bids the inmates farewell, especially Alyeya, and departs a free man. At the same time, the eagle is also set free; its wing now fully healed. The prisoners remain between the high walls where the days are all one like the next: miserable and endlessly long.

Program and cast

Production team:

Director: Jiří Heřman

Stage design: Tomáš Rusín
Lighting design: Jiří Heřman
Costumes: Zuzana Štefunková Rusínová
Choirmaster: Pavel Koňárek
Dramaturgy: Patricie Částková



Roman Hoza, Gianluca Zampieri, Tigran Hakobyan, Lukáš Bařák, Jan Šťáva, Kateřina Kněžíková, Jarmila Balážová and others.

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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