The Weekly Brouček
There's not long until The Adventures of Mr Brouček opens and every week until the production finishes, we'll be bringing you fun facts, figures and interesting little stories about the production, the opera and the composer.
This week, the Moon - Mr Brouček's destination...
· The moon is not round or spherical, it is in fact shaped like an egg. As we look at the moon from earth, the smaller tip of the ‘egg’ is facing right at us.
· We know that the pull of the moon’s gravity affects the tides on earth, but did you also know that the moon is actually decreasing the Earth’s rotational energy? The Earth’s rotation slows by 1.5 milliseconds every century due to the gravitational pull from the moon.
· The moon is around 4.6 billion years old, about the same age as Earth.
· The moon takes 27.3 days to complete one full rotation in its own axis. During this time temperatures reach 117 degrees Celsius when the surface is in the sun and drop to – 169 degrees when the same spot is in the dark.
· The Moon was known as Luna to the Romans; Selene and Artemis to the Ancient Greeks and Coyolxauhqui to the Aztecs.
· In 1835, The New York Sun published a series of six articles about the supposed discovery of animals including unicorns, two legged beavers and humans with wings like bats which had been sighted with a very large telescope. The articles were attributed to famous British astronomer John Herschel and sparked ferocious public debate for weeks. The newspaper never publicly admitted the hoax.
· 12 humans have walked on the moon, all between 1969 and 1972. So far, they have all been American males.
· The longest time spent on the moon by astronauts was by the astronauts of Apollo 17. The astronauts spent 74 hours, 59 minutes 38 seconds.
All you need to know about Janáček...
· Leoš Janáček was a Czech composer, musical theorist, folklorist, publicist and teacher. His interest and study of Moravian and Slavic folk music inspired him to fuse their stories and rhythms with classical music, an innovation which created a highly original new style. Influences included fellow Czech composers Dvořák and Smetana, alongside the operatic genius of Puccini.
· His opera Jenůfa was the first great example of his unique style and is often referred to as the ‘Moravian national opera’. It premiered in1916 to great acclaim, propelling Janáček onto the global opera stage.
· He was born and based in Brno, the capital of Moravia in the modern day Czech Republic. All of his operas except Mr Brouček premiered there – due to the success of Jenůfa four years previously, Mr Brouček afforded an opening on the prestigious Prague stage.
· Although composing throughout his career, Janáček didn’t experience real success or acclaim until later in life. The majority of his masterworks were composed in the last 10 years of his life, in a sustained outpouring of creativity.
· Janáček had a tumultuous home-life. In 1903, his daughter Olga died after battling a long illness, an experience that left him emotionally exhausted and put a strain on his marriage to wife Zdenka. In 1916, Zdenka attempted suicide after learning of Janáček’s affair with soprano Gabriela Horvátová. From this time until Janáček’s death 12 years later, they lead separate lives in the same house.
· Many of Janáček’s later works - like Kátya Kabanová - were inspired by his muse, Kamila Stösslová, who was 38 years his junior. He conducted an obsessive correspondence of nearly 730 letters with her, despite her ambivilance to the relationship. His String Quartet No. 2, subtitled Intimate Letters, is based on this correspondance.
For more information about the production and how to buy tickets, visit the Mr Brouček opera page.