Crocodiles from Svratka or Mozart in Brno – How Fables Turn into Truth
Josef Meszáros 6. June 2023 zdroj www.scena.cz
(...) The authors grasped the mystifying ballabile, musical féerie or Brno “boloney” in their traditional style. They play with local facts, legends, mix and match with a great deal of believability. They add silly jokes to the text, they elevate the rule that a repeated joke is not a joke anymore into a contrast. And it worked, the repeated joke does become a joke on stage. (...) František Šterbák not only drew on the key musical motifs of Mozart’s major works (A Little Night Music, Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute, etc.), but also played with other musical greats such as Smetana, Dvořák and others, with great joy and for the benefit of the audience. To this he added something from The Beatles (and thus beautifully followed the Bítls ballabile), but he also worked in Michal David and others to the varied musical mix. This gave the piece a great musical plasticity, but mainly humour and crazy exaggeration. And these admixtures inherently belong to summer, just like the drama of the drama. And since we have characters from all walks of life on stage, everything had to be connected somehow. The choreographer Hana Kratochvilová, who managed to master not only the common dances, but especially the trio of Years, contributed to this. With their movements, they underlined and emphasized the action that had just taken place, whether it was the suicide of Verkracht or the scenes with the animal Friedrich and many others. Richard Pekárek in the role of the dancer stood out not only in his expression, but also in his movement skills. In doing so, he confirmed that today’s actor should offer not only acting, but other interdisciplinary specialties. His fellow dancers Alžběta Janíčková and Renáta Mrózková must have praised him backstage and in no way let him down.
Similarly, the Brno councillors Ponava (Milan Němec), Svitavský (Robert Jícha) and Svratecký (Jonáš Florián) worked together. Not only their opening performance with Countess Maria Josepha Schrattenbach (Pavla Vitázková), but especially their secret meeting in the church was magical. (...) Lukáš Janota as Schikander was again in great singing and acting form. The quotation and reference to the previous production Napoleon, or the Alchemy of Luck was also funny.
Mozart, Mozart and Mozart or Wolfgang (Kryštof Helbich), Amadeus (Libor Matouš) and Mozart (Marco Salvadori). The first one not only gave his Wolfgang the admixture of a distracted child prodigy, but drew on his own life experiences as a boy of eleven who, though a gifted and brilliant composer, is at the same time and above all an ordinary boy with a sense of fair play, and a thirst for adventure. (...)
The production CROCODILES FROM SVRATKA OR MOZART IN BRNO fits fully into the summer stream of productions. Fun and humour are an integral part of summer play. And every place, no matter if it is Brno, Prague or the smallest village, has a secret that they are not allowed to mention, but it is still talked about over and over again. Until the legend and myth become the truth and official opinion.
Mozart and the Crocodile Strumming the Strings of True Brno People
Jana Soukupová 6. May 2023 zdroj MF Dnes
The proven trio of authors Stanislav Slovák, who also directed, dramaturg Jan Šotkovský
and actor Petr Štěpán chose the summer stage of the Brno City Theatre at the Bishop’s Courtyard for another of their original premieres based on a local theme, which they called Crocodiles from Svratka or Mozart in Brno.
This time they combined their own interpretation of the legend of the Brno “dragon” with a real visit and concert of the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Brno at the turn of 1767 and 1768. The composer František Štěrbák was brought in as a musical co-author, and he took care of the musical part of the plot, most of it, of course, to Mozart’s music in various arrangements. This time it was performed on stage by a twenty-six-member concert ensemble, which added a huge bonus to this “mystifying ballabile”, as the authors themselves called their piece.
Moreover, the authors have made no secret from the beginning that they intended to play with history and the original Brno legend. Apparently, they also enjoy it quite congenially themselves, as they love making fun of some notoriously “serious” facts, such as the mysterious origins of Mozart’s Requiem, but also of traditional inferiority complexes suffered by the people of Brno. And the greatest miracle of all is that this crazy mischievous piece about a crocodile brought to Brno by Mozart’s family, only to be eventually destroyed in the Svratka River, not only holds together, but is also genuinely funny in places and doesn’t quite turn history on its head.
As far as the truly sparkling parts are concerned, it is the joint “composing” of Mozart with the Moravian boy Jank Skládal just before the interval where, at the premiere, Kryštof Helbich and Matyáš Mičulka gave absolutely professional performances. And Lukáš Janota enjoyed his role as the impresario Emanuel Schikaneder immensely; his re-singing of the aria from The Magic Flute will probably go down in history, at least in Brno.
It is relatively easy to succumb to the amalgam of the more or less tasteful humour, Mozart’s music played live, the charm of the Bishop’s Courtyard, the actors’ commitment and the strumming on the strings of true Brno people.