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Kafka´s Letter to His Father – Opera (World premiere)

June 15, 19:15 - 21:30

Kafka´s Letter to His Father is an ambient chamber opera in two acts written by Jiří Trtík based on a letter written by Franz Kafka to his father in 1919. In this correspondence, Kafka attempted to describe the causes and circumstances of their mutual discord, and explain his own life uncertainties and anxieties stemming from this conflict. The new opera, commissioned for the Festival, explores Kafka’s childhood and adolescence, marked by the fear of his despotic and seemingly all-powerful and omnipresent father. Kafka cannot, nor does he wish to, conform to his father’s ideals of masculinity and social roles, and thus resists them in his own way. Kafka finds personal freedom in literary creation, and through literature, manages to escape his father’s authority. Regardless, his father constantly intrudes into his work and is – nonetheless covertly – its source and subject.

Kafka wrote this letter to his father at a time when he was already suffering from tuberculosis, perhaps yearning for the possibility to come to terms with this problematic figure in his life, and through this, to reconcile with him to the greatest possible extent. The letter, however, never reached his father’s hands. Apart from being an important axis in the renowned writer’s life, A Letter to His Father is also a compelling testimony to an individual’s upbringing based on fear and the exercise of power, to power and imbalance in general, to the problematic layers of masculinity, to the pain left in a child – and later in adulthood as one carries childhood traumas within – by seemingly innocent disdainful remarks, smiles, expressions of impatience. Parent-child relationships often have sharp edges, and Kafka’s story reveals this with poignancy.


Conductor: Jiří Rožeň
Orchestra: STRO.MY Ensemble
Kafka: Petr Nekoranec
Mother: Victoria Khoroshunova
Father: members of the National Theatre Chorus
Chorus master: Lukáš Kozubík

Music: Jiří Trtík
Libretto: Jan Škrob
Director: Josef Doležal
Set design: Maxim Velčovský
Choreography: Jan Adam
Lighting design: Magdalena Klára Hůlová
Costumes: Marianna Stránská
Sound: Adam Bláha, Klára Ondráčková


June 15
19:15 - 21:30


National Theatre


National Theatre