The best performance of 2021 is the opera Peter Grimes at the National Theatre in Brno

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The Theatre Newspaper (Divadelní noviny) has published the results of the 30th Performance of the Year Poll. The most voted-for piece in the period of December 2020 – November 2021 was Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes directed by David Radok and conducted by Marko Ivanović at the Janáček Theatre in Brno. The opera has received extraordinary good reviews, including “there has not been an opera like that for the past thirty years and there won’t be any in another thirty.”

As Josef Herman, the Theatre Newspaper’s editor-in-chief, points out that the Performance of the Year Poll is not a competition, and the rules are not very strict. The respondents – mostly theatre critics – can vote for multiple productions, but they can nominate only one. At the end of last year, 102 professionals responded to the call and Peter Grimes dominated significantly with 26 votes.

The second most successful production My Empire Is from This World directed by Miroslav Bambušek (Studio Hrdinů) received five votes. Bambušek’s artistic project is inspired by the German writer and playwright Wolfgang Borchert’s works and deals with traumatic experiences associated with WWII. The production received the 2021 Josef Balvín Award from the Prague Theatre Festival of German Language for the best show based on the text written in German, too.

The critics were also intrigued by the Marriage History staged by JEDL Theatre Company at the X10 Theatre. It is an ironic comment on partnerships based on August Strindberg’s short stories. Other acknowledged productions are Maxim Gorky’s psychological drama Vassa Zheleznova directed by Jan Frič at the National Theatre or the documentary fiction about the famous singer from Ostrava Věra Špinarová Špinarka directed by Tomáš Dianiška at the Petr Bezruč Theatre.

As far as theatre genres are concerned, most respondents voted for drama (46), opera received 28 votes, and alternative productions won 11 votes. Geographically speaking, most votes went to the main theatre centers of the Czech Republic: Prague (46), Brno (32) and Ostrava (6).