This homage to Umberto Eco is composed of lists, series, catalogues and indexes, beginning with the most familiar, such as the alphabet or the table of the elements. The lists may seem at first banal but soon become dizzying, for instance when it comes to the fantastic imaginary cities of Italo Calvino or the images of an “incomprehensible universe” in the magical stories of Jorge Luis Borges. However, the main sources of inspiration for the creators of this opera were Umberto Eco and his voluminous book The Infinity of Lists. Appearing in the main roles along with countertenor Jan Mikušek are the actor/speakers of Boca Loca Lab, who under the direction of – Jiří Adámek – are accustomed to musically precise instructions, detailed voice work, and the perfect interplay of rhythmically stylised spoken word.
About the Company
Alfred ve dvoře, produced by Motus, is a space for live art, presenting progressive artistic creations and unique, authorial projects by Czech and international artists and performers. The performances it presents are open to all relevant influences, combining different forms of theatre that foreground the body with new technological possibilities of the present.
Martin Smolka (b. 1959, Prague), studied composition at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and privately with Marek Kopelent. His work has won him recognition both at home and abroad. In 1983, he co-founded Agon, an ensemble specialising in the present and past of the musical avant-garde. He worked as its artistic director and player of prepared piano until 1998. Smolka has written for prestigious international festivals, such as the Warsaw Autumn Festival, the Donaueschinger Musiktage, Musik-Biennale Berlin, Nov-Antiqua Cologne, Eclat Stuttgart, Bang-on-a-can-Marathon New York, Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik, musica viva Munich, Velvet Curtain Kracow, Prague Spring Festival, Festival Rümlingen, Klangspuren Schwaz and for other important institutions and performers, including: the French Ministry of Culture for Ensemble 2e2m in Paris; Musik der Jahrhunderte Stuttgart for Neue Vocalsolisten and Arditti Quartet; National Theatre in Prague; and Staatstheater, Nürnberg. The Agon ensemble has performed his music in many different venues, such as Berliner Festwochen; Budapest Spring Festival; South Bank Centre London; Musique Actuelle, Victoriaville, Canada; Rotefabrik, Zurich; Melos Ethos, Bratislava; and music festivals in Vilnius, Tallin, Reykjavik, Paris and elsewhere. Since 2000 Smolka’s scores have been published by Breitkopf & Härtel, Wiesbaden.
Jiří Adámek (1977) studied Directing in the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. After a whole range of experimental, puppet projects and site-specific works, Adámek developed an original type of musical theatre, in which he blends musically composed structures, stylised acting and an unusual approach to language (fragmentation and rhythm of words, play with semi-abstract accumulations of syllables and sounds, etc.). Adámek is not only the director of his musical-theatre projects, but also the author of the libretto and, where required, of the music. Since the creation of his first full-length “musical-theatre” type performance, Adámek has been awarded various prizes: the international award Music Theatre Now for Ticks Ticks Politics (2006) in Berlin and the Prize for Original Theatre Expression at the KONTAKT 2009 festival in Torun. The children’s production Of the Jungle Books (2007) was awarded prizes in three categories at Mateřinka in Liberec, the Alfréd Radok Prize for set design and the main prize on the Banialuka-Festival in Bialsko-Biała. Together with Martin Smolka, he received the 2014 Theatre News Award for the original version of the opera The Lists of Infinity. Adámek was also named Personality of the Year by the Next Wave Festival 2007 in the alternative theatre section for musical-scenic composition and its theoretical reflection. Adámek currently teaches at the Prague Theatre Academy (DAMU) and writes analytical articles about contemporary theatre for the Czech magazine Svět a divadlo (World and Theatre).