Two very different exhibitions offer insights into the life and work of Leos Janacek

26-01-2004

Last week we reported from the Czech Republic's second city of Brno on a major festival devoted to the Czech composer, Leos Janacek. But the festival isn't the only event under way in the city related to the Moravian capital's greatest musical son. This year is the 150th anniversary of the composer's birth, and on Friday two new exhibitions opened in Brno, devoted to Leos Janacek. David Vaughan spoke with the director of Brno's House of the Arts, Jitka Vitaskova.

Jitka VitaskovaJitka Vitaskova "This is a special occasion, because both the exhibitions are dedicated to Leos Janacek, who was living here in Brno. The first one, called 'Leos Janacek and Brno', is dedicated to his life and work and all the things connected to his life here in Brno. And upstairs on the first floor you can find the exhibition 'Hommage a Leos Janacek'. This is a special project organized by Petr Spielmann, curator of the project, who asked more than 105 artists from all over Europe to send us work inspired by the work of Janacek."

Do you have a favourite?

"Yes, my favourite is Ales Hnizdil from Prague. He made a very big sculpture from aluminium, very thin pieces, which are a little bit in action, so people who just pass by can hear a little bit of some kind of music from it."

And tell me about the other exhibition, 'Janacek and Brno'.

"This is a permanent exhibition of the Moravian Museum, so this exhibition will be held here till next year."

What sort of things can visitors to the museum here see in the exhibition?

"You can see a lot of photographs from Janacek's work and life, you can see some of his manuscripts; you can also see part of the opera scenography from Janacek's operas here in Brno. It's not a big exhibition but it presents the main details of Janacek's work and life."

Exhibition, 'Janacek and Brno'Exhibition, 'Janacek and Brno' Janacek wasn't actually from Brno - he was from Hukvaldy to the north - so what did Brno mean to him?

"I think Janacek is a special personality, not for Brno but for the whole of Moravia, because in his personality you can find everything that is connected with this region of the Czech Republic - it means a very big part of its musicality, and he was inspired by the speech of this dialect here, and so I think he belongs especially to this region."

And if you'll be visiting Brno this year you can see both exhibitions at the newly renovated House at the Lords of Kunstat, in the heart of the Old Town.

Brno's House of the Arts: www.dumb.cz

26-01-2004

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