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DVD + Blu-Ray:
Janáček: From the House of the Dead

Author: Bel Air Media

(Re)discover Leoš Janáček's last masterpiece in a new production by Frank Castorf for the Bayerische Staatsoper, conducted by Simone Young.

  • From the House of the Dead | Copyright: © Bel Air Classiques

    From the House of the Dead © Bel Air Classiques

  • From the House of the Dead | Copyright: © Bel Air Classiques

    From the House of the Dead © Bel Air Classiques

  • From the House of the Dead | Copyright: © Bel Air Classiques

    From the House of the Dead © Bel Air Classiques

Death is never far away in Leoš Janáček’s work: in The Cunning Little Vixen, the main character falls under the fire of a hunter, Katia Kabanova kills herself, Emilia Marty in The Makropulos Case has to deal with the hard consequences of eternal youth. From the House of the Dead makes no exception, especially since the composer knew he was living out his final days when he decided to adapt into an opera Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s eponymous novel, a literary work inspired by the time the novelist spent in a Siberian prison. This painful feeling of ineluctability pervades through this score, which recounts the hopeless life of the convicts of a Soviet concentration camp. In this place where life has already drawn out, in this no man’s land forsaken by civilization, Janáček portrays the anonymous and daily sufferings, the abuses, the corporal punishments, but also evokes fragments from the prisoners’ past, bringing them back to life for the duration of a game or of a story.

Against this background that contrasts the empathic solidarity of men with the brutality of the prison guards, stage director Frank Castorf - who created a memorable Ring Cycle in Bayreuth - embraces the aesthetics of grotesque and absurd suggested by Janáček’s score, and chooses to display, with stark realism, the physical and psychological violence at the heart of the opera. In the pit, conducting the Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Simone Young underlines the power plays and the overwhelming lyricism unleashed by Janáček’s music.

Original title Z mrtvého domu
English title From the House of the Dead
Genre Opera
Recording location Bayerische Staatsoper (Munich)
Production year 2018
Duration 97 min.
Video format Color, 16/9, NTSC (DVD) / Full HD (Blu-ray)
Audio format PCm 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD) / DTS HD Master audio 5.1 (Blu-ray)
TV Director Andy Sommer
Composer Leoš Janáček
Orchestra / Band Bayerisches Staatsorchester
Conductor Simone Young
Choir Chorus of the Bayerische Staatsoper
Stage Director Frank Castorf
Soloist Peter Rose
Soloist Evgeniya Sotnikova
Soloist Aleš Briscein
Soloist Charles Workman
Soloist Bo Skovhus
Distribution DVD Naxos Distribution

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