Janáček and Luhačovice Festival enters its 30th year on July 11

Leoš Janáček

The great Czech composer Leoš Janáček was a regular visitor of the Moravian spa town of Luhačovice, and composed a number of his works there. However, only one of his musical compositions is actually set in Luhačovice – the opera Osud (Destiny or Fate).

Leoš Janáček  (right) in Luhačovice  (1927) | Photo: Muzeum jihovýchodní Moravy ve Zlíně

The Janáček and Luhačovice Festival, one of the most prestigious music events in the Czech Republic, has been organized every year since 1992 to honour the world-famous Czech composer Leoš Janáček and will be taking place for the 30th time this year from 11 to 16 July.

The Moravian spa town of Luhačovice is closely associated with Leoš Janáček, who went there every year from 1903 until his death in 1928.

His first visit arose as the result of tragic circumstances. In 1902, Janáček's daughter, Olga, who was in St. Petersburg studying Russian at the time, had become very ill. He and his wife travelled to St. Petersburg and took her back to Brno, but her health worsened and she died in February 1903. Janáček expressed his sorrow in his opera Jenůfa, which he dedicated to her memory. Stricken with grief, Janáček went to the Luhačovice spa to recover.

Osud  (Destiny) | Photo: Martin Popelář,  Národní divadlo moravskoslezské Ostrava

His stay at the spa brought him not only the time and space to grieve the loss of his daughter, but also inspiration: in Luhačovice he met the beautiful Kamila Urválková, whose life story inspired him to compose a new opera: Osud (Destiny or Fate), about the love between the composer Živný and Míla Válková, their child Doubko, and a demented mother-in-law who causes a disaster in the family's life.

Although musically strong and innovative, the plot is often criticised as containing many weaknesses and being somewhat confused. This is probably the reason why, although Janáček completed the opera in the first half of 1905, it wasn’t performed in Brno until 1958, 53 years after its creation.

run audio