Nearly 60 years since its last production in New Orleans, "The Diary of One Who Vanished," by Czech composer Leoš Janáček, will be performed at Loyola University New Orleans. It takes place Monday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. in Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall. It is free and open to the public.
Partly inspired by longtime object of his unrequited affection, Kamila Stösslová, "The Diary of One Who Vanished" was written in 1919 by Janáček after a local Czech newspaper published verses from a poem titled “From a Pen of the Self-taught Writer.” The poem told the story of a young village boy who, after meeting a young gipsy named Zefka, decides to leave town, as well as his family, to be with her. Although Stösslová always remained ambivalent towards Janáček, he still wrote more than 700 letters to her, and she was with him when he died in 1928.
The cycle will be performed entirely in its native Czech language by Loyola voice faculty and alumni, including tenor Tyler Smith, extraordinary professor of voice; Carol Rausch, director of the Loyola Opera Theatre; mezzo-soprano Brindley McWhorter ’14; and the women’s chorus from the Loyola Chamber Singers. The concert will include photos by Steven Blackmon projected in the background.
The concert will also include a performance of Janáček's "On the Overgrown Path,” featuring Loyola Assistant Professor of Piano Brian Hsu.
The New Orleans Opera was scheduled to perform Janáček's "Jenufa" in 2005, but it was cancelled due to Hurricane Katrina. Smith hopes audiences will finally get the chance to enjoy this unique performance from a composer who hasn’t gotten the attention he deserves.
“I think audiences will be pleasantly surprised. Janáček is really having a resurgence in American opera companies. The music is very original and all of the artists are top notch. The music is truly stunning,” Smith said.