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Jul 20, 2013 8:00 PM

Kafka's Women

"An Insight into the Opera" by Jiří Kadeřábek, The Center for Contemporary Opera Development Series, NewOp Week, The Cell Theater, 338 West 23rd Street, NYC. The Cell, 338 West 23rd Street, NYC


Through the eyes of contemporary Prague, "Kafka's Women" looks at the early twentieth century when Czechs, Germans and Jews were thrown together in a combustible mixture. The focus is on Ottla, Felice, Milena and Dora, the four most important women in Franz Kafka’s life, and Max Brod, his guardian angel, who saved his letters. In the opera, we imagine how the women responded to Kafka's endless, complicated, and at times amusing correspondence in which he addressed the demands of his writerly life and his longing for love.

Milena Jelinek (1935) is a screenwriter, playwright and now a librettist. She studied film at FAMU, Prague film school; wrote a screenplay  “Easy Life” that premiered in Prague in 1957.  In 61 she immigrated to the United States. In US, she wrote, directed and produced several short films. They were shown in festivals around US and received several prizes. Partial listing: Whitney Museum (New Filmmakers Series), Kennedy Center in Washington, 2nd Film Festival Of Women's Films in New York, Women's Film Festival in Sydney, Australia, Films by Women, Paris, and Bleeker Street Cinema. In 1981 she started teaching screenplay writing at The School of the Arts, Columbia University.  She still continues teaching there as a Senior Lecturer. She has taught in several European workshops. After 89, she wrote a screenplay “Zapomenute Svetlo” (A Forgotten Light) that was produced in Czech Republic. It received several prizes, and is still being shown on Czech Television.  In 2006 she wrote a play “Adina” for the centennial anniversary of Vinohradske Divadlo, the second largest theater in Prague. It became a part of their repertory.  She wrote the libretto for “Kafka’s Women” in 2012.  

The music of the award-winning Czech composer Jiří Kadeřábek (1978) has been commissioned and performed by orchestras such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Prague Philharmonia, Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, Ostravská Banda and Berg Orchestra; ensembles such as the New Juilliard Ensemble, Fourbythree, Sybarite5, Ensemble Calliopée, Fama Quartet; festivals such as the MoMA Summergarden, Prague Spring International Music Festival, Moving Sounds Festival, Music with a View, Trieste Prima, Ostrava Days, Contempuls; and radios such as the BBC, VPRO, CRo. Recently it also represented the Czech Republic at the International Rostrum of Composers in Stockholm.

The cast includes Judith Kellock, Judith Barnes, Sarah Miller, Cris Frisco, Scott MacLeod, Richard Cassell, Jessica Thompson, and Jodi Karem.  Stage Director is Heidi Lauren Duke and the music director is CCO's Grammy nominated Maestra, Sara Jobin. There will be a short panel discussion preceding the performance and the audience will also be solicited for their thoughts about the work in order to assist the composer and librettist in making this an even better work. The price of admission also includes a wine reception where you can meet and greet the cast and creative team and offer your thoughts and comments.

More info and tickets



The Cell, 338 West 23rd Street, NYC


Jul 20, 2013 8:00 PM


Organized by Center for Contemporary Opera

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