1926 décor for the Brno première of
the "Moon" scene was happier, with
its fairy-tale castle towers and Fritz Lang
U.F.A. "Metropolis" shapes; side
mountain ranges, looking like gigantic dinosaur
molars, and streaming light alternating with
dark circles on the cyclorama. The moon décor
in the 1958 Brno production at the Janáček
Festival was still pretty shabby, with few
of the subtle shadings and imaginative touches
of modernity which one had hoped for: "because",
someone said, "the festival budget would
not run to new designs and décor for all the
Janáček operas presented at the Festival".
All the main
characters in the first earth-scene now appear
in various metamorphoses. Mazal, our artist,
given to occasional flights of poetic fancy,
has become Blankytný, a poet with an overpowering
taste for hyperbole and extravaganza. The
Verger is now Lunobor, still protector of
his daughter and armed for this purpose with
a green net on the end of a long stick-a butterfly-catcher.
The central figure of this scene is Etherea,
late Málinka. Throughout all changes in both
operas, Mr. Brouček alone remains faithful
to himself and is the one constant character
in the entire opera.
When we first
see him on the moon, he is either asleep or
in a faint; anyway he is lying on his back.
Blankytný (ex Mazal) enters riding on his
horse Pegasus, dismounts and ties the steed
to a tall flower. The horse occasionally feeds
on the "fragrance "of the flower.
catches sight of Brouček and is openly disgusted
at the vulgarity of his appearance; he turns
to his harp for consolation. What sort of
monster is this, he wonders, or can it be
an hallucination of his brain? Mr. Brouček
awakes, sees what he supposes is his defaulting
tenant Mazal, and asks him warmly why he appears
in this ridiculous disguise. Blankytný tells
him to keep his distance and, drawing himself
up with dignity, announces himself as the
poet Blankytný, whose name is known in every
corner of the Moon. Hastily looking round
him, Brouček is frightened at what he sees,
and starts counting rapidly on his cuff to
see if he is awake or dreaming. These antics
of Mr. Brouček are disturbing to the sensitive
poet who commands him to stop fidgeting and
to tell him his name. "Itís not so poetic
a name as yours", replies Mr. Brouček
and, as he jumps to his feet, a sausage falls
from his pocket before the horrified eyes
of the poet.
you know your own landlord?", he asks
and starts boasting (to a swaggering Czech
folk-dance motif) that he owns a three-storied
house with no mortgage on it either. This
piece of excessive vulgarity, following on
the lamentable sausage episode, is more than
our poet can stand, and he starts moaning
to himself in an agonized manner seeking consolation
in lightly strumming on his harp, the ethereal
tones of which remind him of the higher aesthetic
life to which he belongs. "Please, please
do not mention such mundane matters to me",
he says loftily, "but rather tell me
how you are serving the Higher Life, the Eternal
Ideals of Beauty and Love. But perhaps you
donít even know what Poetry and Love are?"
he adds scornfully.
Not know anything
about Love indeed! And at his age too! "Why,
whenever I meet a pretty wench", chuckles
Brouček, "I never can resist the temptation
to chuck her under the chin. "
blasphemy against the High Dignity of Sanctified
Womanhood!" exclaims the now almost speechless
poet; and, to warm romantic music, he tells
the worldly-wise Brouček that the landlord
knows nothing at all of true spiritual love
and passion, going on to speak of the Divine
Creature (Etherea) whom he has worshipped
from afar for fifteen years.
this Pearl of Womanhood appears", says
the infatuated poet, "you must fall on
your knees, kiss the hem of her garment, look
up at Her with Unspeaking Devotion ".
Brouček scratches his head-has this penniless
tenant of his gone barmy? The poet-artist
raves on about the marvellous charms of his
divinity, one poetic extravagance following
funny people God has created!" exclaims
the exasperated Mr. Brouček. "If your
love-making is all this high-falutiní, airy-fairy
talk, tell me... where do your kids come from?"
At this unspeakable piece of blasphemy against
the Life Aesthetic, the poet covers his ears
with his hands: further revelations at this
pitch of vulgarity may well cause his death!
the Verger, has appeared on the scene again
in the same role of female protector. He is
described as a big fluffy ball of white hair
and beard, carrying a butterfly net: like
our poet artist, Lunobor also affects high
poetic talk. He has come to announce the arrival
of Etherea and, a moment later, the "Goddess"
herself appears accompanied by a group of
her handmaidens. Etherea turns out to be our
Málinka of the previous earth-scene, transformed
into a worthy mate and functioning on a suitably
exalted spiritual plane. Certainly the tenor
of her opening speech is such as would be
calculated to give true aesthetic pleasure
to the humbly adoring Blankytný who, of course,
has fallen gracefully on his knees to welcome
her. "I am bringing you the flower of
my song, on which the dew shines as the tears
of a poet, fragrant as an aloe and unafraid
of any criticism", she begins smoothly.
Her attendants dutifully echo her sentiments.
"I cover you with the wings of my song",
Etherea continues, "which are fiery,
like the wings of Sarda, soft as the coat
of a leopard and clean as a glass of alabaster.
"Mr. Brouček stands gaping at the latest
lunar arrivals now pretty certain in his own
mind that he is among a bunch of lunatics.
turns on Brouček and angrily commands him
to kneel down. Brouček asks indignantly why
on earth he should kneel to "a skirt";
and goes up to Etherea with a familiar "Pleased
to meet you ", thrusting forward a cushioned
hand. The lunar beings are petrified at this
at him in fascinated horror: "You are
frightening, like a Medusa ", she tells
him. Lunobor realizes that this strange creature
is not of lunar-blood and proposes to begin
his conversion by reading him the first three
chapters of his "Lunar Manual on Aesthetics
"; he goes to get the book. Blankytný
can only moan his "Ou, ou!" in higher
keys. Etherea now turns to the stranger, and
while she expresses herself in the high-flown
poetic imagery which, apparently, is the commonplace
talk of lunar beings, there is no doubt that
Mr. Broučekís earthy happy-go-lucky ways have
made an impression on her heart.
that, as a jealous young woman in the previous
scene, she had also run after Brouček if only
to spite her lover and appease her wounded
vanity. Blankytný continues his moaning but
now for a different reason: he calls Brouček
the murderer of their happiness, and beseeches
him to plunge a dagger into his heart and
end his misery.
wafted heavenwards by a fragrant breeze ",
breathes Etherea tenderly to Brouček, ignoring
this interruption, "but I will return
as a butterfly to a flower, when it flies
through the rainbow, as a living diamond shines
in all the shimmering colours of the spectrum."
at her frail, fragile figure, Mr. Brouček
canít resist saying-"Why, there isnít
even a solid pound of flesh on your bones!
"The shock of this latest "gaffe"
inspires only further passion in the infatuated
Etherea, who now repeats over and over again
with increasing passion, "You are mine!
You are mine!"
her arms around Mr. Brouček and drags him
unwillingly to the grazing Pegasus. Despite
his protests, she pushes him on to the saddle
and with Brouček screaming at the top of his
voice "This is madness!" and her attendants
urging on the steed with Wagnerian "Hoy!
Hoy!"s, she flies away with him on Pegasus.
Lunobor rushes in, and unaware of the latest
happenings, reads aloud to the departed Brouček
the first three chapters of his "Lunar
Manual on Aesthetics":
All Love and Beauty!
Respect and fear-
It is your duty!
Approach her not
That fruity cutey!
He turns a
page and reads chapter 2:
All Love and Beauty!
page and then reads chapter 3, a further repeat
of the same nonsense. Blankytný recovers sufficiently
to strike a final dramatic attitude-"Madness
rages in my soul! "he storms, looking
after the departing Pegasus and follows it
up with hollow Mephistophelian laughter, which
Lunobor echoes as he runs after Etherea with
his book and butterfly net.
of Act I
printed edition of this opera by Universal
Edition in 1919 has only Czech words and only
as late as 1957 did an edition with German
text appear-a version by Karlheinz Gutheim
(after Cech, Dyk and Procházka ) which, because
it deviated too far from the original, was
disallowed by the Czech authorities.
note at the beginning of the vocal score,
presumably by the composer, indicates that
the orchestral introduction is intended to
picture silent moonlight interrupted by some
sound of life, it is perhaps better to consider
the prelude merely as a piece of music which
introduces some of the main themes. At any
rate, there is little of the conventional
musical portrait of moonlight in this lively
one-in-a-bar allegro. Its opening paragraph
consists of three comedy themes,
the third of which-the pentatonic dance tune
in the bassoon-is the most important generating
theme in the opera, appearing no fewer than
twenty-two times in this, its original, form
and many other transformations. The pointed
arpeggio octave leaping figure on the harp
No. 163, which accompanies its openings bars,
is also of importance in future developments.
yet how subtle and characteristic of the composer
are the opening bars: (No. 161) around a softly
sustained C sharp in the tenor, a two-note
figure (crotchets B and A, with and without
the addition of a C sharp auxiliary note)
alternate on top and bottom voices, repeating
this process six times. The opening D major
sentence of sixteen bars (6(2+2+2)+10(4+4+2))
is repeated a tone lower in C minor.
forceful and agitated third repetition of
this material in G flat major breaks off before
completing itself and is followed by two repetitions
of the uncompleted second half (Nos. 162 and
163), each entry falling a tone in pitch (G
flat major giving way to E major and D major)
diminuendo, each phrase separated by pregnant
silences, until in C major, with the original
tempo and mood restored, we hear six quiet
bars (the first two bars of Nos. 163 and 162)
as preparation for a new section of the overture.
This is the
symphonic "second "contrasting subject
the love theme
of Act I, Scene 1, associated in the text
with Málinka and Mazal and later (modified)
in their masquerading as Blankytný and Etherea.
In the overture, this appealing melody alternates
with the playful No. 162, perhaps reminding
us that even the love-making is to be taken
as part of an overall burlesque. First appearing
in C major, it begins to repeat itself in
G flat major, but follows on with a new compressed
164A phrase, returning to C major where we
again hear the bassoon playing a portion of
paragraph from [2I to  +3 is repeated and
with some further repetitions crescendo of
No. 163 in the bass, the broad second subject
in @ flat major now receives similar treatment
to the first subject (i.e. two quiet presentations
of the theme followed by a tutti one), although
here bars 1 and 2 of No. 164 are separated
and expanded, a procedure which is continued
in the high register of the cellos, the whole
passage accompanied throughout by the compact
figure No. 163 in the bass.
developments of the compressed 164 (A) (and
six bars of a D major chord), the curtain
rises as the dry comic bassoon of No. 162
appears transformed into a warm luscious eight-bar
tune with an equally tuneful bass, to be repeated
piano with top and bottom parts reversed and
all firmly on the chord of D flat major.
group of themes between  and  are now
recapitulated fortissimo (transposed from
D to A major) beginning with a melodic variation
of No. 163 on top with the meaningful pauses
between the phrases observed. In a meno mosso
pianissimo, a flute plays the legato version
of No. 162, followed by violas (imitated by
cellos), singing out the counter-melody which
accompanied it at .
enters in a jealous rage, the music suddenly
jerks on to an enhanced E major second inversion
chord-held for twenty-three bars-as the first
two bars of No. 162 flit in shade and shadow,
punctuated with fp jerks indicating
Málinkaís ill-temper. At  the major third
of No. 164 starts a waltz tune which adds
a light staccato (in an eight quaver pattern)
of "Polka" to the basic waltz rhythm.
An interesting rhythmic variation of No. 162
appears after 
to which the
three-part male chorus of artists from the
inn sing a still further variant of the resourceful
be called the first moon motive appears at
, probably a speech-curve from "snad
s mesice jste nespad?" ("Perhaps you
fell from the moon?").
When Mr. Brouček
warns Mazal to keep away from his housekeeper,
Málinka turns angrily on her lover: "Oh!
I'll be revenged!" while the orchestra plays
three heavily descending dominant 7th chords
which circle back to the first one
or "anger" motive of considerable importance.
"of Mr. Brouček begins with mock solemn
bass chords and No. 162 in a tongue-in-the-cheek
disguise. Three further repetitions of the
anger motif, and Mazal goes off jauntily into
the inn, leaving Brouček spluttering with
rage as the Innkeeper, standing in the doorway,
remarks to him that his revenge may reach
as high as the moon (a further repetition
of No. 162).
What I have
called the first moon motif (No. 166) reappears
now with a crotchet rest between each second
note, then consolidates itself into a sentimental
legato little waltz tune to express Málinkaís
love pique. A moment later a bassoon blurts
out a four-note anger motif
of which much
use is made throughout the opera. At first
it merely expresses Mr. Broučekís irritation
that anyone so nice as Málinka should care
two hoots about such a worthless fellow as
his penniless tenant. Then it later becomes
associated with Mazal and his counterpart
on the moon, that stern disciple of aestheticism,
Blankytný and his so easily outraged feelings.
No. 162 at the beginning of the opera with
"the moon smiling teasingly in the bassoons,
as if guessing what is to befall Mr. Brouček":
it appears in so many disguises that its dramatic
implications at any one point is really anyoneís
It is true
that the fragmentary nature of the music,
microscopic motifs of only a few notes which
appear and disappear, voice lines which are
little more than enhanced speech and an unorthodox
orchestral palette give the listener who comes
to Janáčekís music unprepared, very little
to grasp: yet even a casual analysis of the
music will disclose the logical relationship
between the numberless motifs and figures
and their transformation and development and,
in particular, their rightness in any particular
dramatic situation of the opera.
are subtle points which unless sought for
may well elude identification, so that even
so well informed a musician, brilliant critic
and composer as the Soviet Kabalevsky could
find little in Brouček of which he could conscientiously
greatest success, Jenůfa, has a solidity about
it and is basically founded on a recognizable
and acceptable classical tradition of opera,
which, on this account, makes it acceptable
as a welcome addition to the modern operatic
repertoire. It must he admitted, however,
that the later operas, with the possible exception
of Kátja Kabanová, are still operas for connoisseurs;
but now that recordings exist, it is possible
that appreciation may well be accelerated
and that outside the country of their origin,
a Janáček opera may become less of an artistic
"novelty", a succes díestime, and
more an anticipated and enjoyable eveningís
entertainment in a theatre.
At , the
scene between Málinka and the landlord settles
into a more flowing movement-steady legato
crotchets with a tremolo accompaniment, preceded
by a grotesque measured tremolo "shiver
of despair", which keeps recurring. Oboe,
then viola, interject the twinkling No. 162,
as Málinkaís father, with mug of beer in hand,
asks Mr. Brouček if his intentions towards
his daughter are honourable. Brouček escapes
from this demanding situation with vague mutterings
about the moon, as the ironic drinking song
is heard coming from the Vikárka Inn-now as
an infectious waltz (with imitations between
first tenor and second bass) beginning with
the endlessly adaptable No. 162.
scene with the little waiter running after
Brouček with his sausages reintroduces the
opening motif No. 161: it might be somewhat
difficult to explain its strategic situation
here if one accepted Vogelís association of
it with moonlight. Here it is one of a group
of humorous themes-including a high-pitched
In the distance,
Málinka is heard asking Mr. Brouček if he
really would marry her, while her father continues
to voice indignation and disapproval. We hear
the "revenge" motif (No. 167) in
the bass, which is repeated two octaves higher.
The action is fast-moving, with the music
keeping pace with it: the characters appear
and disappear with cinema-like rapidity.
come again", the Innkeeper calls after
Brouček to No. 161 in triple time.
As the Verger
returns with his daughter, the orchestra very
quietly plays the love motif No. 164, again
followed by many repetitions of the compressed
4 third bar, and we learn from the orchestra
too-the revenge or anger motif No. 167-that
the Verger is still angry with Mazal and Brouček
for their affront to his daughter. The expressive
adagio which follows begins with a new restrained
harmonization of the first two bars of the
love motif: the once jaunty little burlesque
figure No. 163 is transformed into a soaring,
lush melody which dominates the music until
, a typical example of "Janáčekís
capacity for changing, as if by sleight of
hand, a burlesque into an exalted hymn".
sustained top A threatens to bring an enraged
father on the scene , the practical-minded
Málinka forces him to lower his voice at the
same time as the "Love is a magic flower"
song is wafted towards us from the inn.
A few minutes
later, the castle steps are flooded by moonlight
as the endearing No. 164 sings out in the
most beautiful and ethereal tones imaginable,
with the voices of the lovers barely audible
in the distance-one of the loveliest moments
in the entire opera.
is seen staggering drunkenly about and a stuttering
oboe, echoed by the little waiter, reintroduces
the comic element, which carries on with the
umpteenth variation of No. 162. As Brouček
"talks" to the moon, there is a
reprise of the music at , with further
variations (from p. 16 tempo primo) reaching
a comical climax at  going into a prestissimo
at , when voices and orchestra formulate
a waltz on No. 161.
provides about forty secondsí worth of music
to allow time for the change to the moonscape,
it is necessary for a theatre in which the
opera is being performed to possess a revolving
has written a very charming motif for a solo
violin, with harp accompaniment, breathing
the very atmosphere of moonlight and the fragrance
of moon flowers (No. 169).
theme on piccolos, combined with the horn
variation of 161 (A) and the fighting arpeggio
figure No. 168, are thrown together in contrast.
It is dangerous
to attach labels too closely to themes in
Janáčekís works, as many of them serve a variety
of purposes. No. 168 was first heard when
Brouček was abusing Mazal to Málinka, but
in the moon scenes it has identified itself
with Blankytný and especially with the "agony"
endured by this fleshly poet at the sight
of the vulgar and the commonplace.
It now alternates
with the opening motif of the scene: the rhythmically
alive surprise figure No. 161, when Blankytný
sees Brouček on the moon for the first time.
To restore his jaded nerves, the poet finds
relief by strumming on his harp, although,
oddly enough, Janáček writes no special harp
music for this purpose.
As the curtain
rises, we hear the lively No. 170.
There is further
development of No. 169, the first part of
No. 170 and No. 168, until we come to a series
of alternating major and minor triads in an
adagio chromatic scale which is worth a momentís
of unrelated chords, within the framework
of a chromatic scale, represents the strange,
"foreign", earthy element to the
inhabitants of the moon: at  (Maestoso
I = 63) when Etherea tells Brouček he is frightening
like a Medusa: at , , , etc. (presto
J= 100 fortissimo) when Blankytný feels himself
up against a foreign force he cannot surmount:
in phrases of two chords, at different places
in the score, when matters of strangeness
and puzzlement arise quietly at  and with
mighty import at  and always the chord
sequences are major and minor triads in alternation.
As a descending
(unharmonized) whole-tone scale in the rhythm
his passengers disappear: altogether this
chromatic scale motif generates almost as
many sister motifs as does No. 162 in the
Earth Scene (for another example see the emphatic
six-note motif of disapproval  + 4) .
introduces himself to Brouček, the music is
fragmentary and epigrammatic and mainly accompanied
recitative (a boastful trumpet fanfare, a
frightened figure at , an indignant one
at , a swaggering Czech folksong at ,
an agitated running figure reiterated thirty
times as Blankytný keeps moaning his No. 168)
until we arrive at , when a modified version
of No. 164 (pianissimo J = 63 with throbbing
triplet accompaniment) accompanies Blankytnýís
ecstatic outbursts in praise of "Beauty
When at 
the poet tells Brouček flatly that perhaps
he does not even know what love or beauty
is, the orchestra immediately points his questions.
Again at ,
while Blankytný rhapsodizes over abstract
love of an exultant, aesthetic character,
strings cut in acidly, expressing Broučekís
down-to-earth idea that his idea of love is...
sex! (three times a musical "belch"
on a bassoon).
theme appears at -"Etherea with the
soul of an angel "as Blankytný sees her-No.
171, which at  is orchestrated on a particularly
delicate and silky three-octave string passage
considerable development (i.e. repetition)
of No. 171 (A), worked up to a climax as Etherea
herself appears accompanied by her handmaidens,
and the orchestra thunders out No. 171 in
all its glory and majesty!
greeting leaves nothing to be desired in its
turn of poetic phrase and aesthetic imagery.
Her handmaidens echo her words to No. 171
as a splendid waltz tune (with A of the same
theme, as a quadruple group, rudely interjecting):
orchestra and soprano chorus are associated
in a rough sort of canon.
describes the waltzes in Brouček as being
a la Richard Strauss, he was not listening
very carefully, for, in fact, no waltzes could
be more dissimilar: Straussís long, sweeping,
complex, highly organized melodies, with equally
organized contrasted episodes-Janáčekís dozen
or more repetitions of a single four-bar phrase.
voice joins happily in the waltz and everything
seems to be going along splendidly, until
the officious Blankytný demands that Brouček
should bow in hommage to his Goddess. This
has the unfortunate effect of singling out
the stranger for Ethereaís special attention,
and in the major-minor chromatic chord sequence
already mentioned, she makes it abundantly
clear that his strange, crude, "foreign" manners
have made an indelible impression on her heart.
She even sings
a tender little love-song to him at ,
which is followed by the passionate trio 
to , with Etherea becoming more and more
infatuated with the stranger, Brouček protesting
vigorously at her amorous onslaught and Blankytný
moaning that his dreams of happiness have
to the chromatic major-minor motif at ,
,  and elsewhere in an aggressive
rhythm, and the agonizing No. 168 groaning
from Blankytný and the orchestra, there is
also Ethereaís motif of infatuation
and a bar
of general excitement which keeps repeating
at  is augmented while Etherea emphatically
repeats: "You are mine! You are mine!"
and the near demented Blankytný begs for relief
from the torture which is tearing him apart.
Now  and
 combine, as the love-sick maiden pushes
the loudly protesting Mr. Brouček into the
saddle and Pegasus takes to the air, egged
on by her trusty handmaidens, with their "Hoy!
Hoy!"s, while Blankytný expresses his
horror with a top C!
twisting love melody with which Etherea begins
her wooing of Brouček at , soars out passionately
in the full-toned orchestra, alternating with
a series of harmonized falling whole-tone
scales. These become single lines in weary
imitation, after the disappearance of Pegasus
and his passengers.
appears, things brighten immediately, as he
reads three absurd (mercifully short!) nonsense
chapters, accompanied by an equally ridiculous
one-bar "Tidli, tidli" figure which
can be seen again in various numbers of Janáčekís
later "Říkadla" (Nursery Rhymes).
The act ends
with Janáčekís usual abruptness.
Story of Act II
of Act II is the lunar Temple of All-Knowledge,
star-shaped and magnificent in its magic splendour.
Each point of the star belongs to a different
art-poetry, painting, sculpture, music and
dancing. In the centre of the star is the
throne of the Splendid-One, while all around
groups of dedicated artists are busily employed
at the practice of their arts. The Splendid-One
himself watches and encourages them, and when
the curtain rises, he is directing a group
of musicians in the orchestration of a score:
"Put that melody on the Bombardon!"
he calls, and when they do so, he expands
with a satisfied "Splendid! Splendid!"
In the Splendid-One
we can recognize the voice, if not the features,
of our friend Würfl, Innkeeper at the Vikárka
Inn: from being a glorified waiter, his librettists
have promoted him to Director of the Lunar
Academy of Arts. Although he acts grandly
and behaves condescendingly to the artists,
he admits candidly to the audience-like Bunthorne,
in Patience-that he is a bit of a fake: "I
have no creative gifts myself", he confesses:
"I could have been a critic, only that
sort of job doesnít appeal to me, possibly
because I am, basically, a man of peace. One
must do something, however; so I became a
patron of the arts. It pays off handsomely:
they paint me, sculpt me, work my ideas into
their music, and in this way, I secure immortality
for myself and the gratitude of future generations.
It is all highly gratifying. "Ecstatic
cries arise from different artist groups in
the throes of inspiration: "Light of
all Lights! Spirit of all Spirits! "
From the threshold of the music star-point,
one Harfoboj, tenor, calls for silence, as
he wishes to favour the company with a song.
We are not,
however, destined to hear this song for, at
this moment, Pegasus sails through the air
and deposits its two passengers on the staircase
which leads to the Temple of All-Knowledge.
All are petrified at this apparition from
the unknown, and the artists try to hide in
all directions. Etherea falls on her knees
in front of the Splendid One and begs that
he, as Protector of All Things, should also
grant protection to her and her lover.
indignantly repudiates the suggestion that
he is Ethereaís lover. "And who, then,
may you be?" asks the Splendid-One sternly.
"Matĕj Brouček!" he replies, while
the hiding artists savour the name with relish.
The Prodigy Child, who is constantly seen
with a piccolo held to his mouth, appears
on the musical star-point, and welcomes Brouček.
"I recognize you", says the Splendid-One
reassuringly, "the glory of your name
has penetrated even up here! "Then to
the frightened artists-"Come out, you
unless perhaps ridden by a Phaeton, is apparently
no effective substitute for plane, motor-car,
or locomotive, for the lively Lunobor and
the blinking Blankytný-travelling by foot-rush
in only a couple of minutes after the arrival
of Etherea on her Pegasus. Of course, we know
that the force of gravity on the moon is only
a fifth of what it is here, and that provided
one can keep alive without breathing air,
one can easily take 40-foot leaps which will
cover long distances in next to no time, but
did Janáček know this and take it into account
in a race a pied vs. Pegasus? or rather did
Messrs. (Cech, Dyk, Masek, Janke, Gellner,
Mahen, Holy and Procházka ?
begins where he left off with his cri-de-coeur-
"A storm of madness rages in my breast!" Apparently
he is not thought of so highly away from home,
for the Splendid-One points at him disparagingly
saying: "He is an Argentinian song-bird!"
Lunobor is more successful this time with
his butterfly net and manages to catch his
daughter in it at which Mr. Brouček is overjoyed.
Our man of
property is introduced to the Cloudy-One,
Priest of Lunar Poetry, and the artists proceed
to give demonstrations of their lofty art
to the new arrival. First a troop of dancers
file out from the dancing star-point and execute
a welcoming dance. During this ballet the
Cloudy One falls on his knees in front of
Brouček, takes his hands and presses them,
gazes fixedly into his eye, embraces him and
presses him to his bosom-gestures of homage
and welcome which are utterly wasted on the
worldly Brouček who pushes him roughly aside,
muttering angrily "Stop this fooling!"
readily sympathize with Broučekís impatience,
saying that, as a poet, the Cloudy-One is
worse than useless and only writes commonplace,
unoriginal stuff, the Splendid-One adding
in an aside-"What can you expect? He
has refused my patronage!" They crowd
round this "Titan of Glorious Songs,
Author of Unsurpassed Masterpieces "and
welcome him with their homage, though why
the Selenites should mistake Brouček for a
great Earth poet is a mystery left unsolved
by his creators. As they continue their unctuous
flattery, which, again, leaves the bored and
weary landlord utterly cold, we hear-en passant-one
poet saying to a colleague, "I embrace you,
dear friend, for your latest epic", and
the too-modest reply, "Please be silent,
friend! I look from the dust to your Eagle
Flight!" The welcoming dance having ended,
the Splendid-One invites the company to partake
of some light refreshments. The refreshments
are indeed very light, as the guests are expected
to stave off hunger pangs with the scent of
Child acts as master of ceremonies, placing
the guests at a long table, generally fussing
over them and distributing flowers and an
odd contrivance called a "slznicky"
or "crying box". One can only assume
that instead of applauding at the end of a
performance on the Moon, it is customary to
weep copiously, and this "slznicky"
is a tear-jerking contrivance to help things
along-a kind of lunar razzle! The Splendid-One
announces that they will now sing the Moon
National Anthem for their distinguished guest,
and the Prodigy Child obligingly begins.
of the anthem "Domou mŭj-Čechŭ
plémĕ" ("My home-the Czech people")
are actual quotes from the Czech National
Anthem: we may take it, therefore, that it
is intended to be a parody on the words of
the Czech anthem:
In this land of gaping craters
Here have I made my
Where scents not food
are served by waiters
Here on the moon is
honoured guest is falling asleep, the Prodigy
Child breaks off singing and calls on Brouček
to wake up! The artists continue with the
anthem: the Prodigy Child reproaches Brouček
for not "applauding" and hands him
one of the tear-boxes.
stealthily up to Brouček, having escaped from
her fatherís clutches, and before the drowsy
landlord is even aware of her presence, she
has embraced him passionately and is fawning
over him. The brazenness of her conduct offends
the artists who turn their heads away in disgust.
"As the breeze carries the Muezzinís
call of ĎAllahí, so I call unto thee ",
she sings fervently with her arms around Brouček.
"You-you spiderís web you! "splutters
the indignant landlord. The artists cover
their embarrassment by lustily singing their
repeats the Romance she sang to Brouček at
the end of the first act which begins-"I
flee like the fragrance of flowers on the
wind", accompanying her song with excited
other composer but Janáček would dream of
making an entirely new musical setting of
a poem which has previously appeared in the
same opera, if only for the formal balance
such a repetition would provide. There are
some additional verses with high-flown metaphors
such as "antics of baboons", "explosions
of Indian dancers", "smoking Etna", "Fair
of Maenads" and the like, poetic imagery
in which Etherea clothes her ardent desires.
The artists now heartily approve of Ethereaís
lofty words, perhaps not realizing the full
import of her designs on Brouček.
that the Great Spirit may enlighten you with
the Golden Rays of his Poesy", says the
Splendid-One condescendingly to Brouček who
now finds he has to defend himself on all
sides against the over-enthusiastic attentions
of the artists. "I cannot refuse you
the uplift of my own verses ", says the
Cloudy-One passionately to this poetic infidel:
me recite you the first hundred stanzas of
my latest work ĎStarry Mists of Heavení. "Not
to be outdone, Lunobor rushes in with butterfly
net and book shouting "Let me read you
three mighty chapters from my famous book
commands the Splendid-One; "all you know
about poetry is to stick to the rules." On
seeing her father Etherea has flown.
ado, the Cloudy-One launches into his poem
which begins: "In the blue sky the golden
sun shines in its love to all creatures, throughout
with all-powerful fragrance the dew drops
from myriad flowers throughout all ages."
At the words "throughout all ages"
the artists as one body become suddenly rigid
then immediately relax. According to Janáček,
František Procházka wrote all the verses in
the opera: we cannot but admire the consistency
of his flamboyant moonstyle which maintains
an exotic quasi-impressionistic flavour throughout
and is really very funny.
As the moon
poet rants on and on, poor Broučekís agony
becomes unbearable, until, in desperation,
he asks the company what he has done to deserve
this! Stanza follows stanza, until the droning
voice of the poet finally lulls Mr. Brouček
to sleep. He dreams of happy times in the
snuggery of the Vikárka Inn, calling out in
his sleep-"Waiter! Bring pork with sauerkraut
and dumplings! "
At this irreverence
the poet is huffed, while the artists try
to repress their laughter. The Splendid-One
intervenes tactfully: "O Dignified Genius,
do not rob us of this Godly Pleasure. "Mollified,
the poet continues his recitation, ignoring
as best he can another dreadful interjection
from Brouček about "that last sausage".
His fellow poets help him out to the extent
of loudly declaiming in chorus the new motto,
"Far Horizon!" accompanied by their
ludicrous rigid-relaxed gestures.
their example, the poet bursts into song,
but gives up altogether when Brouček keeps
shouting for more beer. At this the Prodigy
Child presses a moon-flower to Broučekís nose,
hoping that his appetite, like theirs, may
be appeased by its scent. It tickles.
awake, rubs his eyes, roughly pushes the flower
away with the remark that his "nose has
enjoyed itself quite enough, thank you! "This
rudeness is too much for the lunar artists,
who turn indignantly on Brouček telling him
never again must he use such language. Brouček,
now thoroughly awake, asks with amazement
what is the matter with his language; canít
he even speak about his own nose? To end an
embarrassing situation the artists announce
their intention of leaving, and they make
a dancing exit to a rhythmically emphatic
Czech dance, repeat at intervals, in true
Gilbertian fashion, "We go! We go! We
go! " This scene might have ended quite
differently if Janáček had included a riotous
scene he had actually written and published
in Hudební Listy twenty-one years earlier:
in this episode, a famous lunar composer,
Thunderbolt, performed his latest composition
"Storm" in honour of their distinguished
guest but the noise was so horrific that Brouček
flew for his life from the concert hall.
All this time
the snubbed Blankytný has been painfully meditating
on his lonely status among the members of
this art community: he shakes himself awake,
remarks that he doesnít want to belong to
this phoney moon society, and renewing his
moaning, wanders disconsolately off.
Brouček refuses to believe that the mere mention
of his nose could possibly give such offence.
A new character
appears in the shape of the Rainbow Man who
descends from the Art Star-point and beckons
to Brouček. The landlord is unimpressed at
what he sees-an odd-looking fellow in a multi-coloured
suit: "He looks like twopence-halfpenny!
Just look at the tie and suit! Like a mushroom!"
Brouček remarks scornfully.
however, greets him politely and conducts
him around the rainbow: then pulls out a chair
and suggests that they should give over talking
for a while and admire the scenery. After
a time Brouček becomes bored, and taking a
sausage from his pocket begins eating it.
"He is crying!" exclaims the surprised
Rainbow-Man, and the artists, sticking their
heads out warily, and gradually reappearing,
repeat the Rainbow-Manís words: "He is
crying! He is crying!"
rubbish! "exclaims Brouček, "Canít
you see that I am eating!"
shouts the chorus of artists in disgust: "Eating!
Facing such dignified creatures of nature
as us, you dare to indulge yourself in this
contemptible earthly habit!"
I come to the moon to die of starvation?"
asks Brouček in despair. "You Earth-men",
asks the Prodigy Child, "donít you eat
plant and vegetables?" "Only vegetarian
cranks do that", replies Brouček angrily;
"We eat MEAT! EAT MEAT! exclaim the horrified
artists. Pork and veal, I mean", Brouček
hastily explains; "not human meat, you
rallies to the attack, "So you, without mercy,
tear and devour Godís own creatures! You make
of your bodies living tombs to contain their
corpses! Is it possible that the universe
can tolerate a planet tainted with such despicable
cannibalism!"-pointing to the sausage-"And
this, I suppose, is a slaughtered animal?"
replies Brouček furiously: "Why, this
is simply pork meat, mashed and stuffed into
a bit of skin from the pigís stomach. "
of earthly barbarism proves too much for the
sensitive Selenites-and one by one they fall
down in a dead faint.
Etherea rushes in and dances ferociously around
Brouček, giving vent to passionate outpourings
far in excess of her previous efforts. "I
want to kidnap you and carry you off to the
Moorish Alhambra" (now what would a moon-spirit
know about that?). "You will be drunk
with my love. I will close the golden book
of my life with your dear name ... dear name,
sweeter than aloes. "
But, on all
counts now, our Mr. Brouček has had enough.
In a flash-amounting to a stroke of genius-he
blows his sausage breath full into Ethereaís
face: result-she immediately dematerialises.
"I must eat! I must drink!", Brouček-berserk-wrecks
the table, runs to the staircase, climbs on
Pegasus with shouts of "Gee up! Pegasus"
and flies away.
beats his breast and gives us positively the
last performance of his melodramatic-"A
storm of madness . . . rages in me! "
Lunobor continues to throw pearls of worldly
wisdom from his Manual on Aesthetics after
the fleeing Brouček.
sufficiently to trill on a top B flat before
a group of male musicians who file out from
the music star-point singing a chorus in praise
of the Splendid-One:
Praise the Splendid-One
Harken to his tale
Blessings on his
to us now.
influence of this inspiring stanza, the artists
quickly recover from their faint.
it twice as a solo in a broadened version,
adding a verse of his own in true lunatic-fringe
poetic vein: "Donít tear my soul, but
consent graciously to receive these my emotional
A heavy mist
comes down and quickly fills the whole stage,
so that, when the Prodigy Child sings the
chorus for the last time (accompanied by enthusiastic
cries of "Hurrah! Hurrah!" from
artists and musicians), we can now barely
see the Splendid-One (who has shuffled on
to his throne) and the excited throng of his
moon landscape is blotted out! We are now
in outer space: stars shine, meteorites flash
before our eyes, fall and burn: we are approaching
the Earth. Gradually the outline of the Vikárka
Inn becomes visible. It is dark; a red light
goes on and off: we can just make out the
company of artists leaving the inn after a
heavy nightís drinking, with Innkeeper Würfl
standing on the threshold beaming at them.
throws a parting bouquet to the Innkeeper-
Accept these heartfelt thanks
To you, dear friend,
in all your splendour.
We are, perhaps,
a little surprised to find the words and tune
identical with those of Harfoboj in the coda
of the moon scene; moreover, the merry chorus
sung by the departing artists is also curiously
reminiscent of the final song of the moon
artists; likewise their last "Hurrah!
calls after them "Please honour me again with
your patronage", we really feel we are
right back where we started.
Málinka, pressed closely together, come out
from the background. "Soon it will be
dawn! We are alone, I and my true love",
sings the amorous painter. "Perhaps youíd
rather be with that girl-the one you danced
with yesterday!" Málinka gently interposes.
laughs Mazal, "that was only a joke!
I donít even dance, you know that!"
comes running from the castle steps: he has
just spotted Mr. Brouček being carried home
drunk-in a box-to the delight of the artists.
in the inn are extinguished.
it will be dawn", the lovers sing happily
together; "We are alone-I and my true
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