The essence of the project is the creation, preparation and implementation of an opera on the theme of Mikhail Bulgakov's novella, Heart of a Dog. This theme will be turned into a wandering opera performance in a large-capacity tent for about 300 listeners. The project creators´ ambition is to create an opera performance, addressing current issues (e.g., the role of science in society, social experiments, biomedicine or the relationship health and money). Bulgakov's text is the ideal melting pot of these themes. To think through the above issues in the context of European culture, we chose the genre of opera. As a synthetic art form (theatre, music, fine arts) based on a literary work, it offers a wide range of means of communication.
The project preparation has been commenced back in 2018. Over the past two years, the Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically slowed down the preparations. A libretto in English by Emmanuel Viaud has been successfully created. The music is to be composed by three composers — Miloš Orson Štědroň, Michael Emanuel Bauer and Robert Mimra. The latter composed the music for the first three opera scenes, whose version with vocals, piano, harpsichord and percussion instruments may be listen to here: 1. scene of the 1. act (https://youtu.be/E9sJDxXMszA), 2. scene of the 1. act (https://youtu.be/ZCvC2z4EKxM?t=57), 3. scene of the 1. act (https://youtu.be/8nJE7p7qtME). The final version envisages a sixteen-member instrumental ensemble, with musicians mainly from the Czech and Slovak Republics. An audition for the singing roles will be advertised in all countries involved in the project. We envisage two singing ensembles, which will take turns during the opera. Other members of the artistic team are director Karla Štaubertová, dancer and choreographer Andrea Miltner and designer Jan Pfeiffer. The sound master and light designer also participate in preparation of the first phase of the project.
The scene will include a more than eight-metre rotating tower with additional moving elements ‒ the tower design animation is available here (https://youtu.be/rZfWwwbFp_g). The tower is a separate project for which we have created a basic concept and a technical report. We envisage that after the opera implementation, the tower will be located in a public area, to serve as a focal point for other artistic activities and follow-up projects.We plan to perform operatic performances in a minimum of five European countries, including several streamed performances to other countries and outside Europe. The opera will be in English, and subtitles will always be provided in the national language of the country where the opera will be performed. The subtitle languages for streaming will be English, French and Spanish. We have pushed the date of our tour of Europe to 2026, but the definitive date will depend on the development of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Supplemental educational activities will follow up the opera performance. Firstly, these will be seminars for school pupils aimed at strengthening the artistic creativity of children and young people. The means to this end will be the opera performance, which will be used by the lecturers as the starting point for the individual school projects. The second educational area will be intended for professionals. We will create instructions on how to carry out independent opera performances outside brick-and-mortar theatres - we will offer a manual and training to the professional community. We will also educate young opera singers in the form of master classes. The third area will be dedicated to the public — it is a discussion on general topics such as the role of science in society, unequal access to healthcare, issues of aesthetic medicine, etc. The opera performance will serve as a catalyst to communicate these themes.
The society's rapid move into the online environment in 2020 and 2021 has also boosted the use of technology in our wandering opera project. The use of streamed performances, sound systems, video projections and modern tricks of light designers have already been contained in the original project version. The creation of a separate website for the wandering opera is a matter of course. Our novelty is the creation of a mobile application, which will serve as a communication channel with the audiences - it will be possible to book tickets through the application, find out the dates of the next performances (in terms of dates as well as location), accompanying educational activities, etc. The opera will also enable the use of the cinema machine principle - the spectators will have an option to vote on two versions of the beginning and end of the second act. The mobile application will be used for the voting. In the 2022/2023 academic year, a crowdfunding campaign planned to secure funding for the next project phase. As the main financial source, we will apply for a subsidy from the Creative Europe EU funds. Other resources will be donations from patrons, sponsorship donations, national cultural grants, proceeds from ticket sales and financial contributions to the project implementation by the organisations involved.