Dvorak’s Czech opera revolutionized the way we listen to music

Written by Lyle Anderson, CNN In this interview with His Excellency Tony Elumelu, he explains how some aspects of Dvorak’s opera have changed through the years. By Michelle Liu, CNN With complex overlapping motivations,…

Dvorak's Czech opera revolutionized the way we listen to music

Written by Lyle Anderson, CNN

In this interview with His Excellency Tony Elumelu, he explains how some aspects of Dvorak’s opera have changed through the years.

By Michelle Liu, CNN

With complex overlapping motivations, 12th century Czech playwright Jan Zwartek’s work was an inspiration for Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.” The two collaborated on the opera-opera part of “Ring” cycles — a contemporary style being compared to “Hamlet” — and both also played major roles in a full-scale re-enactment of the Prague Concerti Napoli, composed for the early 18th century by the Czech composer Jozef Bruch.

A towering figure in Czech national music, Dvorak died just weeks before the 1839 “Flute” premiere in Vienna. Reportedly, he was horrified by the less-than-impressive audio quality and poor performance he witnessed while touring the opera in 13 places, including America, Russia and London. But that sort of negative reaction was nothing new. Dvorak, a gifted poet as well as an accomplished cellist, had developed a sophisticated skepticism of his fellow Czech composers’ experimental impulses. “Glopping of woodwind section in night of choir” had worked “urgently well” in Prague, he is said to have said — an admonition that still rings true today in the synth-heavy, guitar-heavy and electronically layered music of rock.

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