- Helena Havlíková
Opera in five acts by Jiří Pauer to his own libretto after Jan Bor’s play of the same name; Prague, National Theatre, 30 December 1958.
The opera, set during the years 1587–1620, deals with the love between Petr Vok (baritone), head of the powerful Rožmberk family, and the lowly country girl Zuzana (dramatic soprano). Refusing to be bound by convention, Zuzana gives Petr an heir. Vok’s wife (contralto) secretly kidnaps the child; meanwhile the situation has angered and alienated Zuzana’s former lover and betrothed, Ondrej (tenor). After Vok’s death Zuzana is driven out of the castle, but at the end of her life she sees Ondrej and her son again and finds lasting peace.
Composed between 1954 and 1957, Zuzana Vojířová is based on a highly successful historical play written during the German occupation. Pauer completely revised the work in 1978, and it was one of the most frequently performed Czech operas until the end of the 1970s. Pauer viewed opera within a socialist culture as a means to provide a social forum and platform on which to play out the ethical and ideological struggle for the improvement of humanity. In this sense, ...