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A Zany Night Out ★★★★

Broucek reviews

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The Telegraph ★★★★

Fancy a genuinely zany night out? An excursion with Mr Brouček’s the answer

“Janáček’s most eccentric opera is a perfect match for the quixotic venture of Grange Park Opera’s Theatre in the Woods”

“You cannot argue that The Excursions of Mr Broucek is a success as an opera – but as a zany night out, it will do just fine.”

“At the centre of the show is Peter Hoare’s virtuoso triumph in the sustained role of Brouček,”

“The vocal writing is extremely demanding, not always quite logical, but brilliantly sustained by all.”

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The Times ★★★★

Time travel, latex and lunar sausages in Janacek’s weirdest work

“The music bubbles with invention and is strewn with tantalising whispers of Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen and Katya Kabanova, which were next in the pipeline.”

“Musical standards are strong. There are stirring choral contributions and the BBC Concert Orchestra … Fflur Wyn is tireless as a trio of women who are out of Broucek’s league and the GPO regulars Clive Bayley, Andrew Shore and Adrian Thompson are good value”

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The Arts Desk ★★★★

Biting satire from bouncing Czechs

“Grange Park’s staging is slick and snazzy, its intricate gags seemingly timed to the millisecond. The design team has done it proud … The cast, too, shine bright.”

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The Stage ★★★★

Fascinating, fantastical

“At Grange Park Opera, Pountney turns Janáček’s whimsical idiosyncrasies into hyperactivity worthy of Baron Münchhausen – spoofing all pretensions. Eurotrash meets Alice in Wonderland …”

“George Jackson conducts with a firm command of the mosaic score’s mood and meter-changing trickiness. He draws exhilarating rhapsodies from the BBC Concert Orchestra, notably the gorgeous conclusion to Act I when lovers Mazal and Malinka rejoice in their vision of a romantic Prague.”

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The Guardian ★★★★

Janáček’s farcical landlord is a hoot

“Grange Park Opera opened its 2022 season with Brouček in surely the most bizarre, outlandish and crazy production of any opera since the battle of Lipany (Don’t remember? 1434) …….. The only way to approach this oddity is to cast off the bondage of logic or meaning and embrace your inner zen. Breathe deeply. Then it all makes perfect sense.”

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Financial Times ★★★

Sharply satirical 

“For ambition, none can top Grange Park Opera. Based at West Horsley just outside the M25, and boasting a recently built jewel box of an opera house modelled on La Scala, it is offering operas on the grand scale and with a line-up of stars (Joseph Calleja, Bryn Terfel, Simon Keenlyside) the envy of companies twice its size.”

“In tune with expectations today, director David Pountney has sharpened the satire. Like a terrier that cannot resist biting any passing ankle, his brilliant new English translation sinks its teeth into targets as diverse as wealthy sponsors, contemporary art and music critics, gender politics, vegans, lockdown parties and the latest Boris Johnson balls-up”

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The Critic

Definitely a great night out

“Confusing, bizarre as it is, and certainly a one-off in Janacek’s operas of love and death (even among the animals in his Cunning Little Vixen), David Pourtney’s Broucek is definitely a great night out.”

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Planet Hugill

Definitely a great night out

“What made it all worth while were some brilliant performances of some superb music. From the opening notes of the prelude, we knew we were in secure hands as George Jackson and the BBC Concert Orchestra created Janacek’s characteristic gossamer sounds.”

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Spectator

A thoroughly enjoyable grand old heap of nothing: The Excursions of Mr Broucek reviewed

“Fflur Wyn, in particular, dances away with the role of the lovesick Malinka, and a cast that includes Mark Le Brocq and Anne-Marie Owens is unlikely to leave anyone feeling short-changed.”

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Bachtrack

Taking the Pils: Grange Park Opera proves that rare Janáček is no small beer

“The whole cast, meanwhile, seems to be having a ball. Peter Hoare’s superb Brouček combines the drunkard’s propensity for lethargy alternating with hyperactivity, and manages to shake off every indignity, whether it’s being snubbed by Fflur Wyn’s winningly persistent Málinka (also a lyrical Etherea on the moon and touching Kunka in the 15th century) or battling with the pub’s “khasi”, as he puts it.”

“All in all, though, a rip-roaring evening of opera, both timeless and topical.”

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