The book traces the life and work of Czech scenic designer and architect Josef Svoboda (1920–2002), from his earliest amateur work in his home town of Čáslav to his last production in 2002. It covers the important period of his work at Velká opera 5. května [5 May Grand Opera] in Prague, his move to Národní divadlo [the National Theatre], the period of Socialist Realism, and the great era at the National Theatre under directors Bohumil Hrdlička, Alfréd Radok, Otomar Krejča, Jaromír Pleskot and Miroslav Macháček, and at the opera under Václav Kašlík. It follows the rise, international success, and subsequent fate of Laterna magika, which helped launch Josef Svoboda onto the world stage of opera and ballet, and it looks at his work with prominent international directors of dramatic works. It also remembers Josef Svoboda as an architect; unfortunately none of his theatre building projects was ever executed.
Besides this exhaustive study, the book contains almost three hundred black-and-white and colour photographs and prints, biographic information and personal photographs, a definitive list of his scenic design work with an illustration to accompany each item, and a selected bibliography. Josef Svoboda’s theatrical work and technical and technological innovations put him in the same ranks as the world’s most important scenic designers of the second half of the 20th century. He and other Czech scenic designers were instrumental in earning international renown for Czech scenic design and they also helped to found the international Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space. The book includes a DVD of Jakub Hejna’s film Divadlo Svoboda [Svoboda Theatre].
Price 890 CZK (paperback) / 430 pp. / ISBN 978-80-7008-290-4
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