With a total of 35 completed ballets and operas, Bohuslav Martinů (1890–1959) was one of the most productive theatre composers of the 20th century. Throughout his life, he was interested in the latest theatrical trends and sought musical solutions to the problems they raised. Consequently, his stage works are astonishingly varied; conversational pieces appear alongside music dramas, works based on Dadaist or Surrealist texts alternate with poetic settings, and opportunities to embrace media, such as film or radio, are seized. Whether in Prague, in Paris, or in his decades of exile commuting restlessly between the USA, France, Switzerland and Italy, Martinů’s interest was not in theoretical discourse but in »making real theatre«. The book contains the critically edited libretti and scenarios of the theatre works he wrote between 1913 and 1937. The libretti appear in the original language and in English translation on facing pages. The genesis of each work is described, and key texts in its development are added.
The following works are included: Noc, Stín, Istar, Kdo je na světě nejmocnější, La Révolte, The Butterfly that Stamped, Ruce, Le Raid merveilleux, Kuchyňská revue, Voják a tanečnice, On Tourne!, Larmes de couteau, Les Trois Souhaits ou Les Vicissitudes de la vie, Échec au roi, Le Jour de bonté, Špalíček, Mariken de Nimègue, Hry o Marii, Hlas lesa, Veselohra na mostě, Divadlo za bránou, Juliette, Alexandre bis.