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Opera by Pavel Haas (1938)


In May 2011 at the invitation of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, a research project began with 4 principal aims:

1. To create the first English Translation of the Czech Libretto

2. To make a reduced orchestral score for a large chamber orchestra

3. To make a new staging for a non-traditional space

4. To make the work more available


The project was initiated by the  Design Department of RCS  under the direction of Martin Mallorie.


‘Sarlatan’, Pavel Haas’s only opera was written in 1938 for the great Mahen Theatre in BRNO, Czech Republic, now part of the National Janacek Theatre. The opera is set during the bleak and terrible  30 years war in Europe (1618 -  1648) with Haas’ own libretto adapted from Josef Winckler’s  novel Doktor Eisenbart (1929)


Haas, a composition pupil of Leos Janacek, described the work as a  “Tragi-Comic opera in 7 scenes” The music, while being totally original, mixes elements of folk music and jazz, and has echoes of the current contemporary music theatre in Berlin.


The research group was led by

Pamela Howard ( Director/Visual Artist )

Pavel Drabek ( Librettist/Translator )

Maestro Israel Yinon ( Conductor )

Ondrej Kyas ( orchestral adaptor )


In November 2011 the design and the music theatre department presented 3 excerpts from the opera, with the English Libretto and Piano score, entitled ‘The Rise and Fall of Pustrpalk, the Charlatan Doctor’ in a black box studio at RCS. The resulting critical debate from the invited audience confirmed the validity of the research project. The final English libretto is now completed, as is the  score for  24 musicians, and a small onstage band who are part of Pustrpalk’s travelling circus. Sarlatan  a music/theatre/opera is reborn as a 1hour 35 minute work in 7 ‘journeys’.


We honour the memory of Maestro Israel Yinon, champion of composers silenced by the Holocaust who died suddenly on January 30th 2015 aged 59.


Sandy Hutchison, poet  and translator, Royal Literary Fellow at RCS who died in November 2015, and who brought so much context and input to this project.


For an illustrated brochure detailing cast and music and staging requirements contact  Pamela@pamelahoward.co.uk  or  p.drabek@hull.ac.uk

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