Preloader Operavision
National Theatre Brno
28.11.2020 at 17h00 CET
Saturday, November 28, 2020 - 17:00

National Theatre Brno

Destiny (Osud)

Life always offers you a second chance

Operas | Janáček

A young woman in love with a composer is forced by her mother to take a rich suitor. When the two lovers are reunited years later, happiness is theirs for the taking, but a tragedy happens that changes everything.


Robert Carsen’s much-awaited premiere of Destiny opens this year’s edition of the Janáček Brno Festival (International Opera Award winner 2019). It comprises some of Janáček’s most magnificent music, which sways from the peaks of romantic rapture to the depths of desperation and back again.


The production was initially due for streaming on 14/10 but due to restrictions in Czech Republic, it has been postponed until 28/11.

Sung in Czech


The live performance will be subtitled in English. French, German & Czech subtitles will be available soon afterwards with the option of auto-translation into over 100 other languages.

Available from
28.11.2020 at 17h00 CET

Available until
28.05.2021 at 12h00 CET

Old Živný, a composerPhilip Sheffield
Young Živný, a composerEnrico Casari
Míla VálkováAlžběta Poláčková
Míla's motherNatascha Petrinsky
Dr. SudaPeter Račko
Lhotský, painterJan Šťáva
KonečnýLukáš Bařák
Miss Stuhlá, a teacherDaniela Straková-Šedrlová
Doubek (child)Petr Hrůša
Poet / StudentMichael Robotka
1st Lady / Miss PacovskáAndrea Široká
2nd Lady / Major’s wifeTereza Kyzlinková
Old Slovak WomanJitka Zerhauová
Councillor’s wifeJana Hrochová
Young WidowHana Kopřivová
EngineerPavel Valenta
Verva, studentLukáš Bařák
Součková, studentMarta Reichelová
Kosinská, studentJarmila Balážová
DoubekDaniel Matoušek
WaiterMartin Novotný
HrázdaOndřej Koplík

MusicLeoš Janáček
TextLeoš Janáček, Fedora Bartošová
ConductorMarko Ivanović
DirectorRobert Carsen
Set DesignerRadu Boruzescu
Costume DesignerAnnemarie Woods
Lighting DesignerRobert Carsen, Peter van Praet
ChoreographerLorena Randi
Chorus MasterPavel Koňárek
DramaturgIan Burton, Patricie Částková

Seventeen years ago the composer Živný had an affair with Míla. Míla’s mother disapproved of Živný and separated the lovers by arranging for her daughter to marry a richer man. The plan came to nothing because Míla was already pregnant with Živný’s child, but Živný believed that Míla left him for a richer man. He has poured out his bitter feelings into the composition of an opera…

Act I – Fifteen years ago

Živný and Míla meet again in the same spa. They are surrounded by guests from all walks of life, among them three men who are attracted to Míla: Dr. Suda, Lhotský and Konečný. Živný comes to realise that he has accused Míla unfairly of leaving him and begs for forgiveness, offering to take her and their child back. Míla’s mother is horrified to learn that her daughter has returned to the composer.

Act II – Eleven years ago

Míla and Živný are now married and living with their little son Doubek. Živný has been unable to finish his opera, but the bitter dramatization of the past has driven a wedge between husband and wife. At the piano Živný repeatedly plays and sings the ‘Fate’ motif which Míla’s deranged mother is heard repeating from her room. Míla begs her husband to abandon the work after little Doubek tells her that she does not know what love is. When Mila’s mother attacks Živný, accusing him of trying to steal her money and jewellery, Míla tries to restrain her. To Živný’s horror, both mother and daughter fall to their death.

Act III – The present, eleven years later

In the music conservatory where Živný teaches, students are sight-reading the storm scene from their professor’s strange unfinished opera, due to receive its premiere that night. Two students, Verva and Hrázda, sing solo scenes from the work. Verva believes that Lenský, the composer in the opera, must be Živný himself. To the embarrassment of the real Doubek, now also a student at the conservatory, Verva sings the scene where Doubek tells his mother that she does not know what love is.

As the students continue to mock Živný’s work, the composer appears. He describes Lenský as a lonely composer whose music did not meet with success until he fell in love with Míla. But it was too late: their love was doomed to fail and die.

The stormy emotion of reliving events from his own life overwhelms Živný. He collapses when recounting Míla’s death and imagines the sound of his dying wife’s voice. Verva suggests that this could be a possible ending to the opera, but Živný rejects the idea, insisting that the fate of the final scene must remain in God’s hands.

Robert Carsen