Doubrava, born in Chrudim (Eastern Bohemia),
died in Prague 2.10.1960. After having finished his studies he
started his professional career as a secondary school teacher in
several towns of the country, inclusive his native town.
Concurrently, he studied the composition privately with Otakar
Jeremiáš, the famous Prague composer (1936 – 40). Due to his
successful composition effort the Czechoslovak Radio invited
him as a musical editor in 1945. From 1955 up to his early death he
worked as an independent composer. His civic and moral principles
raised him to the position of artists, tolerated at best, but not
favoured by state control. Nevertheless due to a
temporary politicalthawing in the period of
so-called “Prague Spring” he was awarded the price for creative
work “in memoriam” in 1969.
finished several compositions for stage performance: operas
Midsummer Night’s Dream (after W. Shakespeare), Christening of
St Vladimir (unfinished), Ballad on Love (first night in the
National Theatre in Prague, 1962), ballets: King Lavra and Don
Quijote. He created further compositions: 3 symphonies, from
4th – unfinished- is performed its fragment (first part)
titled The Autumn Pastoral, followed by number of chamber
music - suites and sonatas (for violin and piano), as well as
vocal music compositions (songs and choruses).
life and work are incorporated in the monograph “Composer in the
Clench of Two Totalities” written by Jaromir Havlik (Akademie
Muzickych umeni Praha, 2002).
reference to the author see: “Die Musik in Geschichte und
Gegenwart”, “Grove’s Dictionary”, “Cs. encyklopedie”, “Cs. hudebni
slovnik osob a instituci”.
tragicomedy Don Quijote, dedicated “to don Quijote in each
of us”, J.Doubrava finished in 1955, i.e. in the year of the
throughout the world cultural anniversary mentioned by World Peace
Council. The composer was awarded the price for the opus in The
Great Jubilee Competition in previous Czechoslovakia.
with Prologue, 5 scenes, and Epilogue, after M. de Cervantes
libretto by J. Bachtik and the author, was firstly staged in the
State Theatre in Brno, choreography by J. Nermut, conductor
J. Pinkas and by theatre ballet ensemble (first night at
22nd December, 1957). This opus was studied by
Volkstheater Rostock in 1961 and met with a great success as
at its first night and throughout the whole season
Quijote was put on the stage of the National Theatre in Prague in
the frame of the musical festival Prague Spring 1958. The five
parts Concert Suite from the ballet (Tobosa Vintage Fete,
Wondering in the Fog – Tilt at Windmill, Dance in the Pub, the
Flying Horse Ride, Epilogue) is often put on the concerts program.
It was also published both in print and sound record
Doubrava’s Don Quijote is not the only one Czech elaboration of the famous
theme. Mainly take us into consideration Viktor Dyk’s drama “Don Quijote’s
Mellowing “ (1914-Fr. Zavrel, stage direction, Fr. Kysela stage
design), as well as the “Don Quijote’s Head” by Otto Gutfreundsculptured nearly
contemporaneuously. (Collection of 31 wood engravings and 2
zincographies made by Quido
artist, second part of 19 century, published
by “Druzstevni Prace”, 1923.) Statues by the sculptor Jan Kodet were created in
novel illustrations painted by Frantisek
Tichy, were made in 50th, the cycle of graphic arts “The
Lonely Shepherd“ by Bohuslav Reynek, poet
and artist, over and above poetess’ cycle V.
Provaznikova “Don Quijote” inspired by Reynek’s graphic arts in
90th of the last
1) First night, Janacek’s
Theatre, Brno, 22nd December 1957
2) A press response: “Svet v obrazech”, January
3) State Theatre Brno at “Prague Spring
4) Volkstheater Rostock,, March 1961
5) Prague Spring 1969
tragicomedy with Prologue, 5 Scenes and Epilogue.
J. Bachtik and J. Doubrava after M. de Cervantes.
to don Quijote in each of us.
tragicomedy presents don Quijote as a life story of a man equipped
with his faith in justice and his dreams only. These are the hero’s
goals; nevertheless his effort turns in vain.
acts as the symbol of don Quijote’s longing. Don Quijote, as a
servant of the lady of his dreams, together with his friend Sancho
Panza, puts into fighting.
accompanies all the ballet scenes. She presents herself as a maid
in a pub where don Quijote is dubbed knight. She reveals between
actors and it is due to her that the knight tilts against
windmills. Even injured after having fallen from the wing of the
windmill he repeatedly fights for Dulcinea against the wineskins at
vintage fete in Tobosa. Don Quijote recognizes her at pastoral love
game, too. Her unattainability leads him to dance with his own
shadow. He leaves human society in the duke’s castle in order to
fly through star space. Contemporarily he fights against outlandish
masks of human stupidity, hate and envy so as to he could finally
defeat the death itself in the fight for immortality. At that
moment when Dulcinea and human dream stars crown him the
immortality victor with laurels don Quijote find himself in ruins
of wooden horse in the duke’s castle.
Quijote returns home from his expeditions misunderstood and mocked.
In the Epilogue, there is the death that is the winner finally.
Dulcinea and Sancho Panza are weeping for the dying
Contents of the ballet written by composer before its first
night in Brno, December 1957