Article about performer, dancer and choreographer Rudolf Laban

HZDJana Magdaléna Májeková: Vo víre tanca alebo ako sa sen stáva skutočnosťou: Cesta Rudolfa Labana z Prešporka na Vrch pravdy [In the Whirl of Dance or How a Dream Comes True: Thee journey of Rudolf Laban from Pressburg to the Mountain of Truth]. In Slavomír Michálek (ed.). História zadnými dverami 3 [History through the Back Door 3]. Bratislava: Premedia, 2021, s. 194-205.


About the article:


Born in Pressburg (Bratislava), Rudolf Laban (1879–1958) was a pioneer of modern expressionist dance. He had been interested in dance since childhood, but in 1912, at the age of thirty-three, he devoted himself entirely to dance. This was unacceptable to his father, a prominent officer in the Austro-Hungarian army, who wanted Rudolf, his only son, to have a successful military career. An important part of Laban's beginnings as a professional dancer were his summer stays at the Mountain of Truth (Monte Verità) near the Swiss town of Ascona, where he regularly taught dancing. However, the community in which he worked was very specific and unconventional at the time. Its members sympathized with pacifism, vegetarianism, return to nature, abstinence and nudism. This article deals with these aspects – childhood, family background, the desire to dance and work in the community at the Mountain of Truth – in the life of Rudolf Laban.




Two lecture byJiří Kopecký and Lenka Křupková

In autumn 2021, the Department of Musicology, Faculty of Arts, University of Olomouc held two lectures in the framework of the Visegrad Grant Project 2020-2021 - Towards a common regional history of our nation building strategies Travelling directors, musicians. The first event was a lecture by Jiří Kopecký, PhDr., Ph.D., doc. on 12 October 2021, entitled Proměny operního repertoáru v dlouhém 19. století (Changes of opera repertoire in the long 19th century). The second lecture - Obraz publika Městského divadla v Olomouci (The Image of the Audience of the Municipal Theatre in Olomouc) - on 25 October 2021, was given by Lenka Křupková, PhDr., Ph.D., doc. The content of the presentations was as follows:


Changes of opera repertoire in the long 19th century

On the example of the Olomouc opera scene, it is possible to demonstrate shifts in the opera repertoire, both in the general trends valid for the 19th century opera practice and by the specific conditions of the provincial theater. To a large extent, the opera repertoire was chosen according to the possibilities of the lead singers, especially the excellent prima donna managed to fill the auditorium of the theater throughout the whole season. Sopranos Lukatschy, Pollert and Lucca were such prominent personalities in Olomouc.


The Image of the Audience of the Municipal Theatre in Olomouc

The lecture tries to reconstruct the structure of the audience of the German municipal theatre in Olomouc. It focuses foremost on the period from the seventies of the 19th century until 1920 when the scene was handed over to the Czech administration. It is possible to reconstruct the stratification of the audience in the auditorium of the municipal theatre with the help of information in the contemporary local press, official records of the meetings of the municipal representatives and other documents stored in the Archives of the City of Olomouc, and to characterize its specifics, taste, national collocation and the dynamics of its transformation in the determined period of time.


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Conference papers themed on the V4 project

Conference presentations of our Visegrad project participants (Lili Békéssy, Rudolf Gusztin, Emese Tóth, Zsolt Vizinger). Conference papers themed on the V4 project. Symposium "Music criticism and dissemination". The 18th Scientific Conference of the Hungarian Musicological Society. Date: 8-9 October 2021. Venue: Venue: RCH Institute for Musicology, Budapest, Hungary. 


Emese Tóth: Görbetükör vagy jószándékú kioktatás? Ellinger József operaénekes a korabeli sajtóban [A curved mirror or a well-meaning lecture? Opera singer József Ellinger in the contemporary press]

Rudolf Gusztin: Fővárosi dalegyletek a korabeli sajtó tükrében (1843–1867) [Capital city choir societies in the light of the contemporary press (1843-1867)]

Lili Veronika Békéssy: Kulturális „jogkiterjesztés” és nemzeti indoktrináció. Koncerthirdetések az 1850-es évek pest-budai sajtójában [Cultural "extension of rights" and national indoctrination. Concert advertisements in the Pest-Buda press of the 1850s]

Zsolt Vizinger: „A quartett, e nem magyar műfaj” honosítási stratégiái és a sajtó válasza a 19. század utolsó harmadában ["Strategies of the naturalisation of the quartet, this non-Hungarian genre" and the response of the press in the last third of the 19th century]




Conference papers themed on the V4 project

Department for Hungarian Music History of the Institute for Musicology, Research Centre for the Humanities and the Liszt Ferenc Museum and Research Centre of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music. Date 2021. Venue: Liszt Ferenc Museum and Research Centre.

At the conference entitled “The Relationship Between Liszt and his Hungarian Contemporaries in the Light of Hungarian Cultural History” several members of the Hungarian Music History Department, also participating in the Visegrad project, presented papers:


Katalin Kim: Erkel és Liszt. Adalékok a Hunyadi László külföldi előadásaihoz [Erkel and Liszt. New datas to the performances of László Hunyadi abroad]

Pál Horváth: Liszt látogatásai a pesti Nemzeti Színházban [Liszt's Visits to the National Theatre in Pest]

Lili Veronika Békéssy: „Vox populi.” Liszt Ferenc 1873-as művészi jubileuma ["Vox populi." Ferenc Liszt’s 's artistic jubilee in 1873]

Rudolf Gusztin: Liszt Ferenc és az 1865-ös pesti országos dalárünnepély [Rudolf Gusztin: Ferenc Liszt and the National Choral Festival in Pest in 1865]

Zsolt Vizinger: Liszt Ferenc és Pest-Buda kamarazenei élete [Ferenc Liszt and the chamber music life of Pest-Buda]




Lecture and quiz for students at the Beethoven in Hungary exhibition

The Department for Hungarian Music History of the Institute for Musicology contributed to this year’s Festival of Hungarian Science (MTÜ) series of events organized by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences with a lecture and an optional quiz game. On 10 November 2021, staff members of the Department – Katalin Kim, Lili Békéssy, Pál Horváth, and Zsolt Vizinger – presented to a group of students of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music Bartók Béla Secondary School of Music, Instrument Making and Repair, the exhibition, entitled “music has come to the limits of expression” – Beethoven in Hungary celebrating the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth, focusing on Beethoven’s Hungarian connections and reception in Hungary, including the Hungarian operatic industry, the symphonic and chamber music, and the artistic patronage activity of the Hungarian nobility. The festive events held in 1870, the centenary of the composer’s birth, also provided an opportunity to explore the international Beethoven cult. Following the lecture, the secondary school students had the opportunity to take part in an interactive quiz game based on the lecture and the exhibition material; with a relaxed atmosphere created by a series of crosswords and a style exercise that challenged the creativity of the participants. Gabriella Murvai-Bőke and Emese Tóth took part in compiling the questions for the competition. The afternoon was moderated by Rudolf Gusztin.


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Lecture by Jana Laslavíková in Prague


On Thursday, 30 September, Jana Laslavíková gave a lecture entitled "The Municipal Theatre of Prešpork at the end of the 19th century. Between Province and Metropolis", organised by the Theatre Society and the Czech Theatre Studies Cabinet.

Laslavíková has recently published a monograph on musical theatre in Bratislava entitled  Mestské divadlo v Prešporku na sklonku 19. storočia. Medzi provinciou a metropolou (The Municipal Theatre in Pressburg at the end of the 19th century. Between Province and Metropolis). Among the most famous theatre architects within the Austro-Hungarian monarchy were F. Fellner Jr. and H. Helmer. They designed almost fifty theatres, including the Municipal Theatre in Pressburg, known at the time of its foundation as the Városi Színház/Stadttheater (today the HB SND in Bratislava). The new publication shares a complete list of performances in German from 1886-1899, provides the first complete overview of its history, including details of its artistic and technical operation. Despite the intensive Hungarianization of the city of Pressburg since the opening of the Municipal Theatre, the city decided to divide the season into German and Hungarian sections with respective directors and companies, which creates room for questions about the function of theatre in a multiethnic city in a given space and time.

Jana Laslavíková, Ph.D., graduated in musicology at the FIF University of Music in Bratislava and the University of Vienna. She works at the Historical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, where she researches the theatrical life in Pressburg in the 18th and 19th centuries in the context of cultural, social and historical transformations of the city.


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Tomasz Pudłocki's lectures

Professor Tomasz Pudłocki held four lectures at I Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. Króla Władysława Jagiełły w Dębicy (Dębica), at II Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. col. Leopolda Lis-Kula (Rzeszów), at V Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. Augusta Witkowskiego w Krakowie and at Liceum Ogólnokształcącego im. J. Słowackiego. The lectures were devoted to the role of artists in the life of nineteenth-century nations and their influence on independence aspirations and the sense of national identity.


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Publication about Cultural Transfer in Music Theater

cultural and artistic transfers

In October the Art Research Centre of the Slovak Academy of Sciences Institute of Theatre and Film Research published a book edited by Michaela Mojžišová, entitled Cultural and Artistic Transfers in Theatre and Music: Past, Present, and Perspectives



From the editorial note:

This journal, the work of thirteen musicologists and theatrologists from research institutes and universities, focuses on cultural and artistic transfers in art music and theatre in Central Europe. The contributions of the authors, who have already collaborated as team members in the Poetics of Contemporary Performance Art (VEGA 2/ 0110/19) and Towards a Common Regional History of Our Nation Building Strategies. Traveling Directors, Musicians (Visegrad Grants 2020 – 2021) projects, deal with the topic not only with regard to history and the present, but also in terms of future perspectives. They bring information on the role and status of music and theatre art and ponder over their possibilities in the open cultural environment of the twenty-first century. Cultural transfer/cultural exchange thus highlight the cultural conjunctions,
as well as differences, in regions which used to be homogeneous. The first thematic unit of the journal focuses on the period of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century up to 1918 when musical theatre in Austria and, later, in Austria-Hungary, fulfilled a representative role in the bourgeois society. 


The volume publishes the draft papers of the V4 group members – Jana Laslavíková, Lenka Křupková, Jiří Kopecký, Tomasz Pudłocki –, and invited speakers – Tatjana Marković and Cristina Scuderi) that were to be presented at the conference organised for September 2020 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Slovak National Theatre, but cancelled due to the pandemic.


Jana Laslavíková: Benefit Performances in the Municipal Theatre in Pressburg as an Example of Cultural Transfer in Musical Theatre in the Late Nineteenth Century

Cristina Scuderi: When Singers Come from the Sea. Some Remarks on Coastal Theatres and Their Management

Tomasz Pudłocki: Entertainment or National Duty? The Role of Music in the Life of Eastern Galician Provincial Towns 1867 – 1914

Tatjana Marković: Networks of Cultural Zones between Imperial Theatre Houses. Migrations of Two Serbian Musicians

Jiří Kopecký: Czech Opera Competitions and Their Effect on the Czech (and Slovak) National Theatre

Lenka Křupková: From Prague to Vienna via Bratislava. Reflecting on Novák‘s Operas The Zvíkov Imp and The Lanter




Jana Laslavíková's Book and an Interview

On Monday, 28 June 2021, the presentation of Jana Laslavíková's book entitled Mestské divadlo v Prešporku na sklonku 19. storočia s podtitulom Medzi provinciou a metropolou. (The Municipal Theatre of Prešpork at the End of the 19th Century, subtitled Between Province and Metropolis), took place in the garden of the Albrecht House in Bratislava. The publication, which deals with the history of the theatre building from 1886 to 1899, has been nominated for the 2020 Prize of the Slovak Academy of Sciences – reported


Co-authored by the Department of Musicology at the Faculty of Humanities of Comenius University in Bratislava, the book, produced by the Music Centre and the Institute of History of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, sheds light on the establishment and early years of the Municipal Theatre of Prešpork (since 1920 the seat of the Slovak National Theatre) and presents previously unknown data on the theatre's operation between 1886 and 1899, when two directors, Max Kmentt and Emanuel Raul, worked in Prešpork.

To mark the publication of the book, the musicologist was interviewed in a podcast by one of Slovakia's leading newspapers, SME. The interview, conducted by Jaroslav Valent, can be heard on the SME website.



Jana Laslavíková's lecture

UK Budova Safarikovo nam01 03 dbea3a173aOn 9 April, Jana Laslavíková gave a lecture for the doctoral and musicological students of the Comenius Universität.


The lecture entitled Je dokonané! Nádherné dielo, nová ozdoba nášho krásneho starobylého korunovačného mesta je dokončená! Konštruovanie identity mestských elít na príklade Mestského divadla v Prešporku [Constructing the identity of city elites on the example of the City Theater in Prešporek.].




Jana Laslavíková's lecture

Jana Laslavíková gave an online lecture at Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst "Music Culture/s in Central Europe. Lectures and Discussions" event in Vienna on March 18, 2021.

Laslavíková presented her new monograph (Mestské divadlo v Prešporku na sklonku 19. storočia), she highlighted the importance of Bratislava's city theatre [Városi Színház] towards the end of the 19th century, especially as to forming the identity of the city's cultural elite.

The lecture's ("Vollendet! Das prächtige Werk, die neue Zierde unserer schönen altehrwürdigen Krönungsstadt ist vollendet!" Identitätskonstruktionen der städtischen Elite am Beispiel des Stadttheaters in Pressburg) abstract available here.