Brazilian Operacontemporary operaPerformance Art

Czech Premiere of Plastic Flowers: an opera by João MacDowell

Plastic Flowers - in Czech

The International Brazilian Opera Company

CONTACT: Christina Morgan

Phone: 718.309.7588



Plastové kvety

Czech Premiere of Plastic Flowers: an opera by João MacDowell

Brno, Czech Republic – April 23, 2024

The Music Faculty at JAMU (Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno) proudly presents the Czech premiere of “Plastic Flowers,” an opera by Brazilian composer João MacDowell. Translated into Czech by Tomas Studeny, this emotionally charged opera promises to entrance audiences with its profound exploration of love, longing, and the complexities of human existence in a world of simulacra.

“Plastic Flowers” is a modern masterpiece that delves into the depths of the human soul, exploring themes of loneliness, identity, and the relentless pursuit of love in an environment of artificial rewards. Set against the backdrop of virtual reality and instant gratification, the opera follows the journey of Penelope, a woman trapped in a labyrinth of dreams and desires.

João MacDowell, known for his innovative blend of classical and popular music, has crafted a hauntingly beautiful and emotionally evocative score. From its chamber version premiere in New York City to its complete orchestral adaptation, “Plastic Flowers” has garnered critical acclaim for its poignant storytelling and rich musical tapestry.

The Czech premiere of “Plastic Flowers” will occur at Studio Devítka, located at the Music Faculty JAMU, on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, at 7:00 PM. Additional performances will be held on Friday, April 26, 2024, at 11:00 AM and 6:00 PM. The production features a talented cast and creative team, including director Martin Baöista, musical director Linda Coganová, and acclaimed mezzo-soprano Zuzana Jerábková in the role of Penelope.

“I am thrilled to bring this powerful opera to Czech audiences,” says João MacDowell. “The opera was designed as a tour de force for mezzo-soprano or counter-tenor in dress. I always thought that it would be useful to talented singers in universities for the necessary display of technical prowess and high musicianship. It also benefits the educational environment by discussing the meaning of our lives in a consumerist world. It deals with the pressing question of suicide prevention in the age of social media. In a time of idealized self-image, we all risk becoming Plastic Flowers, gathering dust in a dollar store.”

If you happen to be in the Czech Republic, near Brno, don’t miss the opportunity to witness the Czech premiere of “Plastic Flowers,” a thought-provoking opera that explores the complexities of human existence in a time of consumerism and artificial paradises.


The International Brazilian Opera Company was founded in 2014 with a mission to develop new operatic repertoire and foster collaboration between Brazilian and International artists. Since its founding, IBOC has developed seven operas, with five new works in development, and has assisted sixty-four artists with working visas.


Social: @ibrazilianopera

For more information, please contact:

Christina Morgan

Phone: 718.309.7588


Plastic Flowers in Czech – Premiere


Program in English:

Music Faculty

Studio Devítka, Music Faculty JAMU, Komenského náměstí 6, Brno

João MacDowell – Plastic Flowers

“Plastové kvety”

Operatic Psychological Monodrama


Semester project of students in the field of Opera Directing, Singing, and Musical Production

Premiere on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, at 7:00 PM

Reprises on Friday, April 26, 2024, at 11:00 AM and 6:00 PM

Plastic Flowers

Music and libretto: João MacDowell

Translation: Tomáš Studený

Direction, stage, costumes, and lighting design: Martin Baöista*

Musical preparation: Linda Coganová**


Filip Gargulík

Anna Hartmanová

Nina Lapcíková

Barbora Málková

Anna Marie Ruöikvasová

Vendula Vrbová


Penelope (mezzo-soprano): Zuzana Jerábková

Piano: Linda Coganová**


Direction: MgA. Tomáš Studený, Ph.D.

Production: Ing. Zdenka Vlachovská

Singing: MgA. Zdenek Plech

Acting: MgA. Lubomíra Sonková

Piano: prof. Alena Vlasáková

The work is presented with the author’s consent in the Czech translation.

  • An international student within the ERASMUS program in the 4th year of drama directing at the Academy of Arts in Banská Bystrica.

** Doctoral student in the Interpretation and Theory of Interpretation program at HF JAMU.


Plastic Flowers is an opera about broken hearts in the artificial world. We all desire love and affection, but virtual reality and promises of instant gratification are inherently doomed to fall into frustration. Everything is like plastic flowers, artificial paradises. The archetype of the main character is Homer’s Penelope from the Odyssey, whom I have reimagined as a forever-waiting Latin American immigrant somewhere in the suburbs. The opera is feminist. It is a story of a woman imprisoned in the labyrinth of her dreams, entangled in a web of emotions and desires. She became closer to me as I fell into the despair in the depths of her soul. The work also expresses pop culture, made of plastic, and similarly indestructible. It is an attempt to openly explore feelings amidst a globalized world, our empire of consumerism. As a musician, I had the opportunity to experiment with harmonies that twist in unusual progressions under memorable melodies. Harmonies lead to deceptive modulations, and with their often bitonal character, they evoke the emotional bipolar world of the heroine. It allowed me to openly draw from my pop roots and comment on them from some distance.

João MacDowell is a contemporary Brazilian composer known for frequently blending classical and popular music. He began his musical career as the frontman of the cult Brazilian band Tonton Macoute. He is the author of numerous symphonic works, operas, ballets, chamber compositions, and many popular songs, such as the official soundtrack for the 2014 FIFA World Cup or the solo album Alice in Miami. He composed the opera Plastic Flowers in Rio de Janeiro and New York from June to September 2012, initially in a chamber version for mezzo-soprano, piano, and live electronics. The concert premiere took place on December 17, 2012, at the Engelman Recital Hall (New York City), and the stage premiere of the opera in Portuguese was in September 2014 in Rio de Janeiro. The orchestral version was created in 2017.


The operatic monodrama Plastic Flowers by João Macdowell invites us to look into the soul of a woman – Penelope, into her dreams, dilemmas, and life story, reflected in memories, dreams, and experiences. It reveals questions of relationships, loneliness, and the search for one’s own identity, offering deep reflections on human existence. These are current and universal themes that touch each one of us. Penelope’s story is full of longing for love, pain, disappointment, hope, and inner strength. Moreover, the main character becomes a symbol of our time, marked by feelings of emptiness in a materialistic, consumerist world full of impressions and instant emotions that overwhelm us. Each of us has our share of them. Some of us accept them, but some we grow out of, some we destroy. Indeed, you may have your favorite sweater you won’t throw away because it makes you feel safe and secure. Maybe you also have a toy you would never touch because it brings sadness, but you still don’t throw it away. As time goes by, we experience a lot and fill our souls. However, we must step out of our comfort zone, get rid of everything, and start again from scratch.

Martin Baöista was born in Bardejov. Since childhood, he developed his artistic inclinations at the ZUä in Raslavice, where he grew up. He continued this at the State Conservatory in Koöice, where he graduated in music and drama. He later defended his bachelor’s degree in drama directing at the Academy of Performing Arts in Banská Bystrica. There, he was also awarded the Dean’s Prize of the Faculty of Dramatic Arts AU, and currently continues his studies at the master’s level. In addition, he is the founder and leading figure of the theater ensemble NA SKOK, which has made a significant mark nationally in a short period, earning numerous awards for direction, dramaturgy, and scenography. In 2021, he organized the first edition of the NA SKOK – FEST theater festival in Raslavice, which has been held annually since then. His great affection for music and opera led Martin to HF JAMU, where he is currently completing his final year in the field of opera directing as part of the ERASMUS program with this production.

Zuzana Jerábková is a versatile and talented interpreter with a remarkable vocal and expressive range. As a student at JAMU, she gained experience on several opera stages, performing in Ostrava, Opava, Olomouc, Molodechno, Belarus, and was also a member of the opera studio in Spoleto, Italy (as Gilda, etc.). She has performed with many domestic orchestras, including the Brno Philharmonic, and regularly participates in numerous masterclasses. She has also received several significant awards, such as the overall winner of the Prague Singer competition, 1st prize at the Dvořák Competition in Karlovy Vary, and the Francesca Paola Neglii competition. Recently, in the Chamber Opera of HF JAMU, she significantly portrayed the main role of Nero in the production of Monteverdi’s Coronation of Poppea.


We would like to thank everyone who contributed to the creation of the performance “Plastic Flowers.” Special thanks go to the author of the opera, João MacDowell, for his willingness to allow the performance, translation, and provision of all necessary materials. We also extend our sincere thanks to all the educators for their professional guidance and support, especially Zdenka Vlachovská, Tomáš Studený, and Lubomíra Sonková. Particular appreciation is dedicated to the Department of Building Administration at HF JAMU, Studio Marta, Eve Kourilová, and Katerina Siaušiková from the Theater on Orlí, and last but not least, to Juraj Gondo and Libor Kocíma for their enormous help with the production of stage decorations.

Studio Devítka

Music Faculty JAMU, Komenského nám. 6, Brno