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March 02 , 2009

Diary of One Who Vanished

A Song Cycle by Leos Janacek of Poems by Ozef Kalda


A Cycle of Love Songs Translated by the Nobel Laureate

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Commissioned to mark the centenary of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in 2004, The Burial at Thebes is Seamus Heaney's new verse translation of Sophocles' great tragedy, Antigone - whose eponymous heroine is one of the most sharply individualized and compelling figures in Western drama. Faithful to the 'local row' and to the fierce specificity of…

"Dappled woodland light,
Spring well chill and bright,
Eyes like stars at night,
Open knees so white.
Four things death itself won't cover,
Unforgettable forever."

In 1917, while reading his local newspaper, the Czech composer Leos Janacek discovered the poems that he was to set to music in his song cycle Diary of One Who Vanished. Written by Ozef Kalda and published anonymously, they tell the story of a farmer's boy who abandons his home because he has fallen in love with a Gypsy. These new English versions by Seamus Heaney were commissioned by the English National Opera for a series of international performances, which opened in Dublin in October 1999.

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