Header image


Hard boiled egg

Theater of Ideas:
scientific, political, philosophical,
and above all theatrica

"Exquisitely ingenious"
- The New York Times


velvet Oratorio logo



Libretto by Edward Einhorn
Music/staging by Henry Akona

Bruno Walter Auditorium
Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center
111 Amsterdam Avenue
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
(at Lincoln Center)

Thursday, November 19, at 6pm

Bohemian National Hall
321 East 73rd Street
Monday, November 30, at 7pm

Seats available on a first come/first served basis at the Bruno Walter
For reservations at the Bohemian National Hall, call or email the Czech Center:
646-422-3399 or info@czechcenter.com

More about the Velvet Revolution:
a timeline and a glossary of people and places

"The scenes are played for irony, contradiction and some bawdy humor, which lends sympathy and humanism to the political subject and the paranoid atmosphere that defined the era...Henry Akona's cleverly dissonant, rhythmic music [is] deftly and tastefully orchestrated...Like Bertolt Brecht's poetry, this work succeeds by framing the minuscule, everyday aspects of life in the context of oppression rather than insisting on sentimental patriotism or heroics...a tasteful and thought-provoking reminder of the rapid change brought to Central Europe in those heady and confusing days." Musical America

Performing RevolutionThe Velvet Oratorio, a new piece written in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, will have its world premiere on November 19 as part of New York Public Library for the Performing Arts’ upcoming festival, Performing Revolution in Central and Eastern Europe. The Velvet Oratorio is an evocative retelling of the Velvet Revolution through found text, choral music, and scenes inspired by Václav Havel's Vanêk plays. Performers will include a choir and a string quartet.

The piece is organized as a series of alternating scenes and choruses, the chorus representing the crowds in Prague during the events spanning November 17, 1989 to January 1, 1990. The text for the oratorio is based partly upon recently released U.S. State Department documents and corresponding Czechoslovakian / Soviet documents and interviews with journalists, diplomats, and ordinary people who were in the streets of Prague during the revolution.

Members of the Choir of Saint Mary the Virgin Times Square, Craig Anderson, Timothy Babcock, Danny Bowes, Peter Brown, Jonathan Farmer, Andrea Gallo, Joe Gately, Josh Hartung, Uma Incrocci, Eric Oleson, Yvonne Roen, Tony Torn

Production Staff
Libretto: Edward Einhorn, Music/Staging: Henry Akona, Dramaturgy: Karen Ott,
Musical Director: James Kennerley, Video Designer: Jared Mezzochi,
Costume Designer: Carla Gant, Lighting Designer (BNH only): Jeff Nash
Assistant Director: Tom Berger, Stage Manager: Marissa Bea,
Concert Master: Michael Midlarsky

Tony Torn and Peter Brown, Scene 4