Moments from life at IBTS

Impressions from the Opera

Dear Readers, meet a new blogger on our site: Gyorgy, a Magister student from Hungary. Here’s what he had to say about yesterday:

In ancient times, some Roman politicians provided free wheat for the people and financed expensive circus games for them in order to get their support. Hence the Latin phrase panem et circenses – give bread and circuses to the people and they will be happy to stand on your side.

Unlike those ancient Romans who lived in the great city during the decline of the empire and cared only to satisfy their shallow desires, citizens of contemporary Prague crave for more sophisticated pleasures. Instead of ’chléb a hry’ (bread and circuses), how does beer, sausages and opera sound?

Once every year, thousands of people gather to Šárka Valley to enjoy the outdoor performance of the Czech National Opera. The actors and actresses are dressed in artistically made colourful medieval costumes, some of them are riding on large muscular stallions, and the stage is the valley itself in full summer splendor – a lot of beauty for the eyes. The grand orchestra and all those highly trained baritone, bass, tenor and soprano voices echoed by the valley walls – a real enjoyment to the ears. Add some good beer and sausages for the tasting buds, and enjoy all these in a cheerful company of friends: could someone ask for more?

Well, actually, one could. All these pleasures could well be like empty and meaningless Roman ludi (public entertainment festivals against which the Church Fathers spoke) without the presence of the one who created nature and art and our senses. For those of us who know God intimately, our joy does not remain in the realms of the aesthetic but through gratitude for all these good things inevitably and spontaneously turns into worship.

I am convinced that the Lord is happy whenever his disciples are happy (as long as we are not sinning) and that our worship possibilities are not confined to formal occasions. But I also wonder about a similar gathering taking place at times in a setting like this valley, with us singing for our Father, breaking the bread and sharing the wine.

– Gyorgy

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