Condensing the life stories – memories of prison in Silesia – related by Dostoyevsky in his work The House of the Dead, Leoš Janáček composed an opera filled with burning desire and longing. Contagious savagery, cruelty and brutality are exacerbated by the confines of the prison. However, within its concrete walls emerge both tenderness and cruelty at the sight of an injured bird; a multitude of stories and highly personal monologues. Stripped of all artifice, Janáček’s music, in the words of Kundera, brings us above all “radically closer to reality”. With this production, first performed at the Wiener Festwochen in 2007, the Paris Opera pays tribute to Patrice Chéreau.