The expression “Slavic catharsis” was coined by Vladimír Helfert. The characterology of Slavic operatic figures may be obsolete, but his thoughts remain an interesting contribution to the history of the use of the Greek concept. Helfert intended to grasp the musico-dramatical idiom of Janáček’s operas where the element of “catharsis” is omnipresent. The work of Janáček suggests a new definition of “catharsis” in operatic music: more than a mere purification, it is to be understood as an insight in hidden truth.
During the 1960s, the operatic works of Slovak composer Ján Cikker were among the most often performed contemporary operas in Europe, especially in the two German states. The reasons of this success are as interesting as the reasons of the decline that occurred during the 1970s. In both cases, the intensity of the publisher Bärenreiter's support and marketing played an important role, as did the change of the audience's taste which brought a general decrease in the popularity of the post-war Literaturoper in the tradition of Richard Strauss, the music of which was moderately modern and did not fulfill (as it was not meant to fulfill) the requirements of New Music. The reception of Cikker's work, its aesthetic background, and its musical and dramatic solutions are exemplified within his chef d'oeuvre, the opera Vzkriesenie (Resurrection, 1962), based on Tolstoy's novel, which is highly consistent in its dramaturgy thanks to Fritz Oeser, the libretto's silent co-author.