The Velvet Oratorio


An evocative retelling of the Czech Velvet Revolution using found text, choral music, and scenes inspired by Václav Havel's Vanêk plays. The work was originally presented at the Walter Bruno Theater at Lincoln Center, as part of the New York Public Library of the Performing Arts' Performing Revolution Festival. This book includes the full text of both the scenes and choruses, as well as interviews with the composer and the librettist.

Read an excerpt and our guide to some historical figures of the Velvet Revolution.

“Slyly written...often beautiful”

The New York Times

“A new music theater piece puts a human face on the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, the nonviolent people's movement that led to the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989...irony, contradiction and some bawdy humor, which lends sympathy and humanism to the political subject.”

Musical America

“A wonderfully conceived distillation in words and operatic music of what happened in Czechoslovakia after the Berlin Wall.”


“Sweeping.  Poignant.  Elegiac...Culminating in a divided society with a new playwright president leading a nation voting for the first time in nearly 50 years, The Velvet Oratorio’s real triumph is the subtle confrontation of expectations: there is no happily-ever-after ending; if anything, the loose ends are more frayed than compounded. However, that this production can reflect the messiness of a society undergoing traumatic historic events is a testament to the scope and comprehension Einhorn and Untitled Theatre Company #61 have achieved with this delicate tribute to an era gone by."

Art Nerd

"A delicate, layered, and powerful retelling of the Velvet Revolution.   Trumbell is fantastic, showcasing our own face into the fray with bewilderment, humor, and a take charge performance."


136 pages

ISBN 978-0-9770197-3-1