On March 19, 2019 the musical performance of Radek Brzobohatý Theater, Freddie, was played for the last time in the completely full theater in Jablonec nad Nisou.
Under Karel Janák direction, a rather sharp script turned into a remarkable work of art, mainly thanks to the superb interpretation of the legendary band‘s songs, which were played live by Queenie, one of the world's most renowned Queen tribute bands. Their frontman, Michael Kluch, starred as Freddie Mercury, and together with the band, Jiří Korn (band manager’s representative), and other protagonists they presented a fascinating, breathtaking performance full of emotions. The artists on the packed stage were rewarded with a thunderous final applause including a standing ovation. This last performance of the musical, organized outside of Prague, was a somewhat secret but very pompous farewell to the audience.
We have asked Michael Kluch, who plays the lead role as Freddie Mercury: What was behind such an unexpected end?
“I'm very sad about it, both for myself and the band and for the other artists who spent a lot of time and energy preparing this performance and expected the result of their effort to last. It is obvious that none of the performers can influence the copyright factors. That is purely a matter of production.”
Am I to understand that the theater‘s copyright ended with this performance?
“We don't even know exactly how it was done with the copyright. We know only that there was some conflict regarding an infringement of the copyright in this performance, which is why today it was probably the last time we played it. A new version is being prepared. The new script’s concept would not need the approval of the Queen group copyright holders, but for now it does not seem promising.
Is the script not good?
“I don't want to evaluate the script as such, but Queen without Queen?! That's nonsense to me. Culture is supposed to entertain and enrich people, not to look for ways to bypass some rules – that's not how we want to be. With the band, we perform all over the world and we do care how people abroad see us and what they say about us. If we want to be a proud nation, we can't just constantly work around things in some cunning ways.”
So will you and Queenie not take part in the next version?
“I don’t think so at the moment. We are proud of our previous work on the musical, we enjoyed doing it and we would be glad to continue with the original version. However, if it‘s true that the authors‘ consent has never been issued at all, our efforts to carry on with this project would most likely be pointless. As I have already mentioned, we cannot, and indeed do not want to, participate in something that infringes copyright.”
What’s the situation with the copyright and Queenie?
“For organizing concerts, the consent of the authors is not necessary – only the organizer of each event where we play pays the authors royalties according to the rules. We do not need to handle that part.”
What are you preparing in the near future?
“We are planning a lot of concerts both in our country and around the world, even though, unfortunately, we cannot be everywhere. In April we will play in Sweden and Costa Rica, but Prague fans can enjoy our show on April 16, from 19:00, at Retro Music Hall. In May, besides Denmark and Prague, we will bring our Queen Relived show to Olomouc, Pilsen and České Budějovice, where the concert tickets are already sold out. I can't remember all the concerts we've arranged, but we will also play in other cities, so hopefully there will be something for every fan. We are also preparing one special pearl, but that one is still a secret.”
Which concert are you looking forward to most?
“We look forward to all our concerts, and we enjoy them to the fullest. If I should name just one though, I am thinking of our most recent addition – we have been invited to the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival, with Sir Elton John as its main star this year.