Bohuslav Martinů’s relationship to opera was initially very reserved. His first operas, written when he was almost forty years of age, are borne in a spirit of sarcasm and the endeavour to modernise this archaic formation by means of vaudeville, jazz, film and other phenomena of the time. Yet at the beginning of the 1930s he fundamentally turned his attention to extremely old-fashioned inspirations – Baroque and Classicist musical forms, the folk song, medieval theatre. In a freely stylised fashion, all these sources come together in his 1934 opera The Miracles of Mary, which is not actually an opera in the ordinary sense of the word. It is rather a series of “plays”. Martinů chose for his themes the stories from four ancient genres with religious subject matter (a biblical parable, a miracle play, a Christmas folk song and a fantastic legend), yet he neither pursued their dramatic line nor the spiritually instructive message but focused on their poetry, free creation of atmosphere and time-space, his own “rules of play”. And in so doing he applied a wide scale of expressive means – church and folk song, dance, spoken word and operatic arioso, the primitive sound of a fairground band and dramatically extreme symphonic sequences, mass scenes and dreamy visions… This all is freely connected by a single theme: Mary, the woman, mother, saint, or the illusion of it all, of someone who heals our wounds and brings us to felicity, or at least the dream of it.