Synopsis: Aus einem Totenhaus

from Leos Janácek

From the House of the Dead

A Siberian prison camp in winter. Prisoners emerge from the barracks to wash and eat. An argument breaks out. Petrovich, a new prisoner, arrives. He is interrogated by the commandant, who orders him to be flogged.
The prisoners tease an eagle with a broken wing, but admire its defiance in captivity.
Some prisoners go to work, others recount their stories. Petrovich is brought back after his flogging.

By the banks of a river, the following summer. Petrovich strikes up a friendship with Alyeya, a Tatar boy. It is a feast day and a priest comes to give a blessing. The prisoners perform two plays on an improvised stage. Another fight breaks aout and Alyeya is injured.

The prison hospital. Alyeya is sick. Various prisoners tell their stories. The commandant informs Petrovich he is to be released.
The prisoners release the eagle and celebrate its freedeom as it flies away before they are ordered back to work.