Programme

Dvořák Collection Dvořák Collection

Last year, the exclusive Dvořák Collection series began its chamber music phase. This year, it will continue with the royal discipline of the string quartet. Since Beethoven’s day, the string quartet has justifiably had the reputation of being the genre in which composers reveal what is most fundamental to their art and where the greatest depths lie within them. Of course, this is also the case with Antonín Dvořák’s greatest quartets, with which this year the festival is continuing its long-term project for complete performances and recordings of Dvořák’s works.

A long-term participant and starting this year the curator of the series is the Czech Republic’s Pavel Haas Quartet, which the British journal Gramophone recently listed among the ten most important quartets of all time. All of Dvořák’s quartets will be heard at the festival under the “supervision” of the Pavel Haas Quartet, as will other important chamber works in the following years. This year will be devoted purely to quartets: representing top foreign ensembles will be the Jerusalem Quartet and the Juilliard Quartet, and besides the Pavel Haas Quartet, presenting the domestic tradition of the genre will be the Bennewitz Quartet, the Zemlinsky Quartet, and the Sedláček Quartet. 

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Chamber Series Chamber Series

If string quartets are probes into the soul of a composer, beginning this year they will also probe the soul of the Dvořák Prague Festival. This year launches a three-year project for performance of Antonín Dvořák’s complete quartets and other important chamber works. For three years, the Chamber Series is structured as an independent festival within the overall festival events. The initial parameters do not allow for any expectations other than superlative results.

The Chamber Series curator will be the Pavel Haas Quartet, which has long been dominant on the worldwide quartet scene. The quartet’s renown supported by success with the public and the critics and also by a number of prestigious awards will serve as a guarantor for three seasons of the festival. The Pavel Haas Quartet has invited colleagues from home and abroad who love Dvořák’s music and interpret it in an individual way.

All of the invited quartets are “required” to add a Dvořák quartet of their choice to their programmes. This year, the Chamber Series will present six concerts profiling top chamber groups from around the world with the intensive participation of representatives of the Czech quartet tradition.

The Jerusalem and the Juilliard along with the Czech Republic’s own Bennewitz, Zemlinsky, and Sedláček quartets will present Dvořák’s works alongside classics by Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert as well as seldom heard works by Erich W. Korngold and Rafael Kubelík. Each year, a brand new quartet composition will also be heard.

Holding a place of special importance within the Chamber Series is a concert bordering between a chamber music project and a recital. The dominant feature is the participation of a world-famous artist, the Argentine pianist Martha Argerich, who will appear before the Prague public along with the phenomenal trumpet player Sergei Nakariakov. Joining these internationally renowned stars on stage will be another pianist, Maria Meerovitch.

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World-Class Orchestras World-Class Orchestras

Munich – Cleveland – London –Stockholm: in the World Class Orchestras series, the Dvořák Prague Festival has prepared for its public another journey around the sonic map of the symphonic world. Several consecutive concerts in one hall will offer a unique opportunity to see that even in a globalised world, first-class orchestras do not sound at all alike. There will also be outstanding conductors and soloists.

Opening the festival is the Munich Philharmonic with the cellist Truls Mørk. Together, they will play not only Dvořák’s Cello Concerto and New World Symphony, but also Schumann and Bruckner on another programme. This will present a confrontation between the traditions of Czech and German Romanticism with the sound of the same performers.

Performing works by Richard Strauss and Alban Berg will be the specialist Franz Welser-Möst and his Cleveland Orchestra. London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is coming with its new chief conductor Vasily Petrenko and the Czech pianist Lukáš Vondráček.

At the final concert will be Daniel Harding and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra with an original view of Dvořák’s Noon Witch and Seventh Symphony. Between the two works by the festival patron, we will hear Béla Bartók’s Violin Concerto with Veronika Eberle playing the solo part.

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Czech Philharmonic Czech Philharmonic

At this year’s festival, the Czech Philharmonic will have only a single task, which it will carry out on three evenings. The dimensions of the project correspond to several usual concerts: a concert performance of Dvořák’s opera Rusalka.

In this way, the Czech Philharmonic is taking part in Opera in Concert, a popular series that is not included in every festival season, but that has already presented some of Dvořák’s early operas in past seasons. 

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Opera in Concert Opera in Concert

This year, Dvořák’s most famous opera has been chosen, and the moment will be made special by a unique constellation of artists. The Czech Philharmonic and its chief conductor Semyon Bychkov will create a wonderful musical environment for the Lithuanian soprano Asmik Grigorian, probably the most acclaimed performer of the role of Rusalka on stages around the world. Her Prince will be the Ukrainian tenor Dmytro Popov. The Czech bass Jan Martiník will sing the role of the Water Goblin, and in the role of the Witch is the American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, who has also excelled in the role at the Metropolitan Opera. The Slovak mezzo-soprano Jana Kurucová will appear in the role of the Foreign Princess.

The Czech public welcomed the work immediately at its premiere in 1901, but strangely it took a long time for the opera to catch on abroad. Today it is probably the most performed Czech opera, especially now that its psychological depths have risen to the surface through the fairytale subject matter. The constant tension between the world of spirits and people and between desires and reality is reflected in Dvořák’s lyrical musical setting of Kvapil’s text, in which, besides poetry and sorrow, there is no lack of passion and eroticism. Thanks to this, Rusalka speaks so eloquently even in a concert performance that it does quite well without being staged, especially when one can expect a performance of top quality with a wonderful international cast.

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For the Future For the Future

A good school means a lot in music, but without experience it is not enough. With the series For the Future, the Dvořák Prague Festival gives young musicians a chance, whether they aspire to a solo career or to membership in symphony orchestras. As part of the main programme of a renowned festival, they have a chance to experience real performing. Of course, that does not mean that the festival leaves them to their fate: it puts at their disposal not only the stage where, for example, the Cleveland Orchestra has played the day before, but also the professional service of a renowned institution.

Tying in with the projects of the Dvořák Prague Youth Philharmonic in previous years, the Symphony Orchestra of the Prague Conservatoire will be led by the experienced conductor Petr Altrichter, who began the systematic preparations for the festival appearance this February. This is a fulfilment of the festival’s long-term mission of organising orchestral courses that prepare performances of top quality. 2021 Concertina Praga laureate Daniel Matejča will play the solo part in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto.

This year’s participants in the Concertino Praga – Antonín Dvořák International Radio Competition for Young Musicians will present themselves at Talent Stage. The finalists will then appear at the Rudolfinum with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra and the conductor Robert Jindra. Only thereafter on the basis of their live performances will the jury decide on the winners of this year’s competition.

Again this year, the festival’s programming is not neglecting contemporary composers. In cooperation with the Sedláček Quartet, the festival has commissioned a new work from the composer Martin Wiesner for a festival premiere.

The festival wants not only to help truly young artists get an education, but also to open the door to the concert stage for top young performers. Therefore, it has joined forces with the Arts and Theatre Institute and with the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague in the project Showcase 2022. Within the context of the festival’s programmes, with the cooperation of players of the Czech Sinfonietta under the leadership of its founder, chief conductor, and mentor Radek Baborák, it will be presenting top Czech performers of the rising generation to concert presenters from this country and abroad. 

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Soirée at the Bořislavka Centre Soirée at the Bořislavka Centre

The Dvořák Prague Festival at Bořislavka is a new programme series that highlights the connection that binds Karel Komárek and his foundation to the Dvořák Prague Festival, of which he is the biggest patron. Locating a new concert series at the Bořislavka Centre, the new headquarters of the Karel Komárek Family Foundation, is an expression of the foundation’s solidarity with the festival. This symbolic connection is further strengthened by the fact that the programme of this series is devoted predominantly to young performers. The foundation intensively supports their artistic development in cooperation with the presenter of the Dvořák Prague Festival, the Academy of Classical Music.

The format for all these concerts will be a “soirée”, meaning concerts in the early evening with less emphasis on formality but with the intention of offering a musical experience to everyone who lives or works near the Bořislavka Centre.

The opening concert of the series on 13 September 2022 has been entrusted to the Epoque Quartet, whose music speaks to listeners of all generations with its synthesis of classics, pop, and jazz. The other concerts will belong to the youngest stars in the musical firmament: on 15 September we will hear the winners of Concertino Praga 2021, the duo of the violinist Kristian Mráček and the cellist David Pěruška accompanied by the pianist Veronika Jaklová. On Tuesday, 20 September, one of the most promising young Czech ensembles, the Kukal Quartet, will introduce itself with the pianist Matouš Zukal. The whole series will conclude with the very youngest perspective performers who are receiving systematic instruction from the piano virtuoso Ivo Kahánek and the Czech Philharmonic concertmaster Jan Fišer.

Each concert will last about an hour and will take place in the foyer of the Bořislavka Center at 5.30 pm.

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On the Trail of Dvořák On the Trail of Dvořák

This year’s traditional festival overture On the Trail of Antonín Dvořák is taking us to Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad) in western Bohemia. Over the centuries, the famed spa town has witnessed many visits by composers, although they were not always there for medical treatment. In Karlovy Vary, Dvořák met with his main publisher Fritz Simrock and with the important Viennese music critic Eduard Hanslick, and he also heard his works performed there several times. The famed spa orchestra often included his music on its concert programmes. Karlovy Vary can also take pride in having been the place where the European premiere of Dvořák’s New World Symphony took place in the composer’s presence. The residents of Karlovy Vary are preserving the local Dvořák tradition to this day, as is shown by the regular holding of the Antonín Dvořák International Singing Competition or the fact that Karlovy Vary was the first city in the world where a statue of the composer was erected. Festival visitors will get the chance to visit authentic sites where Dvořák stayed, and of course there will be plenty of his music as well, which promises to be a special experience in conjunction with the lovely Old-World architecture of the city. As usual, the festival musicologist Dr David Beveridge will supplement the programme with expert commentary.

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Dvořák Prague Family Day Dvořák Prague Family Day

Family Day at the Dvořák Prague Festival is a day for sharing the joy of music and for fun and games for children and their parents.

 

 

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