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Friday, September 23, 2016, 8.00 pm
Czech Philharmonic Dvořák Collection III

Programme

Antonín Dvořák: Psalm 149, Op. 79, B. 91Bohuslav Martinů: Field Mass, H. 279Antonín Dvořák: In Nature´s Realm, Op. 91, B. 168Othello, Op. 93, B. 174Carnival, Op. 92, B. 169

Music by Czech composers rendered in perfect style by the Czech Philharmonic and the Prague Philharmonic Choir under the baton of Jiří Bělohlávek will offer an ideal combination of ingredients for an exceptional musical experience. Moreover by programming Dvořák's Psalm 149 the festival is continuing to fulfil its long-term mission of presenting works by Dvořák that have been unjustly neglected.

  • Dress code: dark suit
  • Doors close: 19.55
  • End of concert: 22.00

Artists

Prague Philharmonic Choir

The Prague Philharmonic Choir, which has been appearing on concert stages for over eighty years, is one of Europe’s most important choral ensembles. It was established by the legendary Czech choirmaster Jan Kühn, who originally created the choir for Czechoslovak Radio broadcasts. The choir’s range of activities soon expanded to encompass regular concerts and recordings, and the extraordinary quality and breadth of its activities earned it widespread renown. The choir’s international prestige is documented by its collaborations with many of the world’s top conductors (Erich Kleiber, Riccardo Muti, Claudio Abbado, Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, Simon Rattle) and orchestras (Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic). The choir is a regular guest at prestigious music festivals around the world, and it has also taken part in opera productions (La Scala in Milan). Since 2010 it has been the ensemble-in-residence at the famed Bregenzer Festspiele opera festival. The choir has long been working in close cooperation with the Czech Philharmonic; the recordings they have made together are among the finest releases of the Supraphon label.

Prague Philharmonic Choir

Lukáš Vasilek

Lukáš Vasilek studied conducting at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and musicology at the Charles University Faculty of Arts. From 1998 he was the choirmaster of the Foerster Chamber Choral Association, with which he won a number of awards at prestigious international competitions. From 2005 to 2007 he was the second choirmaster of the National Theatre Opera Chorus in Prague, where he worked on several productions (The Kiss, Don Pasquale, La clemenza di Tito etc.). Since 2007, he has been the head choirmaster of the Prague Philharmonic Choir. His highly acclaimed work with this ensemble has included rehearsing and conducting a wide range of repertoire of a variety of stylistic periods as well as the realisation of several recordings. Vasilek also works as an orchestral conductor, and he is the founder of the chamber ensemble Martinů Voices, with which he devotes himself mainly to the interpretation of music of the 20th and 21st centuries. He also involves himself with the popularisation of choral singing. For example, in 2012 and 2016 he created two series about the art of choral singing for Czech Radio and served as the moderator for the programmes.

Czech Philharmonic

The Czech Philharmonic is the foremost Czech orchestra and has long held a place among the most esteemed representatives of Czech culture on the international scene. The beginning of its rich history is linked to the name of Antonín Dvořák, who on 4 January 1896 conducted the ensemble’s inaugural concert. Although the orchestra performs a broad range of the basic international repertoire, it is sought out most often for its superb interpretations of works by the Czech classics, in a tradition built by excellent conductors like Václav Talich, Rafael Kubelík, Karel Ančerl, and Václav Neumann. The ensemble has won many international honours for its recordings, the first of which it made already in 1929: Smetana’s My Country with Talich. In 2008 the prestigious magazine Gramophone ranked it among the twenty best orchestras of the world. Since the inception of the Dvořák Prague Festival the Czech Philharmonic has been its resident orchestra.

Czech Philharmonic

Svatopluk Sem

The renowned Czech baritone Svatopluk Sem, a graduate of the České Budějovice Conservatoire, is a regular guest of the most important Czech opera houses including the National Theatre in Prague, the J. K. Tyl Theatre in Plzeň, the National Theatre in Brno, and the Moravian-Silesian National Theatre in Ostrava. He also performs in concert repertoire, not only in the Czech Republic but on numerous concert stages in Japan, Denmark, South Korea, Austria, Spain, Germany, Russia, and England, working with outstanding conductors like Jiří Bělohlávek, Heiko Mathias Förster, and Tomáš Netopil. He shared in the recording of Smetana's The Bartered Bride with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Jiří Bělohlávek for the Harmonia Mundi label, and in the BBC documentary film Rolando meets Don Giovanni, appearing in that opera's title role alongside Rolando Villazón.

Svatopluk Sem - baritone

Rudolfinum, Dvořák Hall

The Rudolfinum is one of the most important Neo-Renaissance edifices in the Czech Republic. In its conception as a multi-purpose cultural centre it was quite unique in Europe at the time of its construction. Based on a joint design by two outstanding Czech architects, Josef Zítek and Josef Schultz, a magnificent building was erected serving for concerts, as a gallery, and as a museum. The grand opening on 7 February 1885 was attended by Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria, in whose honour the structure was named. In 1896 the very first concert of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra took place in the Rudolfinum's main concert hall, under the baton of the composer Antonín Dvořák whose name was later bestowed on the hall.