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festival overture
Sunday, September 3, 2017, 4.30 pm
On the Trail of Dvořák

The concert can also be bought in the package with the second musical stop in Archbishop’s Palace Kroměříž for a special price 490 CZK. You will see a discounted price after inserting both concerts into your cart.

Programme

Antonín Dvořák: Stabat Mater, in the original version with piano

This year’s ‘festival overture’ will take us to Kroměříž, another of the places closely connected with Dvořák’s life. A concert featuring a choral ensemble the composer himself conducted repeatedly in performances of his large works for chorus and orchestra will certainly by a splendid appetizer before the opening of the festival feast proper.

The concert is part of a comprehensive program:

11.30–12.30 Concert, Balcony Hall, Archbishop’s Chateau in Kroměříž

12.45–13.45 Spiritual stopping a small organ concert, Church of St. Morice (free entrance)

16.30–18.00 Concert, Nadsklepí, Kroměříž

7.00–19.30 Opportunity to visit the Chateau Gardens, Kroměříž (free entrance)

9.00–15.30 Possibility of tour of the Archbishop Chateau Kroměříž (tickets in the Chateau box office, more information about the tours and prices at www.zamek-kromeriz.cz)

  • Dress code: casual

Artists

Jaroslav Březina

One of today’s most sought-after Czech tenors is Jaroslav Březina, a soloist with the National Theatre in Prague. He is a graduate of the Prague Conservatoire, and he took private lessons with the legendary singer Václav Zítek. He devotes himself to both opera and the concert repertoire. On opera stages in this country and abroad, he has sung countless roles, the most important of which have been Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Tito (La clemenza di Tito), Tamino (The Magic Flute), Count Almaviva (The Barber of Seville), le Dancaïre (Carmen), Alfredo (La traviata), Vašek and Jeník (The Bartered Bride), Michálka (The Devil’s Wall), Jiří (The Jacobin), Jirka (The Devil and Kate), Laca (Jenůfa), and Nemorina (L’elisir d’amore). To give at least an idea of his concert repertoire, he has sung Janáček’s Diary of One Who Disappeared at the Teatro Real in Madrid. He has to his credit a large number of internationally successful recordings, such as Zelenka’s coronation opera Sub olea pacis et palma virtutis, for which he won a prestigious Cannes Classical Award (2002). He won a 2015 Thalia Award.

Jaroslav Březina - tenor

Alžběta Poláčková

Renowned soprano Alžběta Poláčková graduated in voice from Prague’s Academy of Performing Arts. She has won many honours in prestigious singing competitions including First Prize and the Ema Destinnová Prize in London’s Anglo-Czechoslovak Trust Competition and the National Theatre Prize in the Antonín Dvořák Competition in Karlovy Vary. Since 2003 she has been a regular soloist with Prague’s National Theatre, performing roles like Zerlina and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Kristina in The Makropulos Affair, the title role in The Cunning Little Vixen, Pamina in The Magic Flute, Mařenka in The Bartered Bride, Giannetta in The Elixir of Love, Terinka in The Jacobin, and Euridice in Orfeo ed Euridice. With the Prague State Opera she rendered the title role in Dvořák’s Rusalka. She has performed in prestigious venues abroad such as L’Opéra Bastille in Paris and England’s Glyndebourne Festival. She also sings concert repertoire, in which she has already appeared for example in Vienna and Krakow. She collaborates with numerous outstanding conductors including Ivan Fischer, Tomáš Netopil, Ondrej Lenárd and Jakub Hrůša.

Alžběta Poláčková - soprano

Tomáš Netopil

Tomáš Netopil is one of the most internationally successful Czech conductors. After studying violin at the P.J. Vejvanovský Conservatory in Kroměříž and orchestral and choral conducting at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, he pursued further studies at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. His victory at the Sir Georg Solti International Conductor’s Competition in Frankfurt am Main in 2002 launched his career’s meteoric rise. From 2009 to 2012 he was the musical director of the National Theatre Orchestra in Prague, and since 2013 he has held the position of music director of the Aalto Theatre and Philharmonie Essen, in Germany. He collaborates with many renowned orchestras, including the Staatskapelle Dresden, Orchestre Santa Cecilia Roma, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra; he guest conducts at the famed Semperoper in Dresden, and he has appeared repeatedly at the Salzburg Festival. He successfully introduced himself at the Vienna State Opera with Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen, Dvořák’s Rusalka, Mozart’s Così fan tutte, and a new production of the first version of Beethoven’s Leonora. During the 2019/20 concert season, he guest conducted in Paris at the invitation of the Orchestre National de France, where he returned last season as well as to the Wiener Symphoniker. Also last season he debuted at the Grand Théâtre de Gèneve and in concerts with the Mozarteum Salzburg Orchestra.

Veronika Hajnová

Mezzo-soprano Veronika Hajnová graduated from the Conservatoire and the College of Performing Arts in Bratislava before continuing her education in several master classes. In 2002 she won the CNIPAL prize in the Belvedere International Singing Competition in Vienna, and twice she has been nominated for a Thalia Prize. While still a student she performed in the opera company of the Josef Kajetán Tyl Theatre in Plzeň, and in 2004 she became a regular soloist with the Prague State Opera. Presently she is a member of the corps of soloists of Prague’s National Theatre as well as of the National Theatre in Brno. Among her major roles to date have been Amneris in Aida, Azucena in Il trovatore, Ježibaba in Rusalka, and Carmen. As Amneris and Carmen she has also appeared in several tours abroad, including performances in Japan, Spain, Portugal, France, and Hungary. She performs songs and solo roles in large choral works as well, counting among her greatest triumphs the part of Zefka in Janáček’s The Diary of One Who Vanished  at L’Opéra Bastille in Paris, and participation in Verdi’s Requiem  in Marseille’s Opera Municipale.

Veronika Hajnová - mezzo-soprano

Jiří Sulženko

Bass Jiří Sulženko has long been one of the most esteemed Czech performers in both operatic and concert repertoire. Although he began his career as a contrabass player, later he studied voice, which was his secondary field upon graduation from the Prague Conservatoire. After brief engagements in Olomouc and Brno, in 1990 he became a regular soloist with the National Opera in Prague where he has performed numerous roles including Leporello in Don Giovanni, Kecal in The Bartered Bride, the Water Goblin in Rusalka, Zaccaria in Nabucco, Scarpia in Tosca, and Bartolo in The Barber of Seville. In many of these roles and others he has appeared on important operatic stages abroad—in Sweden, France, Spain, Holland, Austria, Germany, and Japan. In 2010 he debuted in Milan’s La Scala in Janáček’s From the House of the Dead. He also engages intensively in concert singing, having appeared in important venues in various countries of Europe, the United States, Japan, Brazil, and Australia. Since the 2013-14 season he has been a regular soloist with the Janáček Opera of the National Theatre in Brno.

Jitka Čechová

Jitka Čechová ranks among the most successful Czech pianists of the present time. After studies at the Prague Conservatoire she continued her musical education at Prague’s Academy of Performing Arts as well as in post-graduate studies with Eugen Indjic in Paris and Vitali Berzon in Freiburg. She has won honours in numerous international competitions including the Chopin Competition in Mariánské Lázně. She performs in important concert halls in Germany, Austria, Scotland, France, Spain, Bulgaria, Italy, and elsewhere, and collaborates with many outstanding orchestras including the Munich Symphony, the Prague Philharmonia, and the Bamberg Symphony. A devoted promoter of music by Czech composers, she has made a highly-praised complete recording of the piano music of Bedřich Smetana for Supraphon. Zdeněk Lukáš dedicated to her his Third Piano Concerto, which she premiered to great acclaim on a tour of Germany. Another major part of her work is performance in chamber music: for many years she has served as pianist in the Smetana Trio, one of the most successful chamber ensembles in Czechia.

The Žerotín Academic Chorus

The Žerotín Academic Chorus was founded in 1880 in Olomouc. From the very outset it formed one of the chief pillars of Czech cultural life in Moravia, presenting concerts, giving operatic presentations, and working with some of the foremost Czech artists of the time such as Josef Bohuslav Foerster and Ema Destinnová. Most important, however, were probably its contacts with Antonín Dvořák, who entrusted Žerotín with the Czech premieres of his Requiem and Te Deum, dedicated his oratorio Saint Ludmila to the ensemble, and on several occasions conducted the choir in person. Presently the chorus has about thirty-five members, but additional singers are enlisted as needed. Choirmaster is Pavel Koňárek. The repertoire is very broad, encompassing works by masters of the Baroque such as Bach, the Classical period (Mozart, Salieri, and Beethoven), Romanticism (Rossini and Dvořák), and the twentieth century (Janáček, Stravinsky, and Gershwin). The choir concertizes regularly both in Czechia and abroad.

The Žerotín Academic Chorus

Vox Iuvenalis

The Vox Iuvenalis choir of Brno, which will celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary next year, was founded by conductor Jan Ocetek who still remains its director. Consisting mainly of students and graduates of colleges in Brno, the ensemble has earned a prestigious position as a high-quality young chorus, confirmed by numerous awards in international competitions and participation in diverse musical projects both at home and abroad. The choir won first prize in the International Sacred Music Choir Competition in Vilnius and the highest honours in the International Youth Choir Festival in Veldhoven, The Netherlands. It also performs in operas and experimental musical presentations. Since 2000 it has been operating under the aegis of the Brno University of Technology.

Kroměříž Nadsklepí

Kroměříž, one of the most beautiful historical cities of Czechia, is known not only for its architecture and spiritual symbolism, but for its support of art and especially music. An important centre of artistic happenings in Kroměříž in the nineteenth century was the villa of the Kozánek family, whose numerous guests included Antonín Dvořák—a long-time friend of Emil Kozánek, an enthusiastic organizer of local musical events. Thanks to their close relationship Kroměříž became an important venue for performances of Dvořák’s works already during his lifetime. The highlights of those artistic contacts were Dvořák’s visit to Kroměříž in April 1886, when with great success he conducted two performances of his Stabat Mater, two concerts in the spring of 1891 when his monumental oratorio St. Ludmila sounded there under his baton, and a double performance of his Requiem a year later, again directed by the composer. Proof of his warm feelings towards Kroměříž and its ‘Moravan’ music society is a letter where he recalled ‘that exalted moment when I stood there before you and wept! I’ll never forget it as long as I live! It was all so cordial and sincere and came from the hearts of sincere people! When I stood before thousands of people in London amidst tremendous rejoicing and thunderous applause, paying the greatest homage to me, believe me, I was never so moved!’