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An ‘ouverture’ to the festival in a place linked to the life and work of Antonín Dvořák
Sunday, August 30, 2020, 4.30 pm
On the Trail of Dvořák

 

 

Programme

Antonín Dvořák: Piano Trio No. 2 in G minor, Op. 26, B. 56Antonín Dvořák: Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53, B. 108 (III. Finale: Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo)Antonín Dvořák: Selected scenes from the opera Dimitrij, Op. 64

This year the traditional ‘festival overture’ called ‘On the Trail of Dvořák’ will take us northeast from Prague to the magnificent neo-Gothic chateau Sychrov (known e.g. from the Czech fairy-tale films Golden Hair and Immortal Aunt), which served as the residence of the originally-French noble Rohan family. Here, surrounded by the natural beauties of the ‘Bohemian Paradise’ region, lived Alois Göbl, perhaps Dvořák’s closest friend—secretary and from 1880 patronal commissioner of the Rohan princes. In the late nineteenth century, especially from 1877 to 1896, the composer visited Göbl here many times.

During his sojourns he not only played the organ (preserved to this day) in the chateau chapel, but composed industriously, for example creating the sketch of his Violin Concerto and working in various stages on major portions of his opera Dimitrij. In the nearby town of Turnov he also played piano in two important concerts of his works, including the world premiere of his lovely Piano Trio in G minor.
Those who accept our enticement to Sychrov on the last Sunday in August will have a rare opportunity to hear in the chateau chapel the four sacred songs with organ accompaniment that Dvořák composed and premiered right here.

Then while walking through the chateau park visitors can have a look at the former traveller’s inn where the Dvořák family was lodged during their visits; another authentic site is the building of today’s chateau restaurant, on whose upper floor was the flat of Alois Göbl where the composer also often stayed. We’ll finish our excursion on the trail of the most famous Czech composer with a concert in the ‘Chateau Gallery’ including the mentioned Piano Trio in G minor, the Finale from the Violin Concerto, and ravishing dramatic scenes from Dimitrij. As usual, the program will be accompanied by expert commentary from festival musicologist Dr. David Beveridge.

Programme

2:15 PM. Chateau Chapel. Dvořák’s four sacred songs with organ accompaniment. Free admission.

2:30-4:15 PM. Opportunity to walk through the chateau park to the former traveller’s inn and the flat of Alois Göbl and/or take a tour of the chateau (reservations in the chateau’s ticket office or online at www.zamek-sychrov.cz).

4:30 PM. Chateau Gallery. Main Concert. Admission 150 Czech crowns, reservations at www.dvorakovapraha.cz.

Artists

Prague Chamber Choir

The Prague Chamber Choir was originally established as a select chamber ensemble consisting of former members of the Prague Philharmonic Choir. In 1991 it became an independent choir that was known mainly on the international scene. It has performed at dozens of festivals, including the Schleswig-Holstein Musikfestival, the Wiener Festwochen, the Hamburg Musikfeste, and the Stuttgarter Musikfest. For several years, it was the regular ensemble-in-residence at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy, and at Ireland’s Wexford Festival Opera. It has given more than 300 performances and tours in Europe, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, and Israel. Its chief choirmasters have been Josef Pančík and Jaroslav Brych, while several other important choral conductors have also worked with the choir, including Pavel Kühn, Lubomír Mátl, Robert Hugo, and Miriam Němcová. The choir has made dozens of recordings for renowned domestic and foreign labels (such as Orfeo, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Supraphon), and it has worked with leading conductors and singers (including Zubin Mehta, Manfred Honeck, Helmuth Rilling, and Plácido Domingo).

Prague Chamber Choir

Lenka Navrátilová

Lenka Navrátilová studied piano under Prof. Jaroslav Čermák and harpsichord under Prof. Rudolf Zelenka at the Teplice Conservatoire and choral conducting of sacred music under Prof. Jiří Kolář and Prof. Marek Štryncl at Charles University. She is a professor of opera coaching at the Prague Conservatoire, and she is an accompanist and rehearsal pianist of the Prague Philharmonic Choir. She has engaged in long-term cooperation with the Prague Chamber Choir and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra Mixed Choir, and she is a choirmaster of the Kühn Choir of Prague. She has conducted concerts with the choir at the Dvořák Prague Festival, Musica Holešov, and the Saint Wenceslas Festival. As a choirmaster, she has taken part in concerts of the Czech Philharmonic, the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Berg Orchestra, the Antonín Dvořák Music Festival in Příbram, Film Music Prague, the Prague Proms, and concerts produced and presented by Radio Classic. She has also rehearsed the choir for opera productions at the National Theatre. On programmes of the concert series of the Kühn Choir of Prague, she has given several world premieres of choral works. As the assistant choirmaster of the Prague Philharmonic Choir, she has appeared on concert tours in Doha and Berlin and at the opera festival in St. Gallen.

Lenka Navrátilová - conductor

Ahmad Hedar

From childhood, the pianist, singer, and teacher Ahmad Hedar sang in the Pueri Gaudentes choir. He completed his piano studies at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague in the studios of Martin Kasík and František Malý. He has taken part in many masterclasses, including one led by Paul Badura-Skoda. He has worked as an opera coach with leading singers of the younger generation, including Petr Nekoranec, Kateřina Kněžíková, and Roman Hoza as well as with opera legends like Gabriela Beňačková and Eva Randová. In 2016 he took the prize for best piano accompaniment at the Antonín Dvořák International Singing Competition in Karlovy Vary. He is a member of Run OpeRun, which brings opera to a young public and to the general public at unusual venues. With them, he has rehearsed productions of The Magic Flute, Le nozze di Figrao, Rusalka, and La voix humaine. In 2019 he earned a fellowship from the prestigious Bayreuther Festspiele. In addition to playing piano, he also devotes himself to both operatic and non-classical singing. Since 2019 he has been teaching at the Jan Deyl Conservatory.

Ahmad Hedar - piano

Tereza Hořejšová

Soprano Tereza Hořejšová is a graduate of the Pardubice Conservatory and of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. She is a laureate of several international competitions and twice was a winner of the Antonín Dvořák Competition in Karlovy Vary in the Junior and Song categories. She was also a successful participant at the Éva Marton International Singing Competition in Budapest and the Ferruccio Tagliavini Competition in Deutschlandsberg. For a year, she studied in Milan at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatoire, where she introduced herself in the contemporary opera Valentina by Arturs Maskats, in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, and in Verdi’s La traviata. In the last two years, she has been touring Germany and Switzerland regularly as the First Lady (The Magic Flute) and Anna (Nabucco). She has made guest appearances in Liberec in the role of Ciboletta (Night in Venice) and the Second Wood Sprite (Rusalka). She works regularly as a freelance artist with the Prague Philharmonic Choir, and besides singing, she devotes herself to playing piano and working as an opera coach. She has a great passion for recitals with piano, especially in the Czech and foreign song literature.

Tereza Hořejšová - soprano

Sergey Kostov

The tenor Sergey Kostov was born in the Ukraine to a Bulgarian family. From 2008 to 2011 he studied classical singing at the Odessa State Conservatoire of Music under Prof. V. Doronin. He later furthered his training under Prof. A. Duda at the A. V. Nezhdanova National Academy of Music, from which he graduated in 2016. Already as a student he won first prize at the singing competition in Lonigo, Italy. From 2014 he was a soloist with the Ukrainian Armed Forces Ensemble. As a member of a male vocal ensemble, he has performed in Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, and France. In 2017 he won second prize at the Vissi D’Arte Singing Competition in Prague. Since 2017 he has been under engagement at the F. X. Šalda Theatre in Liberec. Among the most important roles in his present repertoire have been Lensky (Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin), Nemorino (Donizetti: L’elisir d’amore), Borsa and the Duke (Verdi: Rigoletto), Sinodal (Rubinstein: The Demon), and Rinuccio (Puccini: Gianni Schicchi). Since 2018 he has been making guest appearances at the National Theatre in the title role of Ivan Acher’s opera Sternenhoch.

Bohuslav Lédl

Bohuslav Lédl studied piano at the Teplice Conservatoire with Irena Nečásková and Miloš Mikula and then at the J. E. Purkyně Faculty of Pedagogy in Ústí nad Labem and at Charles University in Prague. At the Faculty of Pedagogy in Ústí nad Labem he later studied improvisation and served as a vocal coach. In the 1990s he also served as the piano accompanist for the Jizerka children’s choir in Semily. In 1996 he founded the Lédl Jazz Quintet, and since 1997 he has been directing the Antonín Dvořák Choir in Turnov. In 2003 he became the director of the Turnov Elementary School of the Arts. At present, he is working as a piano accompanist and soloist. He collaborates regularly with his wife, the soprano Eva Lédlová. He also composes – for example, his composition Noon Minute Menu, which he wrote for the Czech Philharmonic Low Brass Ensemble, was premiered at the Dvořák Prague International Music Festival in September 2016.

Smetana Trio

The tradition of the Smetana Trio dates back to 1934, and it has long been one of the top Czech chamber ensembles. The three important soloists who are the trio’s present members are proof that a precondition for the success of every chamber ensemble is that the players be perfectly capable of solo playing. The path taken by the Smetana Trio is lined with extraordinary international successes, including repeatedly winning prestigious awards such as the BBC Music Magazine Award or the Diapason d’Or, collaborations with renowned orchestras (Bamberger Symphoniker, Orchestra della Svizzera italiana Lugano), and regular appearances on prestigious concert stages at home and abroad (France, Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Luxembourg, Japan, Brazil, USA, Egypt). The Smetana Trio has made a large number of highly acclaimed recordings for Czech and foreign companies, and since 2000 it has been recording regularly on the Supraphon label.