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Thursday, September 14, 2023, 8.00 pm
Czech Philharmonic Brahms 190

Ticket prices

1990 – 790 Kč


Johannes Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” In addition to being one of Jesus’s beatitudes, this verse is the opening line of Johannes Brahms’s German Requiem. This enthralling composition for soloists, choir, and orchestra immediately shows us that its focus is not on the dead, but rather on those who are alive and mourning the passing of their loved ones.

Brahms began composing Ein deutsches Requiem following the death of his mother, while also reflecting on the demise of his close friend, fellow composer Robert Schumann. Perhaps he wanted to come to terms not only with his personal loss, but also with the passing of the most eminent proponent of German Romanticism, a supremely gifted composer, journalist, and brilliant mind.

From the very beginning, Brahms kept Martin Luther’s German translation of the Bible close at hand, emphasising the motif of consolation throughout. He was also confident that his anguish would eventually wear off. The whole piece of music is suffused with humanism and has little in common with liturgy and praying for the dead.

This stunning work, which will leave audiences feeling spiritually uplifted, is part of the commemoration of the 190th anniversary of Brahms’s birth. This legacy will be presented by the resident orchestra of Dvořák Prague, conductor Sakari Oramo, soloists Anu Komsi and Christian Senn, as well as the Prague Philharmonic Choir.

  • Dress code: dark suit
  • End of concert: 9:20 pm


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 core international repertoire, it is sought out most often for its superb interpretations of the classics by the great Czech composers in a tradition built up by great conductors (Talich, Kubelík, Ančerl, Neumann, and Bělohlávek). In 2008 the prestigious magazine Gramophone ranked it among the twenty best orchestras of the world. One of the orchestra’s most important recent projects has recording Tchaikovsky’s complete orchestral works for the Decca Label with Semyon Bychkov conducting. Since the inception of the Dvořák Prague Festival, the Czech Philharmonic has been its resident orchestra, and since 2018 it has been a holder of the Antonín Dvořák Prize for promoting and popularising Czech classical music abroad and in the Czech Republic.

Czech Philharmonic

Lukáš Vasilek

Lukáš Vasilek studied conducting and musicology. As a conductor, he first worked with the Foerster Female Chamber Choir and subsequently served as the second choirmaster of the National Theatre Chorus, Prague. Since 2007, Lukáš Vasilek has been the principal conductor of the Prague Philharmonic Choir, with his work entailing exploration and performance of the a cappella repertoire, as well as the ensemble’s preparation for singing in great cantata, oratorio and opera projects, implemented in collaboration with major orchestras and conductors.

Lukáš Vasilek has guided the PPC in the majority of their activities in the Czech Republic and abroad, cooperating with world-renowned conductors (over the past few years, they have included Semyon Bychkov, Manfred Honeck, Jakub Hrůša, Philippe Jordan, Fabio Luisi, Tomáš Netopil, Gi anandrea Noseda and Sir Simon Rattle) and orchestras (for instance, the Berliner Philharmoniker, Czech Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony). Besides leading the Prague Philharmonic Choir, Lukáš Vasilek has pursued other artistic activities. In addition to occasional returns to his original discipline, orchestral conducting, he has regularly worked with Martinů Voices, a vocal ensemble he himself founded in 2010.

As a conductor or choirmaster, he has participated in nu-merous recordings the PPC has made for prestigious labels, including Decca Classics and Supraphon. In recent years, Lukáš Vasilek has systematically devoted to recording Bohuslav Martinů’s choral music. His albums met with great international critical response and received prestigious accolades from Gramophone, the BBC Music Magazine and Diapason.

In 2021 Lukáš Vasilek started teaching conducting of a choir at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. In early 2022 Vasilek was a guest conductor to the French choir Accentus and later that year he prepared the Prague Philharmonic Choir for the performances of Dvořák’s Rusalka, Stabat Mater, etc.

Lukáš Vasilek - choirmaster

The Prague Philharmonic Choir

The Prague Philharmonic Choir (PPC) is a leading European vocal ensemble, and as one of the Czech Republic’s foremost artistic institutions operates under the trusteeship of the Czech Ministry of Culture. During the choir’s long history since its foundation in 1935, it was directed by a succession of some of the most distinguished Czech choirmasters (including Jan Kühn, Josef Veselka and Lubomír Mátl). Since 2007 its principal conductor has been Lukáš Vasilek.

The PPC’s repertoire is centred primarily around oratorios and cantatas. The choir has worked with eminent international orchestras (the Czech Philharmonic, the Israel Philharmonic, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Dresden or Wiener Symphoniker, among others), and conductors (including Daniel Barenboim, Semyon Bychkov, Christoph Eschenbach, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Manfred Honeck, Jakub Hrůša, Philippe Jordan, Fabio Luisi, Zubin Mehta, Tomáš Netopil, Gianandrea Noseda, Sir Simon Rattle). As the choir in residence at the opera festival in Bregenz, Austria, the PPC is likewise active in the domain of opera.

Apart from these commitments, the PPC engages in several own projects. Since 2011 it has organised its own concert series in Prague, with a programme focused on technically demanding and/or lesser-known choral works, either a cappella or with chamber-scale instrumental accompaniment. The PPC has taken some of these choral projects abroad (including within its tours in the USA and Mexico – 2014, in Russia – 2018). The choir regards as an inseparable part of its activity educational endeavours targeting the young. In this context, it has been involved in organising a Choral Academy for voice students, a project aimed at enabling young artists to acquire practical skills through work with a professional vocal ensemble; and with focus on young children, running a series of educational concerts and a programme of voice workshops in schools.

The PPC has to its credit an extensive discography, with many titles released by major international labels (e. g. Decca Classics, Deutsche Grammophon, Sony Classical and Supraphon). In recent years the choir has taken part in several unique recording projects, two of them in association with the Czech Philharmonic. The first of these, a recording of Antonín Dvořák’s Stabat Mater (Decca, 2017), with Jiří Bělohlávek conducting, received the coveted Diapason d’Or de l’Annèe award for the year’s best album in the sacred music category. The second, a recording of Bohuslav Martinů’s The Epic of Gilgamesh (Supraphon, 2017), under the baton of Manfred Honeck, won several awards in the United Kingdom in 2017, plus another Diapason d’Or. Its album featuring chamber cantatas of Bohuslav Martinů (Supraphon, 2016), received top accolades of the prestigious British magazines Gramophone (Editor’s Choice) and BBC Music Magazine (Choral and Song Choice). In the latter, it was also nominated for its annual award in the choral music category. In 2020, Decca Classic released an album of Antonín Dvořák’s music (Te Deum, Requiem), in which the Prague Philharmonic Choir participated.

In the 2022/2023 season, the Prague Philharmonic Choir’s activities in the Czech Republic include concerts at several festivals such as the Dvořák Prague, Smetana’s Litomyšl, and the Prague Spring. The choir will also appear in performances together with the Czech Philharmonic, Prague Symphony Orchestra, or Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra and will perform under renowned conductors such as Semyon Bychkov or Daniel Harding. The international activities include a performance at Bruckner National Festival in Linz and the choir will also return to the opera festivals in St. Gallen and Bregenz.

The Prague Philharmonic Choir is the recipient of the 2018 Classic Prague Award for Best Vocal Concert, and Czech Television’s Classical Music of the Year Award. In 2022, the choir was awarded the Antonín Dvořák Prize.

The Prague Philharmonic Choir

Sakari Oramo

Sakari Oramo is Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic after thirteen years of leading the orchestra as their Chief Conductor. A guest conductor at the highest international level and a prolific recording artist, his performances combine structural cohesion with authority, elegance and passionate delivery.

Guest engagements during the 2022/23 season include returns to the Berliner Philharmoniker, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, and Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.

Engagements in the past season have included appearances with Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Wiener Symphoniker, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Berliner Philharmoniker and NDR Elbhilharmonie Orchester.

In 2018, he conducted the European premiere of Brett Dean’s new Cello Concerto, performed by Alban Gerhardt with Berliner Philharmoniker. Oramo has most recently worked with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, Staatskapelle Dresden, Wiener Philharmoniker, Czech Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, New York Philharmonic and Helsinki Philharmonic orchestras. 

2022/23 marks Oramo’s tenth season with the BBCSO. With this Orchestra, he continues to champion new and rarely performed works – including Dora Pejačević’s Symphony and Piano Concerto with Peter Donohoe, William Alwyn’s opera Miss Julie and Betsy Jolas’ Onze Lieder – presenting them alongside stalwarts such as Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto (with Håkan Hardenberger). The season also includes BBCSO’s Tour to Spain and performance at the Last Night of the Proms. Oramo is a regular conductor at the BBC Proms and during the summer of 2022 he conducted several with the BBCSO and Chorus – including the First Night of the Proms presenting Verdi’s Requiem.

Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra between 1998 and 2008, Oramo has served as Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra’s Honorary Conductor since 2012, following a decade as their Chief Conductor. He was also the Principal Conductor of the West Coast Kokkola Opera from 2004 to 2018 and Principal Conductor of the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra from 2013 to 2019. An accomplished violinist, Oramo was originally concertmaster of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 2014 he made his debut in the BBC Proms Chamber Music series, performing Prokofiev’s Sonata for Two Violins with Janine Jansen.

Recording successes include the BBC Music Magazine’s Orchestra award for Nielsen Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3 with Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, which completes their highly acclaimed Nielsen cycle on the BIS label, and a Gramophone Award win in the 2019 Orchestral category for Rued Langgaard Symphonies Nos.2 and 6, and Jacob Gade’s Tango Jalousie with Wiener Philharmoniker and soprano Anu Komsi. Busoni’s Piano Concerto with Kirill Gerstein recorded with Boston Symphony Orchestra (Myrios) won the Audio and Video category at the 2020 ICMA awards. Other recent releases include the BBC Symphony Orchestra orchestral works by Sibelius (including the Lemminkäinen Suite), Rachmaninov Piano Concertos Nos.2 and 3 with Yevgeny Sudbin, and Florent Schmitt: Suites from 'Antoine et Cléopâtre' and Symphony No.2. 

Sakari Oramo - conductor

Anu Komsi

“The gleaming steel of Anu Komsi’s soprano cut through all of it, fearlessly communicative and utterly compelling, from whispered bottom of her voice to its stratospheric top.” (The Guardian, November 2020)

One of Finland’s foremost international singers, Anu Komsi’s versatility, technical skill and wide-ranging repertoire have earned her critical acclaim worldwide. Throughout her eminent career, she has worked with distinguished directors such as Pierre Audi, Barrie Kosky, Christoph Loy, Juho Kuosmanen and Lydia Steier, and leading conductors including Sir Roger Norrington, Sakari Oramo, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Alan Gilbert, Franz Welser-Möst, Peter Eötvös, Hannu Lintu, Andris Nelsons, Nicholas Collon, Santtu-Matias Rouvali and Dalia Stasevska.

2022/23 season highlights include Komsi’s return to Finnish National Opera as Queen of the Night Die Zauberflöte (which she also performs later in the season for Savonlinna Opera) and Mother-in-Law Innocence, Lindberg’s Accused with Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, the world premiere of Jukka Tiensuu’s Double Concerto for Violin and Soprano with Minna Pensola and Tapiola Sinfonietta, Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra and performances of Saariaho’s Saarikoski Songs with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and BBC Symphony Orchestra under Sakari Oramo. She also appears in concert with Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Helsinki Philharmonic.

Komsi has worked with many of the major opera companies and festivals around the world, including Opéra National de Paris, Lucerne and Salzburg Festivals and La Scala Milan, and important orchestras such as the Wiener Philharmoniker, Berliner Philharmoniker, Orchestre de Paris, BBC Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic to name a few. Prominent engagements from the last seasons include Eva in Stockhausen’s Donnerstag aus Licht for Theater Basel (Komsi is still the only singer to have performed the role through its entire 6-hour duration); Catherine in Meyerbeer’s L'étoile du Nord for Kokkola Opera; Soprano in Sir George Benjamin’s Into The Little Hill, which she has sung on over fifty occasions across Europe and the US, most recently with Ensemble Modern at venues including Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and Wigmore Hall; Sibelius’ Luonnotar with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic; Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Wing on Wing with the NDR Elbphilharmonie under Alan Gilbert; her Boston Symphony Orchestra debut with the orchestral version of Saariaho’s Saarikoski Songs under Andris Nelsons; and Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments, which has been in Komsi’s repertoire for over thirty years, most recently performed at Kissinger Sommer Festival and CNDM Madrid. She has made many recordings, including Langaard’s Symphony No.2 (Wiener Philharmoniker/Sakari Oramo) and Saariaho’s Leino Songs (Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Sakari Oramo), which both garnered a Gramophone Award.

Founder, Artistic Director and later Managing Director of the West Coast Kokkola Opera Company for fourteen seasons, Komsi oversaw the Kokkola Opera summer festival which produced 25 full-scale opera productions, as well as over 100 concerts and events. A champion of new repertoire for the soprano voice, Komsi has commissioned and premiered a vast range of works, including Kaija Saariaho’s Saarikoski Songs; Christian Mason’s Man Made and Unsuk Chin’s Cantatrix Sopranica. She was awarded the Madetoja Prize by The Finnish Composers’ Society in 2020, and in 2021 was the recipient of the prestigious Erik Bergman Prize for her special achievements in performing and commissioning new vocal repertoire internationally.

Anu Komsi - soprano

Christian Senn

Born in Chile, Christian Senn has been living in Italy since his youth. After taking a Master’s degree in Biology, he was admitted to the Academy for young singers at the Teatro alla Scala studying with Leyla Gencer, Luigi Alva and Vincenzo Manno.

He has collaborated with conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Riccardo Chailly, Antonio Pappano, Maurizio Benini, Maurizio Barbacini, Carlo Rizzi, Giovanni Antonini, Ottavio Dantone, Fabio Biondi, Roberto Rizzi Brignoli, David Parry, Rinaldo Alessandrini, Ton Koopman in many of the most renowned opera houses and venues around the word including La Scala, Theater an der Wien, Wiener Konzerthaus, Théâtre du Châtelet and Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, Palau de la Música in Valencia, Teatro Regio Torino, Teatro del Maggio Musicale, La Fenice, Municipal Theatre of Santiago.

Christian is one of the most sought-after baritones for Bel Canto repertoire in Italy and abroad, performing numerous opera roles by Rossini, such as the title role in Il Barbiere di Siviglia in Berlin, Tel Aviv, Milan, Venice, Turin, Florence, Palermo, Verona; Dandini (La Cenerentola) at the Israeli Opera Tel Aviv, Florence Opera, Teatro Petruzzelli Bari and Grange Festival; Taddeo (L’Italiana in Algeri) at Teatro Regio Torino, Versailles Royal Opera and Paris Théâtre des Champs-Elysées; Filiberto (Il Signor Bruschino), Germano (La Scala di seta) and Don Parmenione (L’Occasione fa il ladro) for the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. In the Donizetti repertoire he has been heard as Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor) in Bergamo, Bari and Santiago de Chile; Belcore (L’Elisir d’amore) in Bologna; Biscroma Strappaviscere (Viva la Mamma) and Malatesta (Don Pasquale) both at La Scala. Christian debuted at the Opéra National de Paris with the role of Malatesta in a production conducted by Michele Mariotti and staged by Damiano Michieletto.

Mozart singer of the first order, Christian sang the title role in Don Giovanni in Florence and Santiago de Chile. He appeared as Count Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro) in Milan, Naples and Potsdam; Papageno (Die Zauberflöte) in Montpellier, Turin, Verona and Florence; Guglielmo (Così fan tutte) in Milan, Verona, Bergamo, Santiago de Chile. Among his Vivaldi roles are Astolfo in Orlando furioso with Jean-Christophe Spinosi at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and the title role in Bajazet he has performed in major European capitals and in Japan with Europa Galante led by Fabio Biondi. Encounters with Handel embrace Pallante (Agrippina) under René Jacobs at the Berlin Staatsoper; for La Scala he took the stage as Leone (Tamerlano) alongside Placido Domingo and as Achilla (Giulio Cesare) in a Giovanni Antonini/Robert Carsen production. Christian also performed the title role in Porpora’s Polifemo at the Teater an der Wien.

Among his recent career highlights are Bach’s St Matthew Passion with Alessandro De Marchi at Theater Basel and at the Stresa Festival, and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony alongside Sakari Oramo/Wiener Symphoniker for the Vienna Konzerthaus.

For Naïve, Christian Senn has recorded a DVD with Rossini’s Pietra del paragone filmed at the Paris Théâtre du Châtelet, as well as two Vivaldi CDs, Tito Manlio and Dorilla in Tempe. His solo album “Bach - The Solo Cantatas for Bass” he recorded with La Barocca and Ruben Jais for the Glossa label, achieved great critical acclaim.

Recent and forthcoming engagements include Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette (Mercutio) at Teatro Petruzelli Bari, Cimarosa’s Matrimonio segreto (Count Robinson) under Attilio Cremonesi at the Potsdamer Winteroper and Mozart’s Così fan tutte (Alfonso) at The Grange Festival.

Christian Senn - 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.