Monday, September 7, 8.00 pm

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Ludwig van Beethoven: Missa solemnis, op. 123

Into his Missa solemnis, Beethoven encoded a highly personal approach to the Christian liturgy, and at the same time he concentrated into it his compositional mastery at its finest. One is struck not only the uniqueness of the work itself, but also by the remarkable contradiction between the composer’s confidence and artistic ego on the one hand, and his humility before higher authority on the other. The result is a composition that is inappropriate for liturgical performance but that communicates its deep meaning wherever it is heard. Collegium 1704 and the conductor Václav Luks are among the most capable performers who could take on such a task. Beethoven was neither the first nor the last to create an extraordinary work of this type – the B Minor Mass by Johann Sebastian Bach and the Glagolitic Mass by Leoš Janáček are creative acts of a similar kind. Their performances are always a special event and a great testimony to the relationship of genius to the world’s divine order. In the Missa solemnis, it is as if Beethoven has immersed himself deeply into time and into music itself, partially forgetting his own style and evoking the artistry of the old Flemish masters of polyphony. Beethoven composed his Missa solemnis from 1819 until 1823 and dedicated it to Archduke Rudolph, Archbishop of Olomouc at the time.

  • Dress code: dark suit
  • Doors close: 19.55
  • End of concert: 21.40


Collegium 1704

The artist’s profile will be added soon.

Collegium Vocale 1704

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Václav Luks

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Václav Luks - conductor

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

Václava Krejčí Housková

The artist’s profile will be added soon.

Jaroslav Březina

One of the most sought-after Czech tenors of the present time, regular soloist with Prague’s National Theatre Jaroslav Březina is a graduate of the Prague Conservatoire and studied privately with the legendary Václav Zítek. He performs in both operas and concerts. On Czech and foreign operatic stages he has created an overwhelming number of roles, of which we may mention among the most important only Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Tito in La clemenza di Tito, Tamino in The Magic Flute, Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville, El Dancaïro in Carmen, Alfredo in La traviata, both Vašek and Jeník in The Bartered Bride, Michálek in The Devil’s Wall, Jiří in The Jacobin, Jirka in The Devil and Kate, Laca in Jenůfa, and Nemorino in The Elixir of Love. Of his concert repertoire let us name at least Janáček’s The Diary of One Who Vanished, which he has performed for instance in Madrid’s Teatro Real. He has numerous internationally-acclaimed recordings to his credit, such as Zelenka’s coronation opera Sub olea pacis et palma virtutis which won a prestigious prize in Cannes Classical Awards for 2002. He holds a Thalia Prize for 2015.

Jaroslav Březina - tenor

Jan Šťáva

The bass Jan Šťáva is one of the greatest discoveries on the Czech opera scene in recent years. A graduate of the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts, he has been a member of the opera ensemble of the National Theatre in Brno since 2010, and a year later he made his debut at the National Theatre in Prague. His repertoire encompasses key roles of the Czech and worldwide literature, including Méphistophélès  (Faust), Leporello (Don Giovanni), Gremin (Eugene Onegin), Basilio (The Barber of Seville), Kecal (The Bartered Bride), Osmin (Abduction from the Seraglio), Figaro and Bartolo (The Marriage of Figaro), Sarastro (The Magic Flute), and Sparafucile (Rigoletto). He is a guest on stages abroad (including L’Opéra de Paris) and at music festivals (BBC Proms, Salzburger Festspiele, Prague Spring). He collaborates with major orchestras (BBC Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, Czech Philharmonic). His concert repertoire includes bass parts in the works of Bach (Christmas Oratorio, St John Passion), Haydn (The Creation), Mozart, Dvořák, and Verdi (Requiem).

Jan Šťáva - bass

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.