the modern premiere
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Thursday, September 19, 7.00 pm
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Programme

Antonín Dvořák: King and Collier, a comic opera in three acts, 1st musical setting, B. 21

After the world premiere of Dvořák’s first opera Alfred at the 2014 Dvořák Prague Festival, this year’s festival will present another unique event: a performance of the composer’s first musical setting of the libretto King and Collier, the original manuscript material for which has now been digitised at the initiative of the Academy of Classical Music. This nearly forgotten operatic work from Dvořák’s early period was never performed during the composer’s lifetime. Its first and last production took place in 1929 at the National Theatre. And because the opera was never recorded, this modern-era premiere in the form of a concert performance will afford the unique opportunity of hearing music by Dvořák that will be entirely new to us. The honour of resurrecting this forgotten score has bee accepted by a star-studded cast of Czech operatic soloists led by the conductor Tomáš Brauner with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with the Prague Philharmonic Choir.

  • Dress code: dark suit
  • Doors close: 18.55
  • End of concert: 22.30

Artists

Kateřina Kněžíková

Soprano Kateřina Kněžíková is one of the most prominent figures of the younger generation of Czech singers in both the operatic and the concert repertoire. She is a graduate of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and has won honours in many events including the Antonín Dvořák International Singing Competition in Karlovy Vary. Since 2006 she has been a regular soloist with the opera company of the National Theatre in Prague, where she has sung Susanna in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, Aristea in L'Olimpiade by Mysliveček, and Terinka in Dvořák's opera The Jacobin amongst other roles. She also appears as a guest at other opera houses both at home and abroad, such as the Moravian-Silesian National Theatre in Ostrava, L’Opéra Royal de Versailles, and the Theatre Royal de La Monnaie. She works with important conductors like Serge Baudo, Manfred Honeck, and Tomáš Netopil, and with such renowned ensembles as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Collegium 1704, and the Czech Philharmonic. With Jiří Bělohlávek she recorded a new official version of the Czech national anthem.

Richard Samek

Tenor Richard Samek was born in Třebíč and is a graduate of the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts. In 2006 he made his debut on the stage of the National Theatre in Brno. At present, he is a regular guest with the opera of the National Theatre in Prague, where he appears in roles including Rodolfo (La Bohème), Ismael (Nabucco), Cassio (Otello), and the Prince (Rusalka). He appears as a guest at the Grand Théâtre de Reims, the Opéra Théâtre de Limoges, the Opéra de Rennes, and the Staatsoperette Dresden, where has had a full-time engagement since 2014/2015. Since 2014, he has also been singing at the Theater Magdeburg, as well as at the Staatsoper Hannover since the 2015/16 season. In 2015 he took part in realising a live recording of Smetana’s opera Dalibor with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Jiří Bělohlávek. He collaborates with important conductors, chamber orchestras, and symphony orchestras including the Orchestra Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.

Richard Samek - tenor

Roman Hoza

Baritone Roman Hoza is one of the most successful Czech performers of the younger generation. A graduate of the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno, he completed a yearlong study visit at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna. He has been a member of the opera studio of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf. He is a laureate of competitions including the A. Dvořák International Singing Competition in Karlovy Vary and the International Chamber Music and Sacred Music Competition. As a guest artist, he has introduced himself to the opera public in Vienna, Lyon, Salzburg, Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Cologne, Kaiserslautern, Prague, Ostrava, and other cities. The foundation of his repertoire consists of roles in the operas of W. A. Mozart (Don Giovanni, Leporello, Figaro, Guglielmo, Papageno) and Gioacchino Rossini (Dandini, Rimbaud, Bartolo, Signor Mill). He appears regularly with the leading Czech ensembles specialising in the informed interpretation of early music (incl. Handel’s Messiah with the Czech Ensemble Baroque). Since the 2016/17 season he has been a soloist with the Janáček Opera at the National Theatre in Brno.

Roman Hoza - baritone

Jozef Benci

The Slovak bass Jozef Benci graduated from the Conservatoire and the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. While still a student, he won the first prize at the prestigious George Enescu International Singing Competition in Bucharest and first prize at the International Competition for Singers up to Age 32 in Berlin. There he played the role of Zaccaria in Verdi’s Nabucco. Since 2007 he has been a soloist with the opera of the Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava. Amongst his most important roles at that theatre have been Colline in Puccini’s La bohème, the Water Goblin in Dvořák’s Rusalka, Ferrando in Verdi’s Il trovatore, Sarastro in Mozart’s Magic Flute, and Méphistophélès in Gounod’s Faust. In 2011 in London he took part in a concert performance of Smetana’s opera The Bartered Bride in the role of Kecal under the baton of Jiří Bělohlávek. At the 2011 Bratislava Music Festival, he appeared to great acclaim at a shared vocal recital with Edita Gruberová. So far, he has made appearances in concert in the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, France, Romania, Italy, Austria, Poland, and Germany.

Lucie Hilscherová

The mezzo-soprano Lucie Hilscherová studied solo singing, psychology, and music education at the Faculty of Pedagogy of the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen. She has taken part repeatedly at the Bachakademie in Stuttgart led by Helmuth Rilling and at many vocal master classes. She is a laureate of the Antonín Dvořák International Singing Competition in Karlovy Vary. In 2005 she began an engagement at the Prague State Opera, where se sang a number of roles mostly of the Italian repertoire (Rossini, Verdi). Since 2008 she has also been performing at the National Theatre in Prague including roles in operas by Smetana and Tchaikovsky. She is an active concert artist. Under the leadership of Libor Pešek, Jiří Bělohlávek, Helmuth Rilling, Kaspar Zehnder, and other conductors, she has collaborated with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Bach-Collegium in Stuttgart, the Prague Philharmonia, Collegium 1704, and other ensembles. She performs at the Musikfest in Stuttgart, the Beethovenfest in Bonn, the Grafenegg Musik-Sommer, Prague Spring, and Smetana’s Litomyšl.

Lucie Hilscherová - mezzosoprano

Josef Moravec

After graduating from the Prague Conservatoire, the tenor Josef Moravec continued his studies at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. At the Antonín Dvořák International Singing Competition in Karlovy Vary he took 3rd prize in the Junior category and the Vilém Zítek Prize. He makes regular guest appearances at most of the opera houses of the Czech Republic. Since the 2010/11, he has been a regular guest at the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre in Ostrava. He has sung roles at the Prague State Opera in productions including the operas Turandot, Candide, The Magic Flute, The Flying Dutchman, and Death in Venice. Since the 2014/15 season, he has been a soloist in the opera company of the National Theatre. So far, he has appeared there in roles including Skuratov (From the House of the Dead), the Gnat and the Schoolmaster (The Cunning Little Vixen), the Holy Fool (Boris Godunov), the Fisherman (The Nightingale), Alméric (Iolanta), and the Abbé and the Incroyable (Andrea Chénier). He also makes appearances abroad (Japan, Scandinavia, Algeria, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, France, Slovenia etc.).

Dana Burešová

Dana Burešová, one of today’s most sought-after Czech sopranos, graduated from the Prague Conservatoire. Already during her studies, she became a soloist with the South Bohemian Theatre in České Budějovice, and she has been engaged at the National Theatre in Prague since 1992/93. There, she has performed leading roles in important works of the Czech and foreign operatic repertoire: Mařenka (The Bartered Bride), Jitka (Dalibor), Vendulka (The Kiss), Hedvika (The Devil’s Wall), Ludiše (The Brandenburgers in Bohemia), Anežka (The Two Widows), Rusalka, Julie (The Jacobin), Jenůfa, the Fox (The Cunning Little Vixen), Tatiana (Eugene Onegin), the Countess (The Marriage of Figaro), Micaëla (Carmen), Elisabeth (Tannhäuser), and Elisabetta di Valois (Don Carlo). One of her most recent major roles was the title part in Smetana’s Libuše. She also appears abroad as a concert and opera artist (England, Germany, Denmark, France, Austria, Japan, the USA). She won a Thalia Prize for her extraordinary performance on stage in the role of Elisabeth in Wagner’s Tannhäuser.

Dana Burešová - soprano

Jana Sibera

The soprano Jana Sibera is a graduate of the Prague Conservatoire and the Academy of Performing Arts. For several years, she perfected her vocal abilities under the guidance of the soprano Marie Haan. In 2002 she became a soloist with the Prague State Opera, where she performed many important roles of the worldwide operatic repertoire. Since 2012, she has been a soloist with the opera company of the National Theatre in Prague. In productions on the leading Czech stage, she has sung roles including the Queen of the Night (The Magic Flute), Susanna (The Marriage of Figaro), Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor), Violetta (La traviata), Gilda (Rigoletto), Musetta (La bohème), Adele (Die Fledermaus), the Cook and the First Wood Sprite (Rusalka), Karolina (The Two Widows), Bystrouška (The Cunning Little Vixen), Terinka (The Jacobin), and Gretel (Hansel and Gretel). In 2011 and 2012 she made guest appearances as Violetta in Gdansk, and in 2016 as Ofelia at the Gothenburg Opera. She has also toured Japan and Korea several times with the opera company of the National Theatre. Her successes also include a collaboration with the tenor Jonas Kaufmann on his profile album for the Decca label.

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

Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra

For many decades, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra has been a universal symphonic ensemble with a wide range of repertoire including concert music and opera, and it is one of the most important and oldest orchestras in the Czech Republic. Among the permanent or guest conductors to have collaborated with the orchestra have been Václav Talich, Karel Ančerl, Václav Neumann, Vladimír Válek, and Charles Mackerras. Its present chief conductor is Alexander Liebreich. A number of foreign composers have conducted their own music with the orchestra, including Sergei Prokofiev and Aram Khachaturian. The orchestra has always devoted itself intensively to recording, and it has to its credit the making of audio recordings of many Czech classics that are not a usual part of the repertoire. This is not the orchestra’s first appearance at the Dvořák Prague Festival: back in 2014 it took part in the festival’s world premiere complete performance of Dvořák’s first opera Alfred with its original German libretto.

Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra

Tomáš Brauner

Tomáš Brauner is one of the most respected conductors of his generation. He is a graduate of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, and he completed a study visit to the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna. In 2010 he became a laureate of the Dimitri Mitropoulos International Conducting Competition in Athens. He began his artistic career at the J. K. Tyl Theatre in Pilsen, where he rehearsed and premiered productions of operas including La Gioconda, Don Giovanni, The Jacobin, and Turandot). In 2008 he made his debut at the Prague State Opera with Verdi’s Otello, from 2013 to 2018 he was the chief conductor of the Pilsen Philharmonic, and since 2014 he has been the principal guest conductor of the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. He engages in regular collaboration with orchestras including the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Janáček Philharmonic in Ostrava, the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra in Pardubice, and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. He makes guest appearances at festivals including Prague Spring Festival, Smetana’s Litomyšl, and the Český Krumlov Festival.

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.

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.