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

 

 

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

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.

Tereza Hořejšová

The soprano Tereza Hořejšová began singing at the age of seven. A graduate of the Pardubice Conservatoire and of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, she has taken part in a number of masterclasses led by important performers. In the Erasmus programme, she studied at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatoire in Milan with Silvana Manga, and she is now studying privately with Prof. Anatoly Goussev. She is a laureate of several international competitions, including the prestigious A. Dvořák International Singing Competition in Karlovy Vary, where she won the 2013 Jarmila Novotná Prize for the youngest Czech singer, and two years later first prize in the Junior Category along with five more secondary prizes. The very next year she won first prize in the Lieder Category along with other special prizes. On the operatic stage, she has sung the roles of Cherubino in Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro and Annina in Verdi’s La Traviata, and for the Prague Children’s Opera she has sung the title role of Dvořák’s Rusalka on the stage of the Estates Theatre. She also devotes herself intensively to the concert repertoire.

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.

Ahmad Hedar

The thirty-year-old pianist Ahmad Hedar was born in the Czech Republic to Syrian parents. He is a long-term resident of Prague, where he also completed secondary school and university. He is a graduate of the Jaroslava Ježek Conservatoire and of the Academy of Performing Arts, where he graduated from the studio of the outstanding pianist Martin Kasík. Hedar is a versatile musician: besides solo piano playing, chamber music, and accompanying vocal recitals, he is also an operatic vocal coach, and he sings both opera and pop music. He collaborates with an association of students from the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague known as Run OpeRun, which attempts to incorporate traditional opera into the context of today’s multimedia experiences. As a pianist, he has taken part in non-traditional staged musical projects such as a performance of Dvořák’s Rusalka on the grounds of Valeč Castle in the Karlovy Vary region. His musical idols include Mozart, Chopin, Prokofiev as well as Björk, Led Zeppelin, and Queen, for example.

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.

Prague Chamber Choir

The Prague Chamber Choir was founded in 1991 by former members of the Prague Philharmonic Choir with the intention of devoting themselves systematically to vocal chamber music. Within just a few years, the ensemble earned considerable international renown, and at present it is giving concerts regularly in many countries in Europe and overseas. Among the choir’s greatest successes have been a performance of Mozart’s Mass in C Minor at the famed Salzburg Festival, a concert performance for Pope John Paul II at the Vatican, and an appearance in a production of Saint-Saëns’s Samson et Dalila on the stage of the Hamburg Opera with Plácido Domingo. The ensemble collaborates regularly with the world’s finest orchestras (including the Israel Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the Tonhalle-Orchester in Zurich) and conductors (Manfred Honeck, Christoph Eschenbach, Zubin Mehta etc.). The choir’s discography includes more than a hundred CDs and DVDs for Czech and foreign labels (Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Chandos, Supraphon et al.).

Lenka Navrátilová

Lenka Navrátilová studied piano and harpsichord at the Teplice Conservatoire and choral conducting of sacred music at the Charles University Faculty of Pedagogy in Prague. Since 2015 she has been serving as the choirmaster of the Kühn Choir of Prague, and she is the professor of operatic piano vocal coaching at the Prague Conservatoire and is an accompanist of the Prague Philharmonic Choir. She has been working in long-term collaboration with the opera company of the National Theatre, the Prague Spring International Music Festival, the Prague Symphony Orchestra, and the Antonín Dvořák International Singing Competition in Karlovy Vary. During her career, she has had the opportunity of collaborating with such world-famous conductors as Claudio Abbado, Sir George Solti, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Simon Rattle, Zubin Mehta, Christopher Hogwood, Fabio Luisi, and Jiří Bělohlávek. She has also taken part in the musical preparation of non-operatic theatrical productions, including A Walk Worthwhile at the National Theatre in Prague.

Lenka Navrátilová - conductor

Sychrov Castle

For 125 years, the neo-Gothic castle in Sychrov served as the residence of the aristocratic House of Rohan. The building’s interior is lavishly appointed with original furnishings, pictures, and other accessories. Most of the rooms boast wooden decorations made by the Prague master craftsman Petr Bušek. The castle’s picturesque surroundings include an English landscape garden with a number of rare tree species. In the past, the castle has also hosted a number of important figures including the composer Antonín Dvořák, who made many visits here in the late nineteenth century, especially between 1877 and 1896.