closing concert
Friday, September 21, 8.01 pm
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Programme

Antonín Dvořák: Festival Song, Op. 113, B. 202Antonín Dvořák: Rusalka Fantasy, Suite from the Operaarr. Manfred Honeck, orch. Tomáš IlleAntonín Dvořák: Biblical Songs, Op. 99, B. 185Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90

The closing concert of this year’s Dvořák Prague Festival is also one of its anticipated artistic highpoints. Returning to the Czech capital is one of the most renowned European orchestras, the Staatskapelle Dresden, and under the leadership of Manfred Honeck, who is well known in Prague, it will be performing music by two close friends: Antonín Dvořák and Johannes Brahms. Singing the Biblical Songs, the Czech master’s great song cycle, will be the mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink who specialises in Dvořák’s songs. These sacred songs will bring to a close the festival’s two year Dvořák Collection cycle of the composer’s complete cantatas and oratorios.

  • Dress code: black tie
  • Doors close: 19.45
  • End of concert: 22.00

Artists

Staatskapelle Dresden

The Staatskapelle Dresden is one of the world’s oldest orchestras. It was founded in 1548, and at its helm there has been a succession of stellar conductors, including Carl Maria von Weber, Richard Wagner, Fritz Reiner, and Karl Böhm, to name just a few. For more than sixty years, Richard Strauss worked in close collaboration with the orchestra as both a conductor and a composer – he conducted the orchestra in the world premieres of several of his works. The orchestra’s permanent home is the Semper Opera in Dresden, where it gives about two hundred sixty performance each year of operas and ballets along with fifty orchestral and chamber music concerts. It also has to its credit a large number of recordings, many of which have been received enthusiastically by the critics. In 2007 the European Cultural Foundation granted the orchestra a prestigious award for its contribution towards “preserving the world’s cultural heritage”.

Manfred Honeck

Manfred Honeck is one of the most sought-after conductors of his generation. A native of Austria, he graduated from the University of Music and the Performing Arts in Vienna, and he began his conducting career as a pupil of the legendary maestro Claudio Abbado. At the beginning of his career, he worked at the Zurich Opera, became a regular conductor of the MDR Sinfonieorchester in Leipzig, and the chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic. He has been the music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since 2008. From 2008 to 2011 and again from 2013, he was the principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic. He has conducted most of the world’s top orchestras, including the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, and the Vienna Philharmonic. He also devotes himself to opera, having conducted many opera productions at the Semper Opera in Dresden, the Comic Opera in Berlin, the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, the Royal Opera in Copenhagen, and elsewhere.

Bernarda Fink

The Argentine mezzo-soprano of Slovenian Origin Bernarda Fink is one of the very top performers of the concert repertoire. She is highly regarded by critics and audiences for her soulful singing, artistic humility, and characteristically silky but deeply colourful voice. Her broad repertoire ranges from the Baroque masters to composers of the twentieth century. She is well known to the Czech public as a superb interpreter and populariser of the songs of Antonín Dvořák – in part thanks to her superb Czech pronunciation, which she mastered while spending several years in Prague. Her singing of Dvořák’s music is some of the finest to be heard today. The artist also collaborates frequently with Czech performers, such as the Pavel Haas Quartet (Concerts in London, Amsterdam, The Hague, and Madrid). Her discography includes more than fifty albums, several of which have won prestigious prizes (including Diapason d’Or and Grammy Awards).

Bernarda Fink - mezzo-sopran

Slovak Philharmonic Choir

The Slovak Philharmonic Choir was founded in 1946 as the Bratislava Radio Mixed Choir under the leadership of the conductor Ladislav Slovák. In 1957 it was organisationally combined with the Slovak Philharmonic, and it gained its present name. During over half a century of the choir’s artistic activities, it has established itself as an ensemble of extraordinary quality, as is indicated by its collaborations with renowned conductors from around the world including Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Chailly, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Antonio Pedrotti, Helmuth Rilling, and many others. Besides its regular concert activities in its homeland, the choir also goes on tours abroad several times each year. It has appeared in most European countries as well as Morocco, Turkey, and Japan. It collaborates with prestigious foreign orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, and the Israel Philharmonic. The choir also has an extensive discography to its credit with recordings for a number of distinguished labels (Deutsche Grammophon, Naxos, Decca, Opus, and Supraphon among others).

Štefan Sedlický

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.