Classical music Festivals in Czech Republic

Classical music festivals in the Czech Republic (Prague, May 2009)

Names such as Dvořák, Smetana and Janáček have bestowed upon Czech music a brilliant reputation. And the compositions of these greats will certainly be heard at this year’s classical music festivals across the Czech Republic. Moreover, special attention will be given to the work of Bohuslav Martinů (1890–1959) in connection with the 50th anniversary of his death. INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL PRAGUE SPRING (12 May – 3 June 2009)

The programme of the Prague Spring festival recollects the anniversary of Bohuslav Martinů’s passing by several concerts (for example, in Obecní dům on 15 May and in the Rudolfinum on 28 May). This year’s all-star attractions will include the performance of one of the most acclaimed contemporary tenors Juan Diego Flórez (15 May) and the return to Prague of the violin queen Anne-Sophie Mutter (1 June). The ceremonial opening concert – Smetana’s My Country – will be conducted by the Estonian conductor Neeme Järvi directing the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. Audiences can look forward to performances by such foreign ensembles as the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées (14 May), Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg (21 May), Norddeutscher Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Hamburg (27 May) and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (31 May). The ranks of all-star soloists will be boosted by the female singers Bernarda Fink, Susan Graham and Dagmar Pecková. Also appearing will be baritone Thomas Hampson, violinists Shlomo Mintz and Leonidas Kavakos, violoncello player Steven Isserlis, legendary Catalonian violist da gamba Jordi Savall and pianists Nikolaj Luganskij and Ivan Moravec. The top jazz ensemble the Dave Holland Quintet will come from the United States. A project extending beyond the regular concert scheme of the festival nights will be the Czech premiere of the symphony Lord of the Rings (28 May), which was composed by the American composer Howard Shore using the motifs from his soundtrack to the hit movie by the same name.For more information: www.festival.cz, e-mail info@festival.cz International Music Festival JANACEK May Ostrava (20 May – 9 June 2009)Extraordinary diversity characterises the programme for the 34th year of the Ostrava festival. In addition to the classical symphonic and chamber concerts, there will be a premiere of the “operatic” work Brenpartija, subtitled Musical Scenes from a Slag Heap, which was composed by Edvard Schiffauer. Moreover, the festival will penetrate into the areas of film (Harold Lloyd’s silent grotesque with live music), folklore (gala concert upon the jubilee of the renowned Moravian folklore singer Jarmila Šuláková), and dance (a stage collage inspired by Janáček’s ballet Rákos Rákoczy). The opening night will feature the Prague Radio Symphonic Orchestra under the baton of Leoš Svárovský, and the festival will be closed by the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra with Petr Altrichter. Among the most attractive concerts will be a night of Italian and Spanish music from the 17th century in which the chamber ensemble Private Musicke will accompany Magdalena Kožená.For more information visit: www.janackuvmaj.cz  FESTIVAL MITTE EUROPA (A festival in the middle of europe) (14 June – 2 August 2009)The 18th year of the international festival that takes place in Western and Northern Bohemia, Saxony and Bavaria will again provide unforgettable cultural experiences and encounters with world artists. Among the supreme performances will be a concert of the German ensemble Parnassi Musici with an excellent Italian bassoonist Sergio Azzolini and soprano singer Ruth Liebscher set in the gothic Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary in Cheb (29 June), a performance of Concerto Brandenburg in the Cistercian Monastery in Osek (5 July), a recital of Hille Perl, the best European soloist playing viola da gamba, in the Saint Jacob’s Church in Pomezí nad Ohří (23 July), and a concert in the monastery church in Ostrov (12 July) where virtuoso baroque compositions will be performed by the South African flautist Stefan Temmingh accompanied by the Russian harpsichordist Olga Wattsová. Stirring gypsy and klezmer music will be provided by the ensembles Talisman (15 June) in Sokolov and David Orlowsky Trio (23 June) at the castle in Trmice. An entirely extraordinary experience will be a concert in Ústí nad Labem in which the audience will see and hear the fascinating confrontation of oud playing performed by the Lebanese Rabih Abou-Khalil and the Portuguese Fado sung by the young singer Ricardo Ribeiro (2 July).More information: www.festival-mitte-europa.com, public@festival-mitte-europa.com Smetana’S LitomySl INTERNATIONAL OPERA FESTIVAL (12 June – 6 July 2009)The Czech Republic’s biggest open-air classical music festival will again provide splendid musical experiences as well as the attractive surroundings of the UNESCO-registered Litomyšl Castle. This year’s festival will include 29 performances, thus providing the most extensive programme in the festival’s history. The main theme is EUROPA MUSICALIS, which implies a focus on European music and interpreters. At a ceremonial concert held on 28 June, the baton of the EU Presidency will be symbolically passed to Sweden. Opera lovers can look forward to Smetana’s Dalibor and Dvořák’s Rusalka with Dagmar Pecková singing in a double role. The children’s operas Beetles and Puss in Boots are intended for the youngest audience. This year’s premiere will be the Orbis Pictus project performed by the excellent cymbal player Zuzana Lapčíková (23 June). The piece is inspired by the work of the Czech “teacher of nations” John Amos Comenius. The Brno National Theatre will present its vision of Ballet of the 21st Century, and the Prague State Opera will stage its performance of Vivat Operetta! with numerous singing and ballet pieces from famous operettas. An external concert will bring the audience to Chrudim where G. F. Händel’s monumental oratorio Messiah will be played. Furthermore, Verdi’s Requiem will be performed by a 160-member choir from Colorado (USA) to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the World Word II (5 July). More information: www.smetanovalitomysl.cz, e-mail tickets@smetanovalitomysl.cz PRAGUE PROMS INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL (17 July – 2 August 2009)The fifth year of the Prague Proms 2009 International Music Festival organised by the Czech National Symphonic Orchestra (CNSO) is destined to find its place among the fixed stars in Prague’s music festival sky. A varied pallet of musical genres will feature, for example, Caribbean Night (26 July) and French Night (19 July). Popular movie soundtracks will be remembered on Hollywood Night (22 July) and Her Majesty the Queen’s greatest spy will be at the centre of attention on James Bond Night (29 July). CNSO, conducted by Libor Pešek, will bid farewell to the festival audience on Space Night (2 August). More information: www.pragueproms.cz INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL Český Krumlov 2009 (17 July – 22 August 2009)To celebrate the festival’s adulthood as well as the 700th anniversary of the origin of the city of Český Krumlov, the 18th year of the International Music Festival Český Krumlov 2009 has prepared a magnificent birthday music menu consisting of 20 concerts and performances. As the hors d’oeuvre and, at the same time, a big celebration of 700 years of the city, a grand open-air concert will be held at Svornost Square (17 July) featuring the performance of a piece entitled Water Music for Český Krumlov that was composed explicitly for the city. The main course of the festival will follow immediately, served to the eager audience by the world-renowned soprano Renée Fleming (18 July). An exceptional delicacy will be Dvořák’s Rusalka (24–29 July), performed on the stage in front of the revolving auditorium by soloists from the New York Metropolitan Opera together with selected singers from the leading Czech and Slovak opera houses. A specialty from Sweden is the concert of the acid-jazz group KOOP (31 July) that combines the swinging past with the electronic present. The lavish feast will proceed to the favourite national evening that is full of music, dance and gastronomic experiences. This time, Hungary (1 August) will be in focus and the evening will introduce, among others, the female singer Palya Bea with her quintet. The graceful sounds of harp, violoncello and guitar are promised to be heard at a concert of Kateřina Englichová, Alžběta Vlčková and Lubomír Brabec (7 August). For real gourmets, a concert of the outstanding violinist Shlomo Mintze (14 August) has been prepared, as well as Nights on Broadway (15 August), when singers from Broadway will sing the most popular musical melodies. More information: www.festivalkrumlov.cz  Other music festival that you should not miss include:  International Music Festival Dvořák’s Olomouc (11 May – 1 June 2009) www.mfo.czMusic Summer Hluboká (18 June – 10 September 2009) www.ajg.cz The Opera Week in Kutná Hora (19–27 June 2009) www.opernityden.cz Mikulov International Guitar Festival (5–11 July 2009) www.gfmikulov.com Třeboň Nocturnes (7–11 July 2009) www.trebonskanocturna.cz    Markéta ChaloupkováCzech Tourist Authority – CzechTourismE-mail: chaloupkova@czechtourism.cz

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