Ludwig van Beethoven: Leonora III, Overture
Ludwig van Beethoven: Aria of Marzellina 'O, wär' ich schon mit dir vereint'
Bohuslav Martinů: Concerto for Piano Trio and Strings H.231
Bohuslav Martinů: Concertino for Piano Trio and Strings H.232
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: 'Bella mia fiamma, addio' KV 528
Ludwig van Beethoven: Fidelio, Overture
Kateřina Kněžíková, soprano
Jakub Hrůša, conductor
Length of the concert 2h10, with interval
Donor’s ticket: CZK 3000
Ticket prices: CZK 900/760/580/SL+E390/ST150
The wonderful Dvořák Trio performed among others at the Dresdner Musikfestspiele, Styriarte Graz Festival, Chamber Music Season od the Berlin Philharmonic, Shanghai Hong Kong or Singapore.
Fidelio is Beethoven’s only opera. He worked on it over twelve years, during which time he composed various versions with several overtures. Nowadays the third overture is usually played before the last act. At first, the opera was named after its main female character Leonora. The premiere of the definitive version took place in 1814, and it was a real success. The story, supported by majestic and passionate music, is about a political prisoner and his wife who, dressed as a man, decides to free him. Fidelio is usually described as a revolutionary opera, as well as a celebration of marital love. Sometimes it is interpreted as an expression of longing for love from an ideal wife, something Beethoven never experienced in his life. Marzelline, the jailor’s daughter adds a lyrical touch to the story when, by mistake, she falls in love with Leonora disguised as a young man.
In a rare combination, the programme offers two of compositions by Bohuslav Martinů for the same set up and from the same year. The Concerto for Piano Trio and String Orchestra originated during Easter 1933. Following comments from the publisher, Martinů put the composition aside and wrote another one called Concertino that was accepted without reservations. It has the same number of movements and the same tonic key of C. Both works display typical characteristics of Neoclassicism, being conceived as Baroque concerto grosso, but do not at all have similar themes. The Concertino from August 1933 is full of life, compositionally worked out to every detail. The Basel based chamber ensemble Trio Hongrois premiered it with Paul Sacher as conductor. The score of the ‘on the shelf’ composition was found in the 1960s and since the premiere in Luzern until now it has been performed much less frequently.
The concerto aria Bella mia fiamma, addio is linked to Mozart’s Prague visits. It is almost an opera aria – virtuosic and emotionally charged, full of warm and pure feelings. Mozart wrote it following the premiere of Don Giovanni for the wife of his host, the singer Josefina Dušková.
JAKUB HRŮŠA, conductor
Born in the Czech Republic and described by Gramophone as ‘on the verge of greatness’, Jakub Hrůša is Chief Conductor of Bamberg Symphony, Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, Permanent Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, Principal Guest Conductor of Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, and served as Music Director and Chief Conductor of PKF – Prague Philharmonia from 2009–2015. He is a regular guest with many of the world’s greatest orchestras. Recent highlights have included débuts with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Filarmonica della Scala, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, and Chicago Symphony; Bohemian Legends and The Mighty Five – two major series specially devised for the Philharmonia Orchestra; and returns to the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Vienna Symphony, DSO Berlin, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. The 17/18 season will see his débuts with the San Francisco Symphony and Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. As a conductor of opera, he has been a regular guest with Glyndebourne Festival, conducting The Cunning Little Vixen, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Carmen, The Turn of the Screw, Don Giovanni and La bohème, and serving as Music Director of Glyndebourne On Tour for three years. Elsewhere he has led productions for Vienna State Opera (a new production of The Makropulos Case), Opéra National de Paris (Rusalka), Frankfurt Opera (Il trittico), Finnish National Opera (Jenůfa), Royal Danish Opera (Boris Godunov), and Prague National Theatre (The Cunning Little Vixen and Rusalka). This season will see his return to the Opera National de Paris (The Merry Widow), and his début at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Carmen). As a recording artist, he has released six discs of Czech music for Supraphon. His latest disc is Smetana’s Má vlast with Bamberg Symphony for Tudor. He has also recorded Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Strauss’s Eine Alpensinfonie and Suk’s Asrael Symphony with Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra for Octavia Records; the Tchaikovsky and Bruch violin concertos with Nicola Benedetti and the Czech Philharmonic (Universal); and three discs for Pentatone with PKF – Prague Philharmonia. Jakub Hrůša studied conducting at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, where his teachers included Jiří Bělohlávek, and where he now lives with his wife and two children. He is currently President of the International Martinů Circle. In 2015 he was the inaugural recipient of the Sir Charles Mackerras Prize.