the concert will finish at 9.15 pm
Oto Reiprich — flute
This piano duo really is incredible! I’ve already had the honour of accompanying Hélène Mercier and Louis Lortie with the PKF—Prague Philharmonia and it was a fantastic experience. Come and hear them in the best possible combination with the PKF—Prague Philharmonia + Emmanuel Villaume.
Emmanuel Villaume: "This third concert is again quite unique as it links three composers who began their musical careers as child prodigies. The compositions which you will hear were written when all of them were around 20 years old, when they already had behind them a remarkable body of mature compositions and artistic triumphs. In his suite to Much Ado About Nothing, Brno-born Erich Wolfgang Korngold does not hide the influences of Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler and even Mozart. However, he adds his own distinctive ‘Korngoldian’ sound and vigour. Mendelssohn clearer references Ludwig van Beethoven, who he much admired, in his Reformation Symphony. He switches with great sophistication between sacred and secular music in this composition, which was composed to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession. I decided to conclude with Mozart, whose piano concertos I consider to be some of the most beautiful compositions he ever wrote. They are very moving and fully reflect Mozart’s musical genius. On December 16 you will hear not one, but two pianos at the same time, and with soloists who I have had immense joy working with — the duo Hélène Mercier and Louis Lortie, who have gathered acclaim across the continents. On a personal level, this evening has the potential to be one of my favourites from the forthcoming season."
Born in Montreal, Canada, Hélène Mercier has been playing the piano since she was six. She studied at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien (Dieter Weber), New York’s Julliard School (Sasha Gorodnitski) and Paris’s Conservatoire National Supérieur (Pierre Sancan). She has performed with many of the world’s most important conductors (Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, Neeme Järvi) and orchestras (Israel Philharmonic, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, the Russian State Symphony Orchestra). As a chambre musician she has played alongside such names as the phenomenal Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer and the up-and-coming star Gautier Capucon (cello). Her piano-duo partners have included Boris Berezowsky, Louis Lortie and Frank Braley. Hélène Mercier has received both public and critical recognition for her extensive recording work (Editor’s Choice, Gramophone). She is the recipient of the French order for art and literature — ‘Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’.
Over a career spanning more than three decades, the Canadian-French pianist Louis Lortie has established a reputation for being one of the most versatile musicians. His wide variety of concerts has taken him across the world. He has a long history of working with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, the Orchestre National de France, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony and the San Diego Symphony. In his homeland of Canada he regularly appears with orchestras in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary. He was the artist in residence with the Shanghai Symphony in the 2017—2018 season. All of this under the baton of figures such as Sir Andrew Davis, Jaap Van Zweden, Simone Young and others. As a soloist and chamber musician, Lortie has performed in the world’s most famous concert halls (Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall) and at numerous music festivals such as Beethovenfest Bonn and Liszt Festival Raiding. He is the co-founder and artistic director of the LacMus International Festival. His discography numbers more than 45 recordings for Chandos Records, including the complete Beethoven piano sonatas and Liszt’s cycle Years of Pilgrimage, which The New York Times included in its top recordings of 2012.
Emmanuel Villaume has been Chief Conductor and Music Director of PKF — Prague Philharmonia since the 2015—2016 season and is in his sixth year as Music Director of the Dallas Opera. In the autumn of 2017 he, together with the soprano Diana Damrau, received the prestigious German award ‘ECHO Klassik’ in the category ‘Opera Album of the year’ for the recording of Meyerbeer’s arias. In December 2017 he conducted the much-anticipated Metropolitan Opera’s production of Puccini’s Tosca, broadcast as part of the MET: Live in HD to more than 2000 cinemas in 73 countries. In 2018—2019 he is returning to the Metropolitan Opera to conduct Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, to Deutsche Oper Berlin (Massenet: Don Quichotte) and at the Opera Dallas he will be working on three productions: Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, Bizet’s Carmen and Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. Emmanuel Villaume collaborates regularly with prestigious opera houses around the world: the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London; Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Metropolitan Opera New York, Lyric Opera in Chicago and San Francisco Opera. He has led productions in Washington National Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Teatro Real in Madrid, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Bavarian State Opera and Teatro La Fenice. Maestro Villaume has conducted leading world orchestras: Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Royal Philharmonic in London; Chicago, San Francisco and Boston Symphonic Orchestras, Los Angeles Philharmonic and NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo. He is a sought-after partner of leading opera stars of the day: Anna Netrebko, Diana Damrau, Bryan Hymel and Angela Gheorghiu. In August 2018 the publishers Warner Classics released a recording with Emmanuel Villaume conducting the PKF — Prague Philharmonia with compositions by Ravel, Debussy and Bizet.