Czech Philharmonic / Jenůfa
A native of Finland, Karita Mattila was trained at the SibeliusAcademy in Helsinki. She sings at all the world’s major opera houses and festivals and has performed with conductors of such renown as Levine, Abbado, Davis, Dohnanyi, Haitink, Pappano, Rattle, Salonen and Sawallisch. Recent highlights include Leonore (Fidelio) for Houston Grand Opera, the title role of Janáček’s Katya Kabanova at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Lisa (Pique Dame) at the Metropolitan Opera and The Makropulos Case at San Francisco Opera. Mattila’s innate sense of drama has led to remarkable collaborations with major stage directors, including Luc Bondy in his highly acclaimed Don Carlos and Jürgen Flimm in Fidelio at the Metropolitan Opera.
She has many recordings to her credit on the Phillips, EMI, Sony, DG, and Ondine labels, including Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder with Claudio Abbado on the DG label; complete recordings of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg on Decca with the late Sir Georg Solti, which won a Grammy Award in 1998; Jenufa on Erato/Warner with Bernard Haitink, which won a Grammy Award in 2004; and Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 14 with Sir Simon Rattle on EMI.
Highlights of the 2012/13 season include Emilia Marty (The Makropulos Case) at Finnish National Opera, the title role of Jenufa at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich, Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder with the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon, and recitals in London, Amsterdam, Bordeaux, Zurich, Paris, Minneapolis and Boston. Future seasons will see Mattila return to the Royal Opera House and the Metropolitan Opera, with roles including Marie (Wozzeck), Kostelnička (Jenufa) and the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos.
Adriana Kohútková was born in Bratislava, Slovakia and after completing her graduate studies she made her professional debut at Slovak National Theatre. First she performed a number of roles of coloratura repertoire, mostly Mozart’s characters (Donna Anna, Konstanza), Verdi’s Gilda and Violetta, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and Marie, La fille du regiment, in many opera houses of Europe – Hamburg, Praque, Budapest, Salzburg, and Ljubljana and also in Japan, Tokyo.
Today the repertoire of Adriana Kohútková is extending by more melodramatically roles. She appears regularly as Rusalka, Smetana’s Mařenka, The Bartered Bride, Puccini’s Cio-Cio San, Tatiana or Lisa in Tchaikovsky’s operas Eugen Onegin and The Queen of spades, Jenůfa, Elsa and Elisabeth in Wagner’s operas Lohengrin and Tannhäuser. She collaborates with many excellent opera houses including Opera House Bonn, Royal Opera Copenhagen, National Theatre Prague, Teatr Wielki Warsaw, Grand Theatre de Genève, Opernhaus Zürich etc. She also expands her repertory by performing new Verdi and Donizetti characters appearing as Elena, I vespri siciliani or Desdemona with José Cura. In Prague she made her debut as Elisabeth in Don Carlo. She achieved great success in her role debuts as Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia and Maria Stuarda in last few years. Adriana Kohútková has won several awards – among others for the role of Tatiana, Desdemona, Elsa and Jenůfa.
Besides her opera career, Adriana Kohútková performs regularly in recitals and concerts throughout the world under the leading of Maag, Camberlling, Baudo, Honeck, Dohnányi, Judd, Fisch, Kout etc.
Jaroslav Březina studied at the Prague Conservatory under the tutelage of Zdeněk Jankovský and after graduating further honed his technique with Václav Zítek. During his studies he became a member of the vocal ensemble Dobrý večer kvintet. His concert activity is extensive, primarily as regards projects pertaining to the baroque and classical repertoire. He has appeared on concert stages in Japan, Austria, Norway, Italy (performances of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater in Rome and Pisa), Germany, France and Spain.
He has collaborated with a number of conductors, including J. Bělohlávek, Sir C. Mackerras, O. Dohnányi, S. Baudo, G. Albrecht and T. Netopil. Since 1993 he has been a soloist of Prague’s National Theatre Opera, where he has created a host of roles from both the Czech and world repertoire - Mozart’s Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Tito (La clemenza di Tito), Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Pedrillo (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) and Ferrando (Così fan tutte), Count Almaviva (Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia), Dancairo (Bizet: Carmen), Verdi’s Alfredo (La traviata), Fenton (Falstaff) and Macduff (Macbeth), Beppe (Leoncavallo: Pagliacci), Zinovy Borisovich (Shostakovitch: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk), Smetana’s Vašek and Jeník (The Bartered Bride), Skřivánek and Vít (The Secret) and Michálek (The Devil’s Wall), Dvořák’s Jiří (The Jacobin) and Jirka (The Devil and Kate), Janáček’s Laca (Jenůfa), Kudryash (Káťa Kabanová) and Schoolmaster / Mosquito (The Cunning Little Vixen), Martinů’s Yannakos and Panait (The Greek Passion) and Mascaron (The Miracles of Mary), Nemorino (Donizetti: L'elisir d'amore), The Spirit of the Masque (Britten: Gloriana).
He featured on CD recordings of J. J. Ryba’s Czech Christmas Mass (Deutsche Grammophon), Zelenka’s coronation opera Sub olea pacis et palma virtutis, which won a Cannes Classical Award for the year 2002, Janáček’s Šárka and Dvořák’s The Stubborn Lovers (all for Supraphon). He performed Janáček’s The Diary of One Who Disappeared at the Teatro Real in Madrid, at the Moravian Autumn and Janáček Hukvaldy festivals, during the Czech Philharmonic’s concert season, and also regularly at Prague’s National Theatre during the years 1998–2001. He also works with Czech Television (e.g. a production of Martinů’s opera The Voice of the Forest).
Among plans of Czech tenor Ales Briscein are new productions of Eugene Onegin at the Komische Oper Berlin and of Janacek’s From the House of the Dead at Savonlinna Opera Festival, as well as concert performances of Jenufa underJiri Belohlavek with Czech Philharmonic in London and of Vec Makropulos alsounder Jiri Belohlavek at the BBC Proms. He will be on tour in Japan with State Opera Prague as Pollione in Bellini’s Norma, and in Hong Kong with National Theatre of Brrno as Alber Gregor in Vek Makropulos and with the Glagolitic Mass.
In 2017 he will give his role debut in the title role of Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg in Graz and sing a new production Lohengrin at Prague National Theatre conducted by John Fiore.
In spring 2018 he will return to Munich State Opera for a new production From the House of the Dead, where he will perform the part of Filka Morozov.
Besides this he is guesting at many theatres and festivals of his home country in roles like Jiri in Dvorak‘s Jakobin, Ladislav in Smetana‘s Two widows, Prince in Rusalka, Conte di Albafloria in Martinu‘s Mirandolina, as Jaromér in Fibich’s Pád Arkuna, as Lukas in Smetana’s The Kiss, as Alfredo in La Traviata, in the title role of Lohengrin or 2015 as Pollione in Bellini’s Norma.
in 2015 he debuted in the part of Königssohn in Humperdinck’s Königskinder at Opera Frankfurt, performed Laca in Janacek’s Jenufa at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna and sang Stravinskiy’s Les Noces in Rome. 2013/14 he guested in new productions of Così fan tutte at the Komische Oper and of Jenufa in Graz. 2013 he was heard as Andrej in Tchaikowsky’s Mazeppa at the Komische Oper Berlin and as Steva in Jenufa at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich.
In summer 2012 he had a huge success in the title role of Wagner’s Lohengrin at the Tyrolean Festival in Erl under Gustav Kuhn and sang Smetana’s seldom performed opera Two Widows in Angers and Nantes.
In summer 2011 he debuted at Salzburg Festival in a new production Vec Makropulos conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen and staged by Christoph Marthaler.
He also was heard in Nürnberg, Vancouver, Tokyo, Cyprus, Lille, Caen, Antwerp, Valencia, Vienna, London and Frankfurt.
Ales Briscein started his career as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte in Prague, where in the meantime he has sung many roles and where he is performing regularly.
For many years he regularly guested at Opéra de Bastille in Paris, where he was heard as, among others, Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos, Kedril in From the House of the dead, Ein junger Diener in Elektra, Hirt/Junger Seemann in Tristan und Isolde, Valzacchi in Der Rosenkavalier, Janek in Vec Makropulos, Jeník in The bartered bride, Jaquino in Fidelio and as Kudriash in Kát‘a Kabanova.
Ales Briscein works with conductors such as Christoph von Dohnanyi, Sir Charles Mackeras, Valeri Gergiev, Jiri Belohlavek, John Fiore, Sylvain Cambreling, Kent Nagano, Tomas Netopil, Esa Pekka Salonen, or David Zinman
Svatopluk Sem studied voice under the guidance of D. Volfová at the Conservatory in České Budějovice. He became a soloist in the South Bohemian Theatre in České Budějovice after finishing his studies. Here he portrayed many main characters such as Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Germonte (La traviata), Valentin (Faust), Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), Guglielmo (Cosí fan tutte) or Belcore (L´elisir d´amore).
He regularly performs in many opera houses in the Czech Republic such as the National Theatre in Prague, The State Opera in Prague, the J. K. Tyl Theatre in Pilsen, the South Bohemian Theatre in České Budějovice, the National Theatre Brno or the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre in Ostrava. His repertoire includes several dozen roles of different nature.
Svatopluk Sem has been performing in productions of various directors – O. Havelka, J. Heřman, M. Forman, The Theatre Group SKUTR (M. Kukučka & L. Trpišovský) and cooperated with many famous conductors. Among others we can name G. Albrecht, A. Allemandi, J. Bělohlávek, T. Brauner, E. Dovico, P. Feranec, E. Fiore, H. M. Förster, J. Hrůša, R. Jindra, J. Keenen, O. Lenárd, T. Netopil, L. Pešek, Mario De Rose or D. Savic.
He has made his appearance not only in the Czech Republic but also abroad. Japan, Denmark, South Korea, Austria, Spain, Germany, Russia, Italy or England are examples of countries where we could see Svatopluk Sem on stage. He cooperates with orchestras such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, PKF – Prague Philharmonia etc.
He cooperated with London BBC Orchestra under the baton of J. Bělohlávek on a recording of Smetana's Bartered Bride for the label Harmonia Mundi. He recorded a document "Rolando meets Don Giovanni" for BBC, where he performed together with Rolando Villazón in the role of Don Giovanni.
He is a frequent guest of prestigious international music festivals such as the Dvořákova Praha International Music Festival, Opern Air Gars am Kampf in Austria, The Prague Spring International Music Festival, International Opera Festival Smetana’s Litomyšl or the IMF Český Krumlov.
In his field he has received three times the prestigious Karel Roden Award.
Yvona Škvárová had her first engagement at the J. K. Tyl Theatre in Plzeň. In 1987, she debuted at the National Theatre and in the next year received a permanent contract. She has performed, among other roles, Dorabella (Mozart: Così fan tutte), Maddalena (Verdi: Rigoletto), Pollina and Daphnis (Tchaikovsky: The Queen of Spades) and Betty Doxy (Britten: The Beggar’s Opera).
Following the division of the Prague opera houses, she became a member of the Prague State Opera, where she was one of the principal soloists. She appeared in the lead roles in Rossini’s operas L’Italiana in Algieri and Il barbiere di Siviglia, and also as Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Laura (Ponchielli: La Gioconda), Verdi’s Fenena (Nabucco) and Eboli (Don Carlos), Thomas’s Mignon, Bizet’s Carmen, Klara (Prokofiev:Betrothal in a Monastery), Marina (Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov).
Extensive too are her activities abroad. In Regensburg, Germany, she sang the role of Octavian (R. Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier), on several occasions she performed as a guest in L’Italiana in Algieri in Cologne and in Austria as Waltraute (Wagner: Die Walküre). Furthermore, she appeared as a guest in Dublin and Nancy, and received rapturous applause in Taiwan and Japan.
Since 1999 she has again been a member of the National Theatre. The most noteworthy roles she has created here are: Kostelnička (Janáček: Jenůfa), Dvořák’s Witch (Rusalka) and the Princess (The Devil and Kate), Mrs. Quickly (Verdi: Falstaff), Principessa di Boullion (Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur), and Waltraute in Die Walküre, and Herodias in the concert performance of Strauss’ Salome.
For Brangäne (Wagner: Tristan und Isolde) she won the prize of the Opera 2001 festival for the best supporting role and was nominated for the prestigious Thalia Award. She received the 2003 Thalia Award for the role of Marylin Klinghoffer in John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer. She has earned fame as an outstanding performer in concert as well.
Lucie Silkenová was born in Prague. She graduated in 2010 from the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, co-operation with Ivan Kusnjer. She has also honed her vocal technique at master classes in England, Spain, Germany and Austria (Anatolli Goussev, Gery Grice, Rotraud Hansmann, Margreet Honig, Tom Krause, Georg Nigl, Margot Nollen, Alexander Olivier, Tomas Paul, Marta Scheffel).
Lucie has won several important prizes at international voice competitions and was an participant of final rounds at the “International Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition, Amsterdam 2014”. Among the most significant for her career have been the 1st Prize at the international competition in France “Concours International d’Encouragement Musical, Lyon 2008” (Rotary Club) and the 2nd Prize in the opera category at the “Antonín Dvořák International Vocal Competition, Karlovy Vary 2009” together with theatre awards (National Theatre Prague, State Opera Prague, State Theatre in Košice - Slovakia).
Opera-goers have had the chance to hear her in many roles including Cleopatra (Händel: Julius Caesar), Pamina (Mozart: Die Zauberflöte), Zerlina (Mozart: Don Giovanni), Corilla (Donizetti: Viva la Mamma), Rosina (Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia), Gilda (Verdi: Rigoletto), Terinka (Dvořák: Jakobín), Bystrouška/Vixen (Janáček: The Cunning Little Vixen) and Lisa (Lehár: The Land of Smiles). She made her debute with the National Theatre in Prague and with the Prague State Opera in 2010 and became a resident guest with the companies. She was a guest singer at the Teatro Regio Torino, the F. X. Šalda Theatre Liberec, the J. K. Tyl Theatre Pilsen, the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre Ostrava and co-operates with the Prague Chamber Opera on international tours (Japan, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland).
She has made many concert appearances including with BBC Symphony Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, Czech Philharmonic, Prague Symphony Orchestra FOK, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, etc. Her beloved concert parts are Beethoven’s Missa solemnis and Symphony No.9, Dvorak’s Te Deum and Stabat Mater, Haydn’s The Creation, Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass, Mahler’s Symhony No. 2 and No.4, Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, …
She has collaborated with numerous renowned conductors such as Jiří Bělohlávek, Iván Fischer, John Fiore, Tomáš Hanus, Jan Latham-Koenig, Jiří Kout, Ondrej Lenárd, Tomáš Netopil, Libor Pešek, Helmuth Rilling, Jac van Steen and Osmo Vänskä. She successfully performed at international music festivals as Prague Spring International Music Festival, International Opera Festival Smetana’s Litomyšl, Janacek’s Máj Ostrava, Dvorak’s Olomouc and Festival Mahler Jihlava. She has made several recordings with the labels Navona Records, ArcoDiva and Czech Radio.
Luděk Vele graduated from the Prague conservatoire, where he was led by Jaroslav Horáček and in the final year of his studies he accepted an engagement at the Liberec opera. The regional scene allowed him to quickly grow artistically and in a short period of time he created several roles from Czech and international repertoire there. He has been a National Theatre soloist since 1983. He enriched his repertoire here by almost all significant bass roles that the local dramaturgy could offer him. Next to his masterly refined Water Sprite, Kecal and Leporello he also studied Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, Verdi’s Sparafucile (Rigoletto) and Banco (Macbeth), Colline (Puccini: La bohème), Lorenzo (Gounod: Roméo et Juliette), Zuniga (Bizet: Carmen), Filip (Dvořák: The Jacobin), Gamekeeper and Badger/Priest (Janáček: The Cunning little Vixen), Bartolo (Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro), Il Commendatore (Mozart: Don Giovanni). For his execution of Smetana’s Chrudoš (Libuše) and Richard Strauss’s Baron Ochs (Der Rosenkavalier) he was awarded the Thálie Award in 1995 and 1996. He co-operates with radio and television and is a frequent guest of opera and concert stages in the Czech Republic and abroad. He has also made number of recordings with domestic and international recording labels.
The mezzo-soprano Jana Hrochová (Wallingerová), née Štefáčková, studied at the Prague Conservatory with Jarmila Krásová, in 2001 taking private study with the soprano Natalia Romanová. In 1998 she came second at the Czech Conservatories Singing Contest.
In 2000 she was invited to join the opera company of the National Theatre in Brno. Guest performances have taken the young mezzo to a number of opera houses, such as Prague National Theatre, Prague State Opera, Plzeň, Ostrava, Olomouc, State Theatre Košice and Theatre Freiburg. Mrs Hrochová Wallingerováʼs concert activities are an essential part of her repertoire and have brought her together with some leading Czech orchestras. She works with conductors such as Serge Baudo, Gerd Albrecht, Ondrej Lenárd, Petr Altrichter, Jakub Hrůša, Tomáš Hanus, Jiří Bělohlávek and others. She is a regular guest at opera houses and concert stages outside the Czech Republic (Japan, Spain, Mexico, Greece, Netherlands, Austria, Germany and Italy). In 2011 she sang the alt-solo in Dvořákʼs Requiem mass at a state funeral of Václav Havel. The Brno National Theatre awarded her with DIVA 2005, 2008 and 2010 Award. In 2012 and 2013 she was nominated for the Thalia award. In the years 2011 and 2015 she recorded CDs of songs by Bohuslav Martinů for Naxos Records.
Marta Reichelova was born in 1985 in Jeseník (the Czech Republic). She graduated Janáček Conservatory in Ostrava and received her Master Degree from Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno where she is just about to graduate her postgradual studies as well. During her studies she made her debut as a guest soloist in Jiří Myron Theatre in Ostrava as Lisa (E. Kalmán: The Countess Marica operetta), in Silesian Theatre Opava as Gretel (E. Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel) and in J. K. Tyl Theatre in Pilsner as the Dancer Fenicie (B. Martinů: The Soldier and the Dancer).
In 2013 Marta Reichelova was invited as a guest soloist to the National Theatre Brno. She performed Dafne, the leading role of the eponymous opera by contemporary composers T. Hanzlík and J. Zouhar, and the First Nymph in Rusalka by Antonín Dvořák. With this production she also took part in guest performances in Royal Opera House Muscat (Oman) in 2014. In Autumn the same year she became the regular solo singer of the National Theatre Brno opera ensemble. Her roles include: Zerlina (W. A. Mozart: Don Giovanni), Maid (Th. Adés: Powder Her Face), Cunning Little Vixen (L. Janáček: The Cunning Little Vixen), Penelopka (M. Ivanovič: Enchantia), Barče (B. Smetana: The Kiss), Esmeralda (B. Smetana: The Bartered Bride), Wanda (O. Nedbal: Polish blood).
In Autumn 2015 she made her debut in the Prague National Theatre as Cook (I. Stravinskij: The Nightingale) and Brigitta (P. I. Tchaikovsky: Iolanta), followed by debut in Antonín Dvořák Theatre in Ostrava as Ophélie (A. Thomas: Hamlet).
Marta Reichelova is a prizewinner in several competitions, for instance Antonin Dvořák's International Singing Competition in Karlovy Vary 2013 (the 2nd prize and other special awards), International Singing Competition in Žďár nad Sázavou 2011 (the 2nd prize). She has cooperated with conductors such as L. König, R. Štúr, T. Brauner, D. Švec, J. Kyzlink, J. Klecker, M. Ivanovič, O. Olos and music ensembles such as Prague Symphony Orchestra, Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava.
Studied voice at the Prague conservatory under the tutelage of Brigita Šulcová.
From 2004 she was a soloist of the opera at the F. X. Šalda Theatrein Liberec and performed as a permanentguest at the Operas in Olomouc, Pilsen and the National Theatre in Prague.
Since 2006 she has been a soloist of Prague's National Theatre,where to date she has portrayded Bizet's Carmen, Dalila (Saint-Saëns: Samson et Dalila), Melisande (C.Debussy: Pelleas et Melisande), Muse and Nicklausse (Offenbach: Les contes d'Hoffmann), Olga (Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin), Mozart's Annio (La clemenza di Tito) and Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro) and from Czech repertoire Smetana's Maiden Rosa (The secret), Dvořák's Kate (The Devil and Kate), Janáček's Varvara (Káťa Kabanová)...
Her repertoir also includes the roles of the Witch in Rusalka (Dvořák), Verdi's Azucena (Il trovatore), Ulrica (Un ballo in maschera), Fenena (Nabucco) and Preziosilla (La forza del destino), Puccini's Suzuki (Madama Butterfly) and Tigrana (Edgar), Donizetti's Giovanna Seymour (Anna Bolena), Massenet's Dulcinée (Don Quichotte), Siebel (Gounod: Faust), Fyodor (Musorgsky: Boris Godunov), Koncakovna (Borodin : Prince Igor)...
In June 2007 at the Opera festival in Wexford, Ireland, she won the most talented yang singer award for her performance af the Witch (Rusalka). At the following year's festival she sang the role of Lel the shepherd (Rimsky-Korsakov: The Snow Maiden) under the conductor Dmitri Jurowski.
Since 2007 she has been a permanent guest at the Opera House in Graz, Austria, performing as Suzuki and Fenena.
On concert stages she has apperaed with the Prague Symphony Orchestra as Jocaste in Stravinsky's oratorio Oedipus Rex and Dvořák's Requiem conducted by Jiří Kout.
In 2009, she performed at the Teatro Municipale di Piacenza and the Teatro Comunale di Bolzano as Azucena under conductor Antonello Allemandi in production of Roberto Lagana Manoli.
In the 2010/2011 season she sang and recorded Mahler's Symphonies Nr.2 and Nr.8 with the czech Symphony Orchestra conducted by Libor Pešek.
Kateřina Kněžíková, born 1982 in Bohumín, graduated from Prague Conservatory in 2007 and in 2010 she completed her university degree at Music and Dance Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague as a student of Jiřina Přívratská. She has been the prize-winner of numerous competitions, for example Antonín Dvořák’s International Singing Competition in Karlovy Vary.
In 2005, Kateřina Kněžíková made her debut in the National Theatre in Prague in the role of Zerlina and she has been a permanent cast member thereof since 2006. This is where her operatic engagements over recent years include roles such as Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Serpetta (La Finta giardiniera), Servilia (La Clemenza di Tito), Blonde (Entführung aus dem Serail), Despina (Cosí fan tutte), Ilja (Idomeneo), Almirena (Rinaldo), Adina (Elisir d’amore), Barče (Hubička), Terinka (Jakobín), Nannetta (Falstaff), Aristea (L’Olimpiade) and many others.
She made her guest appearance in F. X. Šalda Theatre Liberec, J. K. Tyl Theatre in Pilsen, National Moravian-Silesian Theatre in Ostrava, Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava, Theatre de Caen, Opéra Royal de Versailles, Theatre Royal de La Monnaie in Brussels and Opéra de Dijon.
She has been performing in productions of various directors - D. Beneš, Karl-Ernst and Ursel Herrmann, J. Heřman, L. Keprtová, L. Moaty, J. Nekvasil, V. Věžník etc.
Her professional concert and operatic engagements have involved work with conductors such as S. Baudo, J. Bělohlávek, A. Fisch, J. Gaffigan, M. Honeck, H. M. Förster, J. Hrůša, R. Jindra, V. Luks, E. Mazzola, J. Nelson, T. Netopil and outstanding orchestras including BBC Symphony orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, Collegium 1704, Czech Philharmonic, Hessischer Rundfunk Frankfurt am Main, PKF - Prague Philharmonia, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra and many others.
She regularly makes her appearance at prestigious international festivals in the Czech Republic and abroad (Dvořákova Praha International Music Festival, International Music Festival Janáček Máj, Prague Spring International Music Festival, International Opera Festival Smetana’s Litomyšl, St. Venceslav Music Festival, Strings of Autumn, Festival de La Chaise-Dieu, Festival Rencontres Musicales de Vétzelay, Festival Baroque de Pontoise, Music Bridge Prague – Dresden, Uckermärkische Musikwochen, Tage Alte Musik Regensburg etc.).
She made recordings for Czech Radio, television channel MEZZO and Belgian radio station RTFB International. She recorded Bartered Bride by Bedřich Smetana for HARMONIA MUNDI and her recording of Dove é amore é gelosia produced for OPUS ARTE DVD was awarded “Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik“.
The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno has earned a place at the very summit of the choral world. Conductors, orchestras and soloists, who have cooperated with the Brno singers, extol their qualities, while the critics acclaim particularly the ensemble's compact sound and broad range of means of expression.
The Choir, founded in 1990, is a regular guest at the most prestigious European festivals and appears on the most distinguished concert stages. The audiences are captivated by its level of professionalism as well as extraordinary musical feeling.
The man behind the Choir's accomplishments is Petr Fiala (1943), its founding father, Choir Master and Director. A graduate of the Brno Conservatory and the Janáček Academy of Fine Arts (where he studied piano, composition and conducting), Fiala is also a prolific composer (his output numbers some 180 pieces). He has been an active choir master and conductor for the past 45 years. In 2009 he was awarded the Order of Sts. Cyril and Methodius by the Czech Episcopal Conference, in recognition of his outstanding achievements as both conductor and composer, in 2013 he received the City of Brno Prize for his artistic activities. The Second Choir Master is Jan Ocetek (1972).
The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno focuses especially on the performance of oratorios and cantatas. Its qualities are displayed in as many as 90 concerts annually, both in Czech Republic and abroad. The Choir performs with the world's best orchestras and conductors (e.g. Petr Altrichter, Jiří Bělohlávek, Jakub Hrůša, Jakub Klecker, Zdeněk Mácal, Tomáš Netopil, Ondrej Lenárd, Libor Pešek, Leoš Svárovský, Vladimír Válek, Juraj Valčuha, Christian Arming, Marc Albrecht, Hermann Baumer, Marcus Bosch, Stephan Blunier, Kees Bakels, Jean-Claude Casadesus,Dennis Russel Davies, Christoph Eschenbach, Gabriel Feltz, Ivan Fischer, Lawrence Foster, Enoch zu Guttenberg, Martin Haselboeck, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Manfred Honeck, Eliahu Inbal, Marek Janowski, Neeme, Paavo a Kristian Järvi, Dmitrij Kitajenko, Roman Kofman, Marko Letonja, Kurt Masur, Nicholas Milton, Zubin Mehta, Ingo Metzmacher, Yannick Nézet-Séguin,Sir Roger Norrington, Jonathan Nott, Mathias Pintscher, Sir Simon Rattle, Helmuth Rilling, Yuri Simonov, Martin Sieghardt, Steven Sloane, Marc Soustrot, Michael Tilson Thomas, Mario Venzago, Walter Weller, Ralf Weikert, Simone Young, , and others). Although the Choir is a regular guest at numerous distinguished international festivals, home audiences are never neglected, as the Choir appears frequently also in Prague, Brno, Ostrava, Olomouc, Litomyšl, České Budějovice, Český Krumlov and elsewhere across the Czech lands.
The Choir has recorded many CDs and received a number of accolades. In 2007 the singers from Brno were honored by two prestigious European Echo Klassik awards—as the '2007 Ensemble of the Year' (recognizing their rendition of Anton Bruckner's Motets) and for the'2007 Recording of the Year' (i.e. Franz Liszt's oratorio Christus). In 2008 the recording of Paul von Klenau's Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornetts Christoph Rilke was nominated for the prestigious Danish P2 Music Prize in the category '2008 Symphonic Recording of the Year', while in 2009 the recording of B. A. Zimmermann's Requiem für einen jungen Dichter was awarded the Preis der Deutschen Schallplatenkritik. Moreover, accolades have lately not been limited to the European continent: the eminent Japanese Geijutsu Disc Review awarded the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno its prestigious 'Tokusen' Mark of Honor for the live recording of Dvořák's Requiem.
The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno cooperated in many interesting projects in 2013 – concerts in France - Salle Pleyel in Paris and Lille (with Orchestre National de Lille and Maestro Casadesus), summer festivals in Chaise Dieu and Vézelay, Rheingau Musikfestival with Verdi Requiem and Leoš Svárovský.
Further on concerts with Staatskapelle Dresden and Christian Thielemann (R. Wagner "Liebesmahl der Aposteln") , concert in München Gasteig (R. Wagner "Rienzi"), Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle (Janáček "Glagolitic Mass"), Budapest Festival Orchester and Iván Fischer (Dvořák "Requiem"), RAI Torino and Juraj Valčuha (Verdi "Requiem"), Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra (Verdi "Quatro pezzi sacri"), RSO Frankfurt and Mathias Pintscher (G. Mahler "Symphony No. VIII" and B.A. Zimmermann "Requiem für den jungen Dichter"), and Stuttgarter Philharmoniker under the leadership of Christoph König.
In 2014 – the Year of Czech Music – the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno had invitations to such interesting projects as Wagner Festival Wels (with Prof. Ralf Weikert), concerts in Vienna with Wiener Akademie ("Missa Solemnis" with Prof. Martin Haselböck), Prague Symphony Orchestra and Helmut Rilling, Budapest Festival Orchester and Ivan Fischer (Dvořák "Requiem, Rusalka"), RSO Frankfurt with Eliahu Inbal, Konzerthausorchester Berlin with Dmitrij Kitajenko (Rachmaninov "Bells"), Liége Royal Philharmonic and Christian Arming (Janáček "Glagolitic Mass"), Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich and Jun Märkl (Bruckner "Mass in E minor and Motets").
The choir performed 2014 also in Poland (Poznań ,Warszawa - "Missa solemnis" with Poznań Philharmonic and Jérémie Rhorer), Germany - Rheingau Musikfestival (Berlioz "Romeo and Juliet" with Leoš Svárovský).
In 2015 the Choir performed with Beethoven Orchester Bonn and John Nelson ("Missa Solemnis"), the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Alexander Liebreich ("Peer Gynt"). Major project of the summer period 2015 was Verdi "Macbeth" production for Opernfestpiele Heidenheim (10 performances with Stuttgart Philharmonic and Marcus Bosch). The Choir also returned to Musica Sacra festival Nuernberg in June 2015 with two concerts.
The activities of the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno are generously supported by the Region of Southern Moravia, the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and the City of Brno. The Choir's general partner is Tescan Orsay Holding, Plc.
The Choir’s Artistic Director and Choir Master is Petr Fiala (1943); he founded the Choir in 1990 and subsequently guided it to its present position as one of Europe’s elite choral ensembles. The Assistant Choirmaster is Jan Ocetek (1972).
Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, Czech Philharmonic
Principal Guest Conductor, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor Laureate, BBC Symphony (London)
Renowned Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek was appointed Music Director and Artistic Director of the Czech Philharmonic in 2012, following on from his successful tenure as Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, of which he is now a Conductor Laureate. He was Chief Conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra (1977–89), Music Director of the Prague Philharmonia (1994–2004), was appointed President of the Prague Spring Festival in 2006. From 2013 to 2017, he was Principal Guest Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
In opera, he has collaborated with the Vienna State Opera, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, the Teatro Real Madrid, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Zurich Opera, and the National Theatre in Prague. He has also conducted and recorded several opera-in-concert presentations with the BBC Symphony, to great acclaim. Confirming his preeminence as the conductor of Janacek, this past season he conducted the Czech Phil in a concert presentation of Jenůfa at the London Royal Festival Hall, as well as in full production the San Francisco Opera. This was followed by a performance of Janacek The Makropulos Case with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms.
Under his leadership the Czech Philharmonic is enjoying unprecedented success both at home in Prague, and on extensive tours. Together they have toured in the past three seasons on three continents, including Europe, Asia and North America. Their recent residency in Vienna at the Musikverein was a great success, and has lead to similar events being planned in other world capitals. The Czech Philharmonic announced in January 2017 that their partnership with Maestro Bělohlávek is now officially extended to 2022!
In addition to his ongoing Prague seasons and touring engagements with the Czech, he continues to perform as a guest conductor with the world’s major orchestras, including recent appearances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (including at the London Proms), New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Washington National Symphony, and Deutsches Symphony Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Vienna Symphony Orchestra. In the coming season, in addition to major projects with Czech Phil, he looks forward to engagements with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Bayerische Rundfunk Orchestra Munich, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, St Petersburg Philharmonic, and more.
With the Czech Philharmonic, he will conduct a major Asian tour in Autumn 2017 with concerts in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, in addition to appearances on tour in Europe, the highlight of which will be a performance of Janáček Glagolitic Mass at the Salzburg Festival in August 2018.
Jiří Bělohlávek has recorded extensively, with recent projects with the Czech Philharmonic including the complete symphonies and concertos of Dvořák. The series with Decca continues in the coming season, when a major disc of Suk will be recorded.
In 2012 he was awarded an honorary CBE for his services to British music.
Leoš Janáček based his third opera on Gabriela Preissová’s eponymous drama, which in 1890 and 1892 was staged at the National Theatres in Prague and Brno amid great controversy. He did not intend to write the opera to a versed libretto, opting instead for treating a prose piece. The first-ever composer to do so, he may have been influenced to take this decision by his experience with a botchy rhymed libretto to the opera The Beginning of a Romance, but, in particular, Janáček gave preference to a prose work owing to the “principle of truth captured in the melody of speech”.
Although the first preserved speech melody he noted down only dates from 1897, there is no doubt that he had observed the musical element of human speech earlier, in connection with his intense interest in folk songs. Janáček considered human speech to be a “window into people’s souls”, and was of the opinion that speech melody expressed an individual’s nature and momentary state of mind. Speech melodies and exploration of traditional songs thus led Janáček to a new creative path that, together with the prose conception of Jenůfa, played a decisive role in the work’s musical and dramatic novelty.
Janáček penned the opera’s prose libretto himself, and in doing so he abridged the text of Preissová’s play. He began working on it in 1894, by the end of which he had also composed the symphonic piece Jealousy, which he originally intended as the overture to Jenůfa. It took Janáček almost nine years to complete Jenůfa.In 1897, he finished Act 1; in 1901–1902, he worked on Act 2. The first version of the final Act was created by 26 February 1903, at a very difficult time for him, with his beloved daughter Olga dying at the age of 21. The work is dedicated to her.
Janáček wanted the opera to be premiered by the National Theatre in Prague, which, however, rejected it, as it did not deem it appropriate to be performed on the prime Czech stage. Hence, the first night took place in Brno, on 21 January 1904, at the Theatre in Veveří street, conducted by Janáček’s pupil Cyril Metoděj Hrazdira to great acclaim. None the less, Janáček kept striving to have the work performed in Prague – not only owing to the National Theatre being the major Czech opera stage, but also because the poor conditions of the provincial theatre in Brno had not proved satisfactory for the staging of his innovative piece. Yet the National Theatre in Prague continued to reject the opera, even though in 1907 Janáček had revised it and in 1908 the Friends of Art Club had published its piano reduction. Only in 1915 did the theatre’s management and the conductor Karel Kovařovic agree to stage Jenůfa. With Janáček’s consent, Kovařovic carried out a few retouches and changes, particularly as regards the instrumentation, and he himself undertook the musical preparation and conducting.
Following the triumphant Prague premiere, on 26 May 1916, Janáček finally gained recognition in Bohemia and would soon garner acclaim abroad too. The opera intrigued the Prague-based writer Max Brod, who drew Vienna’s Universal Edition’s attention to Jenůfa and translated the libretto into German. Within a short time, the Hofoper in Vienna showed an interest in the piece. Its premiere in Vienna, in 1918, too was a resounding success and opened for Janáček’s opera the road to the world. Other foreign productions of Jenůfa soon ensued – during Janáček’s lifetime, it was staged in Zagreb (1920), Berlin (1924), at the Metropolitan Opera in New York (1924), in Basel (1925), Antwerp (1927), and Helsinki (1928). Today, Jenůfa ranks among the most frequently performed 20th-century operas.
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