Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Schon lacht der holde Frühling, aria for soprano and orchestra, KV 580
Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben, aria from the opera Zaide, K 336b/344
INTERVAL – 20ʼ
Suite No. 2 from Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64ter (selection)
Suite No. 1 from Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64bis
Zdislava Bočková studied at the Brno Conservatory in the class of Jarmila Janíčková and at the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno under Natalia Romanova-Achaladze. She attended master classes with renowned singers such as Edda Moser, Edith Lienbacher, Angelika Kirchschlager, Luciana D’Intino and Claudio Desderi.
She is a prizewinner of a number of international competitions, such as Antonín Dvořák International Singing Competition in Karlovy Vary; Bohuslav Martinů Foundation Competition and the Performing Competition of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in Prague; Il Trofeo La Fenice, Premio Boni and Comunità Europea per Giovani Cantanti Lirici in Italy; Otto Edelmann International Singing Competition in Vienna; and a semifinalist of the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Latvia.
In the chamber opera of the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts at the Orlí Street Theater she performed the roles of Esmeralda (The Bartered Bride by Bedřich Smetana), Euridice (Orfeo ed Euridice by C. W. Gluck), Zerlina (Don Giovanni by W. A. Mozart) and Sharp-Ears (The Cunning Little Vixen by Leoš Janáček) within the 4th International Janáček Festival in Brno.
In the 2017/2018 season she became a member of the opera studio of the Teatro Lirico Sperimentale in Spoleto, Italy, where she appeared as Dorina (LʼImpressario delle Canarie by Domenico Sarri), Frasquita (Carmen by Georges Bizet), Clorinda (La Cenerentola by Gioachino Rossini) and Violetta (La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi). At age twenty-six, she also debuted in Teatro La Fenice in Venice as Olga (Die Lustige Witwe by Franz Lehár).
Since 2018, she has been a guest soloist at the National Theater in Brno, where she performs in operas for children as Princess (Puss in Boots by Jiří Teml), Esmeralda (The Bartered Bride by Bedřich Smetana) and Pepík/Grasshopper child in Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen.
She regularly performs at prestigious festivals such as Smetana’s Litomyšl, Janáček Brno, Janáček Ostrava, Bohuslav Martinů Days in Prague, iSING International Young Artist Festival and Youth Arts Festival in China, Rassegna Internazionale di Musica Sacra, Festival dei Due Mondi and Festival delle Nazioni in Italy.
Truls Mørk’s compelling performances, combining fierce intensity, integrity and grace, have established him as one of the most pre-eminent cellists of our time. He has appeared with orchestras including the Orchestre de Paris, Berliner Philharmoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia and Cleveland orchestras amongst others. Conductor collaborations include Myung-Whun Chung, Mariss Jansons, Manfred Honeck, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Gustavo Dudamel, Sir Simon Rattle, Kent Nagano, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and Christoph Eschenbach.
Truls Mørk continues to give regular recitals at major venues and festivals throughout the world. As part of the 2011 Bergen International Festival he performed the complete Beethoven Cello Sonatas over two evenings, together with the Variations for cello and piano – last presented at the Festival in this format by Jacqueline du Pré in 1970. Truls Mørk is a committed performer of contemporary music and in spring 2012 gave the UK premiere of Rautavaara’s Towards the Horizon with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Other premieres have included Pavel Haas’ Cello Concerto with the Wiener Philharmoniker (under Jonathan Nott), Krzysztof Pendereckiʼs Concerto for Three Cellos with the NHK Symphony Orchestra (Charles Dutoit) and Haflidi Hallgrimsson’s Cello Concerto, co-commissioned by the Oslo Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony and Scottish Chamber orchestras.
Rautavaara’s Towards the Horizon was recorded for Ondine with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under John Storgårds and nominated for a Grammy Award. Mørk’s recording of the highly acclaimed Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Cello Concerti disc for Virgin Classics with Les Violons du Roy under Bernard Labadie was awarded a 2011 ECHO Klassik Award. Other recordings include the Brahms Double Concerto with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and Riccardo Chailly and Vadim Repin on Deutsche Grammophon, and Haflidi Hallgrímssonʼs works for cello and orchestra for Ondine. For Virgin Classics, amongst others he has also recorded Schumannʼs Cello Concerto with Paavo Järvi and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the complete Bach Cello Suites as well as the Britten Cello Suites, which won a Grammy Award in 2002. His recordings also include the Shostakovich Concertos with the Oslo Philharmonic and Vasily Petrenko, works for cello and orchestra by Massenet with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the Saint-Saëns Concertos together with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, both under baton of Neeme Järvi.
During the 2018/19 season engagements will include the San Francisco Symphony, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Bayerisches Staatsoper, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich. Following his appearance at the 2018 Baltic Sea Festival performing Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Cello Concerto (2016), also conducted by the composer, Truls Mørk will play the work again with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Salonen in London, and on tour to the US including the Lincoln Center in New York and CAL Performances in Berkeley. He continues to give regular recitals at major venues and festivals throughout the world. He has recently developed a collaboration with Behzod Abduraimov which will see them perform on tour in the US and Europe.
Initially taught by his father, Truls Mørk continued his studies with Frans Helmerson, Heinrich Schiff and Natalia Schakowskaya. His numerous awards include the Norwegian Critics’ Prize in 2011 and the 2010 Sibelius Prize. Truls Mørk holds a Professorship at the Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo. Truls Mørk plays on the rare 1723 Domenico Montagnana ‘Esquire’. It was bought by a bank in Norway (SR Bank), and is on loan to him.
Born in 1989, Ben Gernon first attracted international attention in 2013 when he won the Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductor’s Award after a unanimous vote by the jury led by Ingo Metzmacher. Gernon is praised repeatedly for his effortless authority on the podium, his drive and command of the orchestra and his incisive, heart-felt and evocative interpretations, and has quickly earned himself a reputation as one of the finest and most exciting young conductors working today both in the concert hall and more recently in the opera house. Working now with some of the world’s major orchestras, Gernon takes up his position of Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in the 2017/2018 season, one of the youngest conductors to have held a titled position with a BBC orchestra.
In the 2018/2019 season, Gernon’s engagements include concerts in London and Dubai with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, concerts across the UK and on tour to Bucharest with the BBC Philharmonic. He returns to the Czech Philharmonic for his third visit, and to the Swedish Radio Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony orchestras and Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse and he makes his debut with the Swedish Chamber, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Warsaw Philharmonic orchestras.
Gernon is a regular guest conductor with most of the UK’s orchestras, including the Philharmonia, City of Birmingham Symphony and BBC Symphony orchestras and has conducted twice at the BBC Proms, including on the occasion of Sir Peter Maxwell Daviesʼs 80th birthday. Highlights of his 2016/2017 season in Europe included debuts with the Vienna Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Symphony orchestras. In the US Gernon made his debut with the Chicago Symphony at Ravinia and returned to the LA Philharmonic to make his debut at the Hollywood Bowl following his season as Dudamel Fellow in 2013/2014, and in the summer of 2017 he made his debut with the Houston Symphony Orchestra.
A keen opera conductor, Gernon made his debut in 2016/2017 with Glyndebourne Touring Opera conducting Don Giovanni and returns in 2017/2018 for a production of Barber of Seville. In spring 2017 he made his debut at Stuttgart Opera conducting The Marriage of Figaro and in August 2017, at Royal Swedish Opera with The Magic Flute. Previous productions have included a specially-crafted arrangement of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail with the Young Singers Academy at the Salzburg Festival, and looking further ahead he will make his debut at London’s Coliseum with English National Opera in 2018/2019.
Ben Gernon studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Sian Edwards, with whom he still works closely, and with Sir Colin Davis, who was a profoundly influential figure in Gernon’s musical development.
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
Mozart was born into a musical family – his father Leopold taught him the musical fundamentals. From an early age, he and his sister travelled around parts of Europe on a number of concert tours. The talented Mozart played violin and harpsichord superbly, and he began writing his first compositions. At the time, he wrote mainly symphonies and sonatas, which appeared in print immediately, then in the late 1760s he began writing his first works for the stage. During the 1770s he composed more than 100 serenades, divertimentos, string quartets, and violin concertos. Although his operas enjoyed some success, he did not obtain a permanent position, and he made a living as a concert artist and teacher. The masterpieces of Mozart’s mature period include symphonies (Haffner, Linz, Prague, Jupiter) and his greatest operas (Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute etc.).
Mozart composed the aria for soprano and orchestra Schon lacht der holde Frühling (See how fair spring is laughing), KV 580, in Vienna on 17 September 1789. He conceived it as a supplement for a German performance of the opera The Barber of Seville by Giovanni Paisiello, but the opera production was never realised, so the aria remained unfinished.
The aria Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben (Rest gently, love of my life) is from Mozart’s unfinished opera Zaide, K 336b/344, which he wrote in Salzburg in 1779/80. Mozart expressed the love between the slave Gomatz and the sultan’s favourite Zaide with a lovely, affable melody. The aria has become a popular number for performing on concert programmes separately from the opera.
The Finnish composer and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen studied French horn, composition, and conducting at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. His activity as a conductor of major orchestras began in 1979 with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. From 1985 to 1994 he was the chief guest conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, where he has been serving as the chief conductor and artistic director since 2008. For nearly two decades (1992–2009) he was the chief conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and in 2020 he will become the music director of the San Francisco Symphony.
Salonen is also a recognised composer whose works enjoy the interest of leading orchestras and important concert presenters. His Cello Concerto was premiered in the spring of 2017 by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the American cellist Yo-Yo Ma. The composition for cello and large orchestra in the traditional three-movement layout draws on the composer’s thirty years of experience and on earlier works for solo cello.
The Russian composer, pianist, and conductor studied at the conservatoire in Saint Petersburg from 1904 to 1914. He introduced himself to the public as a pianist and composer on evenings of contemporary music at which he performed his own provocative compositions. From 1913 to 1915 he and his mother travelled around Europe and overseas, and he became acquainted with Serge Diaghilev. After the Russian Revolution, he departed for the USA, but because his music met with incomprehension there, he soon left for Paris. His travels lasted for fifteen years, but ultimately he returned to the Soviet Union.
In Prokofiev’s oeuvre, there are several outstanding operas (Love for Three Oranges, The Fiery Angel, War and Peace) and ballets (Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, The Stone Flower), and his film music is also noteworthy, especially the music for Eisenstein’s film Ivan the Terrible. He received public acclaim for his seven symphonies, his piano and violin concertos, and his works for voice and orchestra (Peter and the Wolf, Alexander Nevsky). Romeo and Juliet (1935–1936), a ballet in three acts, was premiered in Brno, Czechoslovakia in 1938 because of a complicated set of circumstances. In 1936, the composer created two orchestral suites from the ballet – this evening we will be hearing a selection from Suite No. 2, Op. 64ter and the complete Suite No. 1, Op. 64bis. Thanks to Prokofiev’s ability to create sharply contrasting passages expressing human feelings and depicting individual characters, this work is one of the highlights of music of the twentieth century.
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