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Czech Philharmonic • London
The Czech Philharmonic will end its magnificent spring tour of European cities in London. The orchestra under the baton of Chief Conductor and Music Director Semyon Bychkov will perform Dvořák's English Symphony. Then, the City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus will join the orchestra. They will close the tour with Janáček's Glagolitic Mass.
Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88 "English" (34')
— Intermission —
Glagolitic Mass (40')
Evelina Dobračeva soprano
Lucie Hilscherová alto
Aleš Briscein tenor
Boris Prýgl bass
City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus
Simon Halsey choirmaster
Semyon Bychkov conductor
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
“This was a testament not only to Mahler, but also to Mr. Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic... this was a moving and intelligent reading of the Resurrection, dramatic in the opening and finale, sweet and playful in the inner movements, and sublime in the setting of Urlicht...”
The New York Times
Semyon Bychkov's tenure as Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Czech Philharmonic was initiated with concerts in Prague, London, New York and Washington marking the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovak independence in 2018. Since the culmination of The Tchaikovsky Project in 2019 – a 7-CD box set released by Decca Classics and a series of international residencies – Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic have been focusing on the symphonic works of Mahler with performances and recordings scheduled both at home and abroad.
During the 2021/22 season, Mahler’s First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Seventh Symphonies will all be heard internationally including on tour at the Grafenegg Festival in Austria during the summer. The Czech Philharmonic’s 126th season’s subscription concerts in October will open with Mahler’s Ninth Symphony. In the spring, a Czech Festival at Vienna’s Musikverein featuring Smetana’s Má vlast – recorded by Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic during lockdown - alongside works by Kabeláč, Dvořák, Martinů and Janáček will be followed by an extensive European tour including concerts at the Philharmonie in Berlin, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie and two concerts at London’s Barbican Centre.
Especially recognised for his interpretations of the core repertoire, Bychkov has also worked closely with many extraordinary contemporary composers including Luciano Berio, Henri Dutilleux and Maurizio Kagel. In recent seasons he has collaborated with René Staar, Thomas Larcher, Richard Dubignon, Detlev Glanert and Julian Anderson, conducting premières of their works with the Vienna Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw and the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms. Highlights of the new season include the German première of Larcher’s Piano Concerto with dedicatee Kirill Gerstein in Berlin, the Czech première of Bryce Dessner’s Mari and the world première of Anderson’s Prague Panoramas, also presented in Prague. The three new works are amongst fourteen commissions initiated by Bychkov at the start of his tenure with the Czech Philharmonic.
In common with the Czech Philharmonic, Bychkov has one foot firmly in the culture of the East and the other in the West. Born in St Petersburg in 1952, Bychkov emigrated to the United States in 1975 and has lived in Europe since the mid-1980's. Singled out for an extraordinarily privileged musical education from the age of 5, Bychkov studied piano before winning his place at the Glinka Choir School where, aged 13, he received his first lesson in conducting. He was 17 when he was accepted at the Leningrad Conservatory to study with the legendary Ilya Musin and, within three years had won the influential Rachmaninov Conducting Competition. Denied the prize of conducting the Leningrad Philharmonic, Bychkov left the former Soviet Union.
By the time Bychkov returned to St Petersburg in 1989 as the Philharmonic’s Principal Guest Conductor, he had enjoyed success in the US as Music Director of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic. His international career, which began in France with Opéra de Lyon and at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, took off with a series of high-profile cancellations which resulted in invitations to conduct the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestras. In 1989, he was named Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris; in 1997, Chief Conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne; and the following year, Chief Conductor of the Dresden Semperoper.
Bychkov’s symphonic and operatic repertoire is wide-ranging. He conducts in all the major houses including La Scala, Opéra national de Paris, Dresden Semperoper, Wiener Staatsoper, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and Teatro Real. Madrid. While Principal Guest Conductor of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, his productions of Janáček’s Jenůfa, Schubert’s Fierrabras, Puccini’s La bohème, Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov each won the prestigious Premio Abbiati. New productions in Vienna included Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier and Daphne, Wagner’s Lohengrin and Parsifal, and Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina; while in London, he made his debut with a new production of Strauss’ Elektra, and subsequently conducted new productions of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten and Wagner’s Tannhäuser. Recent productions include Wagner’s Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival and Strauss’s Elektra at the Wiener Staatsoper.
On the concert platform, the combination of innate musicality and rigorous Russian pedagogy has ensured that Bychkov’s performances are highly anticipated. In the UK, in addition to regular performances with the London Symphony Orchestra, his honorary titles at the Royal Academy of Music and the BBC Symphony Orchestra - with whom he appears annually at the BBC Proms – reflect the warmth of the relationships. In Europe, he tours frequently with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Munich Philharmonic, as well as being a frequent guest of the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Orchestre National de France and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia; in the US, he can be heard with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Symphony, Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras. This season, in addition to extensive concert commitments with the Czech Philharmonic, Bychkov's guest conducting engagements include further performances of Mahler’s symphonies with the Orchestre de Paris, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Berlin, Oslo and LA Philharmonic Orchestras, and Strauss’s Elektra at the Opéra national de Paris.
Bychkov made extensive recordings for Philips with the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio, Royal Concertgebouw, Philharmonia, London Philharmonic and Orchestre de Paris. Later, his 13-year collaboration (1997-2010) with WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne produced a series of benchmark recordings that included works by Strauss (Elektra, Daphne, Ein Heldenleben, Metamorphosen, Alpensinfonie, Till Eulenspiegel), Mahler (Symphony No. 3, Das Lied von der Erde), Shostakovich (Symphony Nos. 4, 7, 8, 10, 11), Rachmaninov (The Bells, Symphonic Dances, Symphony No. 2), Verdi (Requiem), a complete cycle of Brahms Symphonies, and works by Detlev Glanert and York Höller. His recording of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin was recommended by BBC’s Radio 3’s Building a Library (2020); Wagner’s Lohengrin was BBC Music Magazine’s Record of the Year (2010); and Schmidt’s Symphony No. 2 with the Vienna
Philharmonic was BBC Music Magazine’s Record of the Month (2018).
In 2015, Semyon Bychkov was named Conductor of the Year by the International Opera Awards.