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Czech Philharmonic • Special Christmas Concerts

For our Christmas Concert, we have prepared a pre-Christmas gift for our listeners in the form of one of the most beautiful compositions in the entire history of sacred music.

Duration of the programme 1 hour 50 minutes


Joseph Haydn
The Creation, oratorio for soloists, choir, and orchestra, Hob. XXI:2 (109')


Marta Reichelová soprano
Petr Nekoranec tenor
Jozef Benci bass

Prague Philharmonic Choir
Lukáš Vasilek choirmaster

Petr Altrichter conductor

Photo illustrating the event Czech Philharmonic • Special Christmas Concerts

Rudolfinum — Dvořák Hall

Price from 100 to 1000 Kč Tickets and contact information

Reservation of seats for current subscribers:
until 3 June 2024, 20.00
Sale of individual tickets for subscription concerts:
from 10 June 2024, 10.00
Ticket sales for all public dress rehearsals:
from 11 September 2024, 10.00

Customer Service of Czech Philharmonic

Tel.: +420 227 059 227

Customer service is available on weekdays from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm.


For our Christmas Concert, we have prepared a pre-Christmas gift for our listeners in the form of one of the most beautiful compositions in the entire history of sacred music. Haydn was inspired to compose The Creation during his visit to London, where he heard Handel’s oratorio Israel in Egypt performed at Westminster Abbey by over a thousand musicians. Haydn was so struck by the beautiful, monumental sound that he decided on the spot to write a work of similar beauty celebrating the human spirit.

Johann Peter Salomon brought Haydn a libretto in English titled The Creation, which was originally supposed to have been used by Handel. The text quotes from Genesis, Milton’s Paradise Lost, and the Book of Psalms. The imperial librarian in Vienna, Gottfried van Swieten, translated the text into German, so Haydn was soon able to start working on it.

The Viennese nobility attended the first performance at the Schwarzenberg Palace on 29 April 1798. At the concert, which Haydn conducted, the composer felt “a chill run down his spine”. The public première a year later at the Burgtheater was the greatest triumph of Haydn’s career. The public showered their praise for Haydn with shouts of “Long live music!” Berlioz’s later criticism now tends to evoke a smile: “I have always felt a profound antipathy for this work. […] Its lowing oxen, its buzzing insects, its light in C major which dazzles one like a Carcel lamp […] they make me want to murder somebody.”


Marta Reichelová  soprano

Marta Reichelová was born in Jeseník. She graduated from the Janáček Conservatory in Ostrava and the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno, where she continues her post-gradual studies. While still a student, she guest performed at the Jiří Myron Theater in Ostrava (Emmerich Kalmán: The Countess Maritza – Lisa), the Silesian Theater in Opava (Engelbert Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel– Hansel) and the Josef Kajetán Tyl Theater in Pilsen (Bohuslav Martinů: The Soldier and the Dancer – Fenicie the dancer).

In 2013 Marta Reichelová began to appear as a guest at the National Theater in Brno. She made her debut as Daphne, the leading role of the eponymous opera by contemporary composers Tomáš Hanzlík and Vít Zouhar, and the First Nymph in Rusalka by Antonín Dvořák. In the same year she was engaged as a regular solo singer of the opera ensemble of the National Theater in Brno. Her repertory includes the Cunning Little Vixen (Leoš Janáček: The Cunning Little Vixen), the Maid (Thomas Adés: Powder Her Face), Zerlina (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Don Giovanni), Penelopka (Marko Ivanović: Enchantia), Barče (Bedřich Smetana: The Kiss) and Esmeralda (Bedřich Smetana: The Bartered Bride).

In autumn 2015 she made her debut at the National Theater in Prague as the Cook (Igor Stravinsky: The Nightingale) and Brigitta (Pyotr Tchaikovsky: Iolanta). It was followed by her debut at the Antonín Dvořák Theater Theater in Ostrava in the role of Ophelia (Ambroise Thomas: Hamlet). She attracted attention with her interpretation of Jano in a concert performance of Leoš Janáček’s Jenůfa with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jiří Bělohlávek in the Rudolfinum (Prague) and at the South Bank Center (London), broadcast live on BBC.

Marta Reichelová is a prize-winner of the Antonín Dvořák International Singing Competition in Karlovy Vary and the Jakub Pustina International Singing Competition and a semi-finalist of the Hans Gabor Belveder Competition.

She has collaborated with conductors such as Latham König, Rastislav Štúr, Jaroslav Kyzlink, Jakub Klecker, Tomáš Brauner, David Švec and Marko Ivanović and orchestras such as the Czech Philharmonic, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Brno Philharmonic Orchestra and Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra of Ostrava.

Petr Nekoranec  tenor

Petr Nekoranec

In the 2022/2023 season, Petr Nekoranec appeared in October 2022 in Florence as Oronte in Handel’s Alcina, opposite Cecilia Bartoli in the title role; in November he performed along with Diana Damrau at the concert Iain Bell and Bel Canto in Prague. In March 2023, he made his debut as Pylade in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride at the Opéra national de Lorraine in Nancy. He returned to the National Theatre in Brno as Tamino (Die Zauberflöte). At the National Theatre in Prague, where he is currently engaged as a soloist, he extended his repertoire, encompassing Almaviva (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Tamino and Ferrando (Così fan tutte), with another two parts: Romeo (Roméo et Juliette) and Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni).

The opera highlights of the 2021/2022 season included performances of Asprando (Nicola Antonio Porpora: Carlo il Calvo) within the Bayreuth Baroque Festival; debuting as Almaviva (October 2021), Tamino (December 2021) and Ferrando (January 2022) at the National Theatre in Prague; appearing as Yurodivy (Boris Godunov) at the Staatsoper Stuttgart, Tamino at the National Theatre in Brno and Almaviva at the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse. In July 2021, he and the pianist William Kelley premiered at the Bach Festival in Świdnica, Poland, the monodrama Comfort Starving by the British composer Iain Bell, with whom Petr closely collaborates.

From 2018 to 2020, Petr Nekoranec was a soloist of the Staatsoper Stuttgart, where he portrayed Almaviva (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Ramiro (La Cenerentola) and Ernesto (Don Pasquale). Between 2016 and 2018, he was the first Czech to participate in the prestigious Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. From 2014 to 2016, he was a member of the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich and its Opera Studio, where his repertoire included the title roles in Le comte Ory and Albert Herring, the latter of which earned him the Bavarian Art Prize (2016). In January 2018, he received the Classic Prague Award in the “Talent of the Year 2017” category. In the autumn of 2019, Supraphon released his profile album French Arias (made with the Czech Philharmonic, conducted by Christopher Franklin). Since the 2021/2022 season, he has been a soloist of the National Theatre Opera in Prague. 

Petr Nekoranec has garnered numerous accolades. In October 2021, he won second prize at the Vincerò World Opera Competition in Naples; in January 2017, he became overall winner of the Concurso Tenor Viñas at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, where he also received the Plácido Domingo Award. In August 2015, he advanced to the semi-final of the Queen Sonja International Singing Competition in Oslo. In July 2014, he came first at the Ljuba Welitsch International Vocal Competition in Vienna, and in September of that year, he won second prize at the Concours International de Chant in Toulouse. When it comes to his native Czech Republic, he received second prize at the 2013 Antonín Dvořák International Vocal Competition in Karlovy Vary.

Petr Nekoranec studied at the Pardubice Conservatory, under the tutelage of Jarmila Chaloupková. He has further honed his skills with the Italian tenor and vocal coach Antonio Carangelo.

Jozef Benci  bass

Jozef Benci

Jozef Benci is a distinguished opera and oratorio performer. A graduate of the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava and the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno, he is a soloist of the Slovak National Theatre and Prague’s National Theatre, and has frequently been invited to appear with the Czech and Slovak Philharmonics. Milestones in his career include victory at the prestigious George Enescu International Competition in Bucharest (2001) and an acclaimed performance of a concert version of Bedřich Smetana’s opera The Bartered Bride (the role of Kecal) with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jiří Bělohlávek, at the Barbican Centre in London, a recording of which advanced to the final of the Grammy Awards, as well as collaboration with the celebrated soprano Edita Gruberová.

Besides being an accomplished performer of Classical and Romantic opera roles, he is a sought-after concert soloist. His repertoire includes Janáček (Glagolitic Mass, which he recorded with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra and Tomáš Netopil), Verdi (performances with the conductor Nello Santi) and Dvořák (this July, he sang in his Stabat Mater opposite the Czech Philharmonic; and at this year’s Dvořák Prague festival he dazzled in his Te Deum).

Prague Philharmonic Choir  

The Prague Philharmonic Choir (PPC), founded in 1935 by the choirmaster Jan Kühn, is the oldest professional mixed choir in the Czech Republic. Their current choirmaster and artistic director is Lukáš Vasilek, and the second choirmaster is Lukáš Kozubík.

The choir has earned the highest acclaim in the oratorio and cantata repertoire, performing with the world’s most famous orchestras. In this country, they collaborate regularly with the Czech Philharmonic and the Prague Philharmonia. They also perform opera as the choir-in-residence of the opera festival in Bregenz, Austria.

This season, they will appear at four choral concerts of their own, with programmes focusing mainly on difficult, lesser-known works of the choral repertoire. Again this year they will be devoting themselves to educational projects: for voice students, they are organising the Academy of Choral Singing, and for young children there is a cycle of educational concerts.

The choir has been honoured with the 2018 Classic Prague Award and the 2022 Antonín Dvořák Prize.

Lukáš Vasilek  choirmaster

Lukáš Vasilek

Lukáš Vasilek studied conducting and musicology. Since 2007, he has been the chief choirmaster of the Prague Philharmonic Choir (PPC). Most of his artistic work with the choir consists of rehearsing and performing the a cappella repertoire and preparing the choir to perform in large-scale cantatas, oratorios, and operatic projects, during which he collaborates with world-famous conductors and orchestras (such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Czech Philharmonic, the Israel Philharmonic, and the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic).

Besides leading the PPC, he also engages in other artistic activities, especially in collaboration with the vocal ensemble Martinů Voices, which he founded in 2010. As a conductor or choirmaster, his name appears on a large number of recordings that the PPC have made for important international labels (Decca Classics, Supraphon); in recent years, he has been devoting himself systematically to the recording of Bohuslav Martinů’s choral music. His recordings have received extraordinary acclaim abroad and have earned honours including awards from the prestigious journals Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, and Diapason.

Petr Altrichter  conductor

Petr Altrichter

Petr Altrichter is one of the most distinguished Czech conductors, and he has earned an illustrious reputation for the dynamism and depth of his interpretations of symphonic music. He was raised in a musical family and played musical instruments from a young age. Having graduated from the Conservatory in Ostrava as a French horn player and conductor, he continued his studies at the Janáček Academy of the Performing Arts in Brno in orchestral conducting under Otakar Trhlík and František Jílek and choral conducting with Josef Veselka and Lubomír Mátl. After completing his studies in Brno, he worked as a choirmaster and conductor with the Brno Academic Choir, and contributed to the winning of many prizes at foreign choral competitions and festivals (Middlesbrough, Debrecen…).

Altrichter attracted international attention in 1976, when he won second prize and a special prize of the jury at the renowned International Conducting Competition in Besançon, France. Based on this achievement he began to work with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra as an assistant of Václav Neumann, which started his artistic career. Not long after that, he began to receive invitations to conduct orchestras abroad. After working with the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, in 1988 he became the principal guest conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra and in 1991 he was appointed its chief conductor. With that orchestra, he made frequent foreign tours to Japan, the USA, Switzerland, Germany, France, and other countries. At the same time he also closely collaborated with the Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice, with which he often gave performances abroad introducing many gifted young soloists (such as Isabelle van Keulen and Radek Baborák).

From 1993 to 2004 he also worked as the Music Director of the Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Constance, Germany, with which he gave concerts regularly at the Tonhalle in Zurich and at the KKL in Lucerne, and also toured Switzerland and Italy. Having made his U.K. debut with the Prague Symphony Orchestra at the Edinburgh Festival in 1990, Petr Altrichter made his London debut with the English Chamber Orchestra 1993. He then conducted the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in 1994 to a great critical acclaim. He was subsequently appointed its Principal Conductor, a post he held from 1997 until 2001. With this orchestra he appeared at the 2000 BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall and made several highly-praised recordings on the orchestra’s own label, RLPO live.

In 2001 Altrichter was invited to become the Chief Conductor of the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, and he remained there for seven years, returning to the orchestra with which he had been associated since his student days and which he continues to guest conduct up to this day. He is also a regular guest of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he has maintained a steady artistic relationship since his beginnings there as an assistant conductor, and of the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he recorded an award-winning CD with Antonín Dvořák’s music. Since the 2018/2019 season, he has been a permanent guest conductor of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom he has been working for many years.

In 2015 he toured Germany with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and in late 2015 and early 2016, he toured China with the same orchestra. At the beginning of the 2017/2018 season, he conducted the Czech Philharmonic at the Dvořák Prague International Festival and later toured very successfully in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan with the same orchestra. In the spring of 2017 he toured Japan with the Prague Symphony Orchestra. In 2018 he toured the United Kingdom with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. In May 2019 he will be touring with the Czech Philharmonic in China.

Altrichter has appeared as a guest conductor with many leading international orchestras, including Japan’s NHK Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. In the United Kingdom he has collaborated with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The orchestras he has guest conducted also include the Bruckner Orchestra in Linz, the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra, the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra in Baden-Baden, the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra in Riga, the Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra, the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Danish Orchestra in Copenhagen and the Odense Symphony Orchestra.

He is a frequent guest at festivals such as Prague Spring, Janáček May in Ostrava, Smetana’s Litomyšl, Moravian Autumn in Brno, and the Bratislava Music Festival. He has made guest appearances at major festivals in Salzburg, Edinburgh, Avignon, Athens, Cheltenham, Paris, Madrid, Chicago, Zurich, Lucerne, Seville, Palermo, and elsewhere.

The bulk of Petr Altrichter’s repertoire consists of Czech music (Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák, Leoš Janáček, and Bohuslav Martinů), Russian music (especially Dmitri Shostakovich), and the works of Gustav Mahler and Anton Bruckner. Outstanding soloists and performers from around the world (Garrick Ohlsson, John Lill, Tabea Zimmermann and others) value his flexibility in leading orchestral accompaniments, and they seek out collaboration with him.

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