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Czech Philharmonic • Variations


Listeners can look forward to the overture of the opera L'anima del filosofo, ossia Orfeo ed Euridice by the Austrian composer Joseph Haydn, arias from operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Beethoven's Symphony No.5. The orchestra will be accompanied by soprano Kateřina Kněžíková and the winner of the Jiří Bělohlávek Prize, tenor Petr Nekoranec.

Programme

Joseph Haydn
L’anima del filosofo, ossia Orfeo ed Euridice, overture to the opera, Hob. XXVIII/13

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Arias from the operas Così fan tutte, K 558, Don Giovanni, K 527, and La finta giardiniera, K 196

Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67

Performers

Kateřina Kněžíková soprano
Petr Nekoranec tenor

Tomáš Netopil conductor

Czech Philharmonic

Photo illustrating the event Czech Philharmonic • Variations

Karlovy Vary — Imperial Baths

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This selection of pieces by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven can without exaggeration be called a celebration of classicism. Joseph Haydn (1732–1809) was neither the first nor the last composer to set the famous story of Orpheus and Eurydice to music. His predecessors in this regard include Claudio Monteverdi, while Jacques Offenbach did the same after him. The selection of arias from the operas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) illustrates the composer’s path towards absolute compositional mastery. While the comic opera La finta giardiniera (The Pretend Garden-Girl) is the work of an eighteen-year-old youth, Così fan tutte and Don Giovanni are some of the best of the genre and represent the culmination of the famous composer’s fruitful collaboration with his long-time librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte. Ludwig van Beethoven’s (1770–1827) fifth symphony needs no introduction. The leitmotif of the so-called Fate Symphony is the idea of the struggle of mental forces with a metaphysically understood fate full of crises and pain. The result is the search for inner harmony and peace.

Performers

Kateřina Kněžíková  soprano

Kateřina Kněžíková

Soprano Kateřina Kněžíková is one of today’s most promising singers. Besides performing opera, she is increasingly devoting herself to the concert repertoire, collaborating with such ensembles as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Bamberg Symphony, the Camerata Salzburg, or the Orchestra dellʼAccademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Her core repertoire consists of works by Dvořák, Martinů, and Janáček and the song repertoire. She is a laureate of several vocal competitions and was honoured at the 2018 Classic Prague Awards for the best chamber music performance. She earned a Thalia Award for her outstanding performance in Julietta (Martinů) on the stage of the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre.

In 2006 she became a full-time opera ensemble member at the National Theatre, where she is now appearing in many productions including Rusalka, Così fan tutte, Carmen, The Magic Flute, The Bartered Bride, and The Jacobin. Nonetheless, she sees one of her greatest successes as having been the title role in Káťa Kabanová at the Glyndebourne Opera Festival in 2021. 

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.

Tomáš Netopil  conductor

Tomáš Netopil

Since the 2018/2019 season, Tomáš Netopil has been the Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, with which he regularly prepares concert programmes at the Rudolfinum and on tours. The 2022/2023 season was his tenth and final as General Music Director of the Aalto Theater and Philharmonic in Essen, Germany. From the 2025/2026 season, he will take up the post of chief conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra. 

In 2018, Tomáš Netopil created the International Summer Music Academy in Kroměříž, offering students exceptional artistic instruction and the chance to meet and work with major international musicians. In the summer of 2021, in association with the Dvořákova Praha Festival, the Academy established the Dvořák Prague Youth Philharmonic with musicians from conservatories and music academies, coached by principal players of the Czech Philharmonic.

As evidenced by his engagement in Essen, Tomáš Netopil is a sought-after opera conductor. From 2008 to 2012, he was the music director of the Opera of the National Theatre in Prague. Operatic highlights beyond Essen include the Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden (La clemenza di Tito, Rusalka, The Cunning Little Vixen, La Juive, The Bartered Bride, and Busoni’s Doktor Faust), the Vienna Staatsoper (his most recent successes include Idomeneo, Der Freischütz, and a new production of Leonore), and the Netherlands Opera (Jenůfa). His concert highlights of recent seasons have included the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich as well as engagements with the Orchestre de Paris, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Orchestra Sinfonica della Rai, the Orchestre National de Montpellier, and Concentus Musicus Wien.

Tomáš Netopil’s discography for Supraphon includes Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass (the first-ever recording of the original 1927 version), Dvořák’s complete cello works, Martinů’s Ariane and Double Concerto, and Smetana’s Má vlast with the Prague Symphony Orchestra. During his tenure in Essen, he has recorded Suk’s Asrael and Mahler’s Symphonies Nos. 6 and 9.

He studied violin and conducting in his native Czech Republic and at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm under the guidance of Professor Jorma Panula. In 2002 he won the inaugural Sir Georg Solti Conductors Competition at the Alte Oper Frankfurt. In his spare time, he likes to fly small planes.

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