FOK & Alexander Vedernikov
Date of EventTuesday, 28. 5. 2019 from 20.00
Expected end of the concert 21.50
Event placeMunicipal House – Smetana Hall
Price300 - 900 CZK
- Jean Sibelius: Violin Concerto in D minor Op. 47
- Sergei Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky Op. 78 (cantata for mezzo-soprano, choir and orchestra)
- Prague Symphony Orchestra
- Alexander Vedernikov - conductor
- Emmanuel Tjeknavorian - violin
- Lucie Hilscherová - mezzo-soprano
- Prague Philharmonic Choir
- Jaroslav Brych - choirmaster
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Hearing Prokofiev’s cantata Alexander Nevsky is an electrifying experience.
Its suggestive quality and dramatic spirit are timeless. The work also demonstrates the superlative standard of film music eighty years ago. The piece will be performed by one of the most sought-after conductors of Russian music, Alexander Vedernikov.
One of Vedernikov’s exceptional achievements in recent years is the role he played in reviving the lustre and glory of the Bolshoi Theatre in his native Moscow, where he was Music Director and Chief Conductor in the years 2001–2009. He collaborates with celebrated opera houses all over Europe, he was involved in productions staged by New York’s Metropolitan Opera, and he is invited to appear at leading opera festivals. This season he assumed the post of Chief Conductor of the Royal Danish Opera. “… Vedernikov inspired the musicians to discover their inner savage, propelling the most explosive sections with an elemental thrust. At the same time, in all that heat Vedernikov still balanced and shaped textures and phrases with a manicurist’s precision,” wrote The Times in 2013 in a piece about his performance of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring with the BBC Symphony, an orchestra the Russian conductor works with closely.
The prominent solo part in Prokofiev’s cantata will be entrusted to Czech mezzo-soprano Lucie Hilscherová. “Due to the extensive cast involved in its performance, this profound and expressive work isn’t staged very often, which is why performing the solo is something many mezzo-sopranos secretly dream of doing,” says Hilscherová, who is a laureate of various singing competitions – Cantilena Bayreuth, Musica Sacra in Rome, and the Antonín Dvořák International Singing Competition in Karlovy Vary. Next year sees her participating in Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass under Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
As an excerpt from an interview for The Guardian tells us, Vedernikov also has a close affinity with the music of Sibelius, whose violin concerto is programmed for the first half of this concert. “I’m familiar with the Nordic connection from my travels across the flat, wintry plains between Moscow and St Petersburg. You can feel that atmosphere in his music. You know, everything up here is a little bit pale, the summer time is not that long, there are no dramatic colours, and everything is muted. And northern nature is a little bit sad, a little melancholic. It’s these kinds of subtle colours that Sibelius caught in a very exciting way.”
The soloist will be Austrian violinist of Armenian descent Emmanuel Tjeknavorian, who attracted the world’s attention in 2015 when he came second and won the award for the best performance of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto at the International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition in Helsinki. He was only twenty at the time and it was a phenomenal success on his part. Music critics praise his crystal clear intonation and his expressivity. The daily Süddeutsche Zeitung fittingly characterised Tjeknavorian’s performance (January 2018), stating that he possessed a “virtuoso elegance, rhythmic charm and an unusual sense of the variety of colours”. This young violinist can already boast concert appearances with leading orchestras such as Camerata Salzburg, the Vienna Philharmonic, Bruckner Orchester Linz, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Munich Chamber Orchestra. He was selected as an ECHO (European Concert Hall Organisation) Rising Star, a role that involves performances in a series of major concert venues, Vienna’s Konzerthaus chose him for their Great Talent funding programme, and he was also presented in the Berlin Philharmonic’s debut series. Tjeknavorian plays on a rare instrument crafted by Antonio Stradivari from 1698.