Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia – Roma Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia – Roma Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia – Roma
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Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia – Roma

Date of Event

Friday, 17. 5. 2019 from 20.00
Expected end of the concert 22.00


700 - 4 400 CZK Sold out


  • Modest Petrovič Musorgskij: Night on the Bare Mountain
  • Béla Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 1
  • Nikolaj Rimskij-Korsakov: Scheherazade op. 35


  • Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia – Roma
  • Sir Antonio Pappano - conductor
  • Lisa Batiashvili - violin

Inner passion

When this, Italy’s best known orchestra performed to Czech audiences for the very first time at the Prague Spring in 2015 (although it is affiliated to one of the oldest musical institutions in the world, with a history dating back to 1585), both the critics and the public were enchanted. Few orchestras are as capable of effortlessly combining inner passion with flawless unity of sound, perfectly rendered down to the smallest detail. “Pappano and his orchestra draw out the tiniest of nuances in all the harmonies and in every note. Thus their pianissimos are the softest imaginable, yet well-rounded, and their fortissimos roar, but don’t blare out,” a critic for Hudební rozhledy wrote at the time.

A series of illustrious figures successively took their place on the conductor’s rostrum – Gustav Mahler, Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky, Paul Hindemith, Arturo Toscanini, Herbert von Karajan and others. Leonard Bernstein was Honorary President from 1983 to 1990. Since the arrival of Sir Antonio Pappano in 2005 this Rome-based orchestra has enjoyed huge international success and, as the first Italian ensemble to receive this honour, was classified among the top ten orchestras in the world by Classic FM magazine.

Charismatic Sir Antonio Pappano assumed the position of Music Director of one of the world’s most famous opera houses, London’s Royal Opera, Covent Garden, in 2002. An excerpt from a review printed in the British newspaper The Times describing Pappano’s performance of The Mastersingers of Nuremberg (2017) gives us the clearest idea of the kind of status this conductor commands: “The best thing about this show was his superlative conducting […] After five hours and some, I wanted to hear it all again.” Pappano makes regular guest appearances with some of the world’s finest symphony orchestras, including the New York and Berlin Philharmonics, the Royal Concertgebouw and the London Symphony Orchestra, and in the role of pianist he has accompanied leading opera stars during their recital performances. His extensive discography comprises the live recording Joyce & Tony (Erato), featuring singer Joyce DiDonato, which won a Grammy two years ago. In 2012 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, and Italy’s president conferred upon him the country’s second highest distinction, the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.

Georgian violinist Lisa Batiashvili is a rare star on the classical music stage. Her first success occurred at the International Sibelius Competition in Helsinki when, at the age of sixteen, and as the youngest participant in the history of this competition, she was awarded second prize. Since that time she has continued to forge out her own, distinctive path. Her soaring career has not thrown her off balance in any way: it was only at the age of twenty-eight that she signed a recording contract and, avoiding the glare of publicity, she focused on her family instead. She married French oboist François Leleux, with whom she has two children and, since then, she has endeavoured to balance her professional and private life, aiming to perform no more than fifty concerts each season. She is spontaneous, energetic and open in her views. In 2014, at a concert with Valery Gergiev, in protest against the political situation in Crimea and in response to Gergiev’s support for the Russian president, she chose for her encore the solo piece Requiem for Ukraine, which she had previously commissioned from Georgian composer Igor Loboda. The list of orchestras and conductors with whom she regularly performs reflects all the major names. She was Artist-in-Residence of the New York Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Bamberg Symphony, and last season she was appointed Artist-in-Residence of the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia – Roma. This year, in addition to a tour with this orchestra, she will be appearing in concert with the Israel Philharmonic, the Munich Philharmonic under Semyon Bychkov, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Jakub Hrůša, Orchestre de Paris and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She plays on a Giuseppe Guarneri “del Gesù” instrument from 1739, loaned to her by a private collector.

Programme note

Subterranean sounds of supernatural voices. Appearance of the spirits of darkness, followed by that of Chornobog (Satan) himself. Glorification of Chornobog and celebration of the Black Mass. The Sabbath revels. At the height of the orgies, the bell of the village church, sounding in the distance, disperses the spirits of darkness. Daybreak.” These are the words Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky used to describe the programme of his symphonic poem Night on the Bare Mountain, which he wrote in 1867 in a matter of days. The work presents a unique picture of the artistic fantasy and musical imagination of its creator.

In 1907 Béla Bartók dedicated his Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 1 to a young friend from his school days, the violinist Stefi Geyer, as proof of his great love for her. Geyer, however, did not return his feelings, and when he asked her to marry him, she cut off all contact with him. In answer to her final letter, Bartók wrote: “I finished the score of the violin concerto on the 5th of February, the very day you were writing my death sentence… I locked it in my desk, I don’t know whether to destroy it or to keep it locked away until it is found after I die and the whole pile of papers, my declaration of love, your concerto, my best work are thrown out.” Bartók nevertheless sent Stefi the manuscript of the concerto in the end and, on the title page, he inscribed a line of poetry by Béla Balász as an expression of farewell: “No two stars are as far apart as two human souls.” Stefi Geyer never performed Bartók’s concerto in public and she never allowed the work to be published during her lifetime; it was only after her death that it was discovered, receiving its premiere in Basel in 1958. The concerto enjoyed great popularity thanks to performances by the legendary David Oistrakh and by Maxim Vengerov. It seems incredible that this poignant testimony of Bartók’s ill-fated love now returns to the Prague Spring after a period of almost forty years!

The final work on the programme for this concert, on the other hand – Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade – is a festival staple. It owes its popularity not only to the composer’s incredibly rich invention, often inspired by exotic musical culture, swathed in a dazzling orchestral veil, but also partly to the non-musical subject matter, with its reference to the collection of Middle Eastern folk tales dating from the Middle Ages known as One Thousand and One Nights. Each of the four movements betrays a wealth of melodic and rhythmical ideas, suggesting excerpts of the ethnic music of the nations Rimsky-Korsakov had encountered on his sea voyage round the world. They also reflect his wonderful and majestic orchestration, unparalleled in its time. The world popularity of Scheherazade was due in great part to the celebrated Ballets Russes impresario, Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev, who presented it as a ballet in Paris in 1910.

With financial support

Italský kulturní institut

Partner of the Moser Premium Lounge