Soprano Maida Hundeling, who debuted, for example, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York last season, returned to the Janáček Opera after a year. The singer known from leading opera houses around the world will perform in Brno again in the role of Tosca in Puccini's opera of the same name. The production of the local artistic director Jiří Heřman already impressed during its premiere. The director based his concept on the connection between the story of the singer Tosca in the environment of the complicated political situation in the Roman Republic in 1800 and the story of one of its extraordinary performers in the second half of the last century – opera superstar Maria Callas. As the critics wrote, it is a theatrically impressive and inspiring interconnection between the fates of the two women, adored opera divas, who were in love in politically complicated times that swallowed them whole. Mainly Maida Hundeling excelled in the main roles of this Brno production.
The Vilém Spilka Quartet included surprising material in their new album Podvod. The band, headed by the director and dramaturgist of the JazzFest Brno Festival, recorded instrumental jazz arrangements of songs Hejna včel, Tulácký ráno, Na kameni kámen, Stánky and other campfire hit songs by Jan Nedvěd. He had a chance to listen to the recording shortly after its completion and we spoke to Vilém Spilka about Nedvěd’s reaction. And the interview, of course, also covered Porta, sausages and a campfire pot.
We talked with Jitka Šuranská about a new album full of music, where she is the bandleader, but as she points out herself, she is only one of three equal elements. The Jitka Šuranská Trio consists of her, cross-genre mandolinist Martin Krajíček and multi-instrumentalist (educated jazz bassist) Marian Friedl. The three musicians started the debut tour of the first album Divé husy symbolically on 1 October at the Goose Festival in Boskovice, two day later they launched it in the Stará Pekárna Club in Brno. Until mid-October, they will be touring clubs, cinemas and libraries in Náchod, Rožnov pod Radhoštěm, Zlín and České Budějovice. Although the trio mentions folk songs as their inspiration, their author's coat is made of many musical styles, yet it is harmonious and interesting. And Jitka's own musician's path is important and inspirational for the final outcome.
The Swedish mezzo-soprano Katarina Karnéus is hosting in Radok's opera staging of Bluebeard's Castle / Expectation where she plays the role of the Woman. Katarina Karnéus is the winner of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition and debuted at the New York Metropolitan Opera as Varvara in Janáček's Katya Kabanova. This season, she performs in the Stuttgart Staatstheatre, Theater Basel and in the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus. The premiere of the Bluebeard's Castle / Expectation is part of the programme of the 2016 Janáček Brno Festival.
Canadian director Robert Carsen is among today's elite directors in the world of opera. His productions have been in the repertoire of major opera houses, such as the La Scala in Milan, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Glyndebourne Festival Opera in England or the Royal Opera House Covent Garden for many years. His work is often referred to as the so-called regietheater because he usually stages operas at times and places different from the original score. Yet his productions excel in unique poetics, dramaturgical compactness and mainly in the fact that they are an emotional, lively and extremely impressive theatre. The 2016 Janáček Brno Festival will open with one of the most famous productions by Carsen, Janáček's Katya Kabanova. It will be performed by the ensemble of the Janáček Opera of the Brno National Theatre. The Brno theatre will be the first ensemble in the Czech Republic that has a production by Robert Carsen in their permanent repertoire.
A long Czech tour of the English blues guitarist Will Johns was taking place nearly all throughout September. A nephew of Eric Clapton and George Harrison and a son of famed producer Andy Johns (he worked with Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones) began touring in the early 1990s. His latest album is called Something Old, Something New... and Will Johns will also present it in Brno. His concert in the Stará Pekárna Music Club will take place on Tuesday, 13 September from 8:00 p.m. This interview with the guitarist was conducted by phone.
Dulcimer player from the Javory Band, bandleader and founder of the folk Cimbal Classic and music educator Dalibor Štrunc released his new record Malované na cimbál. Štrunc's instrumental songs on this album are played by his students from the Conservatory Anna Múčková, Kateřina Harnošová, and Barbora Jagošová. We talked to the dulcimer player and songwriter, who has just turned 50, about this piece of work and more.
Last year, soprano Martina Janková, baritone Tomáš Král and pianist Ivo Kahánek recorded an album of folk songs edited by Leoš Janáček. Visitors of the 2016 Janáček Brno Festival will also have the opportunity to experience its live performance. The only change is that Roman Hoza will perform instead of Tomáš Král at the concert in the Villa Tugendhat. Martina Janková talked about her journey from childhood with folk music to Janáček.
Songwriter and guitarist František Chaloupka switches between rock, contemporary and classical music and other genres. Besides that, he founded the Guitar Institute in 2014. We talked about guitar instruction tailored to students. And about the directions in which the Institute could develop further.
How does the Mozart effect work? Why does Mozart's music reduce epileptic discharges in the brain, while Haydn's does not? How do the brains of the audience without musical training and professional musicians perceive music? We were looking for answers with the head of the Centre for Neuroscience of the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC), Professor Ivan Rektor.
25-year-old guitarist Jannis Moras is a rising star on the Brno scene. The songwriter with Greek roots works with his father Trifon Moras and his two brothers in the I Parea band. With the Anatoli band that plays traditional Greek music, he recently won the South Moravian round of the Porta competition. And he has his own original project Jannis Moras a band(a) that will perform on 4 June as part of the Greek Saturday at the Veveří Castle. We talk to Jannis Moras about music that he plays and about the Greek community in Brno.
Inconspicuous concerts in high-pitched frequencies go through the city. Their centre is an area called Rumiště, the producer and DJ Snediggen Snurssla stands behind them. This week, his AVA loft sessions are being held for the fifteenth time and they will head from Rumiště to Mosilana. Furthermore, we talked about adventurous music and listening to the city.
The Brno Contemporary Orchestra was founded five years ago by conductor Pavel Šnajdr. Music by contemporary composers is nothing unusual to him, he considers it an everyday matter of course. And that is how he wants to bring it closer to the audience. The upcoming concert in Hall A at the Brno Exhibition Centre was one of the reasons for this interview about the creation of the orchestra and their plans. And about contemporary music in general.
The fates of unfortunate Queen Dido and the hero Gilgamesh will be combined in the joint performance of works by Henry Purcell and Bohuslav Martinů. The Janáček Opera is preparing the combination of the Baroque opera with music of the 20th century as the last premiere of the season. We talk to Václav Luks, a renowned interpreter of early music, the founder and conductor of Collegium 1704, mainly about the Baroque part of the performance.
Yoga became commonplace in Europe and America a long time ago and has become part of the Western world. For some, it is one of the common exercises, for others it is mainly a path to knowledge. The Wonderpark Festival strives to combine yoga and contemporary music. We talked about it with its organiser Naděžda Brzobohatá in her yoga studio. And we started with a tea.
The Olomouc Baroque Festival has begun. In the local Jesuit Convent the seventh year of the festival opened with the modern premiere of the serenata Il tribunale di Giove by the Austrian composer Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf. The work was first performed at the birthday celebrations for the Prussian King Frederick the Great on 27 January 1775 and after a repeat in Wroclaw in 1777 it fell into oblivion. The Ensemble Damian decided to reverse this unfortunate fate, and led by the ensemble’s artistic director and director Tomáš Hanzlík they attempted to revive the work. Appearing in the solo roles were Leandro Lafont (Fate and Apollo), Kristýna Vylíčilová (the Genius of Europe and Minerva), Lucie Kaňková (Time and Fortune), Monika Jägerová (Jupiter) and Jakub Rousek (Mars). The costumes and backdrops were designed by the director Hanzlík.
The Slunce [Sun] Festival in Strážnice will be held for the twentieth time this year. Especially lovers of folk music and classical big beat have marked the dates of 12th and 13th July in their calendars. We talked to the director of the Slunce Festival Pavel Kopřiva about the history of the festival, its top moments and hardships, as well as what this year's festival season will be like.
The end of the first school-holiday week was carried in the spirit of celebrations. The 7th of July in fact falls on the birthday of Alena Veselá, a prominent Brno organist and a professor at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (JAMU), who celebrated an impressive age of 96 years on that day. The concert, organised particularly for this jubilee, was also the final event of the 39th Brno Organ Festival and as a celebration of the birthday of its founder (and now patron of the whole show), it already has a strong position in the festival programme.
Last weekend, the 74th Strážnice International Folklore Festival 2019 as well as the 37th Strážnice Children's Folklore Festival were held in the South Moravian Mecca of folklore. The biggest folklore festival in the Czech Republic enjoys great interest and it wasn't any different this year either, despite tropical temperatures, with tens of thousands of people coming back to Strážnice again.
On the 100th anniversary of the birth of poet Jiří Orten, the company ProArt prepared a multi-genre project called Ohnice – Where the Wind Is Dancing in the former Brno penitentiary on Cejl Street. The poetic production with verses of the young poet, which reflected his hard and short life, was premiered on 25 June.
The twenty-fourth season of the Concentus Moraviae international music festival came to an end after almost a month of rich musical experiences. Musical works, thematically labelled as the Concert of Nations, guided the festival visitors around thirteen picturesque Moravian towns and gave them a taste of key musical works of (not only) European nations. All this was moreover served in the interpretation of more than twenty world-famous ensembles. With the conscious transnational, cross-border concept overreaching the Czech border, the festival organizers chose the Golden Hall of the renowned Musikverein Concert House as a suitable venue for the closing evening. The extraordinary finals of the 24th season opened thus a series of Concerts of Czech-Austrian Partnership and at the same time announced the celebration of the festival's quarter of a century to be celebrated next year. In accordance with this symbolic overture of the concert, the main star of the festival was the patron of the festival and famous singer Magdalena Kožená, accompanied by the no less famous Collegium 1704 orchestra led by Václav Luks.
One of the biggest promises of the 24th Concentus Moraviae international festival was yesterday’s concert of the legendary Borodin Quartet, whose unique sound is the result not only of hard work but also collaboration with the composer Dmitri Shostakovich. This personal and interpretive trail still influences the group and is passed on to each new member. The programme took place in the library of the castle in Náměšť nad Oslavou , where in the 18th and 19th centuries it was the residence music-loving Haugwitz family. The music of Sergei Prokofiev, Joseph Haydn and Dmitri Shostakovich could be heard by the audience in a venue that was more than merely dignified.
In the summer months Špilberk Castle’s courtyard often resounds to the sound of music. Until September it is possible to combine a tour of the castle with a cultural experience. The organizers have tried to prepare a programme across genres that has something for everyone. Yesterday it was the turn of folk music. Despite the adverse weather the stage was dominated by the Military Art Ensemble Ondráš.
The last premiere of the Brno opera season for the first time ever and rather unusually combined two works. The Janáček Theatre presented the surrealist opera Three Fragments of Juliette by Bohuslav Martinů along with the small opera work The Human Voice by Francis Poulenc. The composed evening, with direction and stage design by David Radok, brought together two almost absurd worlds. And this connection was indeed remarkable dramaturgically, visually but also interpretatively.
The Polish ensemble Szymanowski Quartet at the Concentus Moraviae Festival presented works by their compatriots Karol Szymanowski, Stanisław Moniuszko and Gražyna Bacewicz in the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in Řeznovice yesterday. The concert was part of worldwide celebrations of the two-hundredth anniversary of birth of Stanisław Moniuszko, which is considered by many to be the founder of Polish national music. The evening was held under the auspices of the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the Czech Republic, HE Barbara Ćwioro.
Visitors to concerts meet quite often with quartet compositions written by masters of European music. Haydn's string quartets are perennial stars in the repertoire of a number of ensembles and attention is also paid to works of contemporary European composers. Only exceptionally, however, can listeners take a peek into the musical cuisine of Asian or South American nations. Cuarteto Q-Arte decided to fill this blank space and dedicated itself to the works of Latin American authors. The programme, which they presented yesterday at the chateau in Slavkov u Brna (Austerlitz), consisted of works by Silvestre Revueltas, Alberto Ginastera and Astor Piazzolla. All these three composers combine elements of domestic culture with European training and influences or impulses of different genres.
Why be one of the many average bands when we can be a unique band? The ten-year history of the Brno group Kupodivu could be squeezed into this motto. In 2009, saxophonist Jaroslav Pilný and keyboard player Petr Šašinka first talked about forming a band. In 2019, the band Kupodivu [Surprisingly Enough] is releasing its first full-length album. Exactly in the middle of this ten-year period, in 2014, an important change took place when the original folk band was transformed into an interesting shape with keyboards, saxophone and bass, but without a guitar. The line-up, which resembles rather jazz bands in recent years, has scored at a lot of folk festivals in recent years. Kupodivu won the Porta award for authors, the Rada Notování [Council of Notation] award, won the Moravský vrabec [Moravian Sparrow], and won second place at the Mohelnický dostavník [Mohelnice Stagecoach]. At all these venues they performed music that rather than campfires fits into city clubs, and by far not only folk ones. The album Živočišné pudy [Animal Instincts] summarizes the band's work so far in a dignified way, underlined by the quality sound from the Zlín Studio V.
The Jerusalem Quartet is one of the world's leading quartet performers for many years and is currently one of the most cited chamber music ensembles. At the Concentus Moraviae festival, violinists Alexander Pavlovsky, Sergei Bresler, violist Ori Kam and cellist Kyril Zlotnikov performed in the Great Chateau of Mikulov Castle with a programme stretching in time from Joseph Haydn up to Béla Bartók. The concert was held under the auspices of the Israeli Ambassador to the Czech Republic, HE Daniel Meron.
Man does not live by classical music alone, as the Epoque Quartet, consisting of violinists David Pokorný, Vladimír Klánský, violist Vladimír Kroupa and cellist Vít Petrášek has been convincing us for twenty years already. For their Saturday concert, staged as part of the Concentus Moraviae festival, which took place in the foyer of the Pasáž theatre in Třebíč, the musicians also invited bass clarinettist Petr Valášek, pianist Karel Košárek and percussionist Oleg Sokolov. The programme of the evening consisted entirely of works by contemporary authors flirting in their compositions not only with musical minimalism, but also with jazz and other popular genres.
Znojmo Music Festival enters its 15th season this year. The programme includes concerts, opera performances, gastronomy and a programme for children. The opening concert, performed by the patron of the festival Pavel Šporcl and the PKF - Prague Philharmonia under the baton of Derek Gleeson, is dedicated to the reminder of the fall of the Iron Curtain. The culmination of the festival is the premiere of the scenic oratorio Saul by G. F. Handel. The title roles will be performed by Andreas Scholl and Adam Plachetka. The show will be directed by Tomáš Pilař.
The 165th anniversary of the birth of Leoš Janáček falls on today, Wednesday 3 July 2019. Janáček is one of our opera composers most frequently played abroad. TIC Brno dedicated a tram to him for his birthday this year, with the main characters from his operas graphically rendered by Brno artist Vendulka Chalánková. Janáček also has his own website, an educational trail, a memorial and an opera festival.
The autumn program of the Fléda music club in Brno contains big names of the music world. The August visit of Jon Hopkins', who will appear at the Brno Marathon of Music festival is already at its imaginary beginning. The autumn season officially opens with a September dance party featuring GusGus from Iceland. This will be followed by concerts of Hooverphonic with a new singer, Jan Blomqvist & Band with their complete Disconnected project or the Berlin legend DJ Hell with his Zukunftmusic composition. Rockers De Staat will bring their novelty titled The Bubble Gum, Movits! their most hip-hop record so far – the double album V, Kadebostany in turn will bring their album Monumental. Last but not least, Vitalic with Rebeka Warrior will also be featured presenting their KCompromat project.
The album collects folklore tunes and songs from the Moravian meadows. After several years of work on the Anthology of Moravian Folk Music, the Indies Scope label decided to continue with a new series of folklore recordings called Malovaná truhla [Painted Chest]. One of them is the album Kosecké písně [Mowers' Songs]. The album features Kubíci dulcimer music band from Horňácko, Women's Choir of Hrubá Vrbka, Chotár male choir from Horňácko and others.
Traditionally, the beginning of the summer holidays is accompanied by the festival Boskovice – for the Jewish Quarter. This year's 27th edition will be launched by the Les Bubbey Mayse quartet from France, inspired by Klezmer and traditional Yiddish songs. The musical program also features concerts of bands such as Neurobeat, Khoiba, Kittchen & Aid Kid with Tomáš Neuwerth or Panenské plameny.
The Kamenka Open multi-genre festival will revive the meadow in the Kamenná kolonie neighbourhood in Brno for the tenth time already. This year's guests include Funky Pappa, Jamiroquai Tribute Band and Pleasure Portable. Theatres will be represented by the Hysterie Theatre, Koráb Theatre or the Bez Pravidel Theatre.