Původní komorní opera Jsem kněžna bláznů měla premiéru v brněnské Redutě. Autorkami operní novinky, která mapuje soukromý i tvůrčí život první české spisovatelky Boženy Němcové, se staly skladatelka Lenka Nota a dokumentaristka Olga Sommerová. Libreto vzniklo na základě Němcové korespondence, básní Františka Halase, Vladimíra Holana a Františka Pavlíčka. Novou operu představil Ensemble Opera Diversa v Mozartově v pátek 17. listopadu.
Many comebacks tend to provide rather a nostalgic or even sad perspective on something that will never return. There are however exceptions that prove the rule. Gaia Mesiah returned with its own verve and perhaps even greater energy than before. There were goose bumps at Fléda on Wednesday both among the audience and on stage.
The last concert of the 49th Moravian Autumn International Music Festival took place on Saturday 28 October. Immediately before its fiftieth anniversary the festival chose as an overarching theme ®evolution and the inevitability of progress. For a month signs and posters in Brno have called out to passers-by and attracted them to this ambitious spectacle. After a quick look at the programme, it was clear that the pivotal musical works this year will be primarily innovative achievements of the first half of the 20th century seasoned with the musical delicacy that is early music.
Budoár staré dámy used to be a Brno-based band with a mostly female line-up. Both of these things have changed over the years. These days, the charismatic band-leader and singer Marta Kovářová (neé Svobodová) is currently accompanied by three men. And although part of the band still lives in the South Moravian capital, Marta herself got married and now lives in a “village in a cold gorge”. Her new role of married woman and housewife is projected into several songs “about cooking”. Life in the inhospitable countryside might be connected with the choice of Lubor Kasala’s poem Z ježatých hor (From the Spiky Mountains) (“Mrazem to mrská a zimu pase” – “The whip of frost herds the winter”), the musical version of which the band used at the very start of their new album. It was a good move, because it is an energetic song with a very specific and colourful text (“…kde jektají mývalové umývadel a syčí hadi sprch” – “… where chattering raccoons was in basins and hissing snakes shower”). The dynamics, rhythm and track timing is masterful. The band, despite the fact that these days they no longer have a chance to rehearse together as much as they used to, presents itself in top form – energetic, aggressive, but through all the chaos still organised. There is not a single surplus note to be heard.
Brno said goodbye on Sunday to Marta Kubišová. This made it the first city in the Czech part of the Marta Naposledy (Marta One Last Time) tour. It will end in České Budějovice on her 75th birthday. The Sono Centre, full to bursting, could enjoy not only a cross-section of her musical career but also a tribute to American pop music, given in her latest album “Soul”. As it has been for the last nineteen years she was accompanied on her final tour by Petr Malásek (keyboard) and a band made up of Martin Lehký (double bass), Budy Zbořil (drums), Josef Štěpánek (guitar) and František Kop (saxophone).
The organisers of JazzFest Brno tried something with the Canadian singer and pianist Diana Krall that they have not managed so far with Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Gregory Porter or Bobby McFerrin – to fill Brno’s DRFG Arena (which used to be Rondo). I have no idea how sure Vilém Spilka and co were but the artists name together with well-targeted promotion bore fruit in the form of a virtually full ice-hockey hall. Viewers who aren’t used to going to sporting events and pop concerts might perhaps have been slightly put out by the uncomfortable seating, but otherwise it was really well managed on the technical side. The sound was great, and even those fans further from the stage praised its purity and clarity. Just as perfect was the image on the two large screens, thanks to which even those in the far corners of the hall could enjoy the visual experience.
After a gap of five years the lyricist and singer Lada Šimíčková and the composer and musician (or songwriter) Ivo Cicvárek have brought out their second joint album. Thus the collection Hotel v tiché ulici (Hotel in a Quiet Street) from 2012 has not remained a one-off project. Taking the second album as the proverbial touchstone, the duo has passed with flying colours. Five years is plenty of time for putting together new material and the songs that made their way into the final selection and now have a chance to become public despite the name of the album.
Birthdays, and not just those on stage, bring a need to look back. In the case of London’s Placebo this is the case twice over, because they returned in Brno to songs that they have long avoided playing live. They kept their promise and at the Brno Exhibition Centre they gave a two-hour cross-section show.
Rossini’s penultimate opera Le comte Ory was in its time seen as highly immoral slapstick. In the new Brno production, performed in the historic building of the Mahen Theatre, it is actually a hilarious farce. Lenka Flory stands behind its directorial and artistic form, providing not only the needed humour and momentum, but also thanks to its basis in the world of contemporary dance also unusual movement.
This year the Beseda u Bigbítu (BuB) festival celebrates its quarter century and to mark this milestone it has added a little warm-up in the shape of an evening concert in Kabinet Múz called Beseda night. It gives a foretaste of this year’s Tasov and the evening will be introduced by the Šumperk-Brno group Acute Dose. Last year’s wind brought in the group Please The Trees and the composer and DJ Václav Čásenský aka Atrey.
The Brno singer and author Jana Jun Šrámková claims that the name of their new album Ve vlasech (In Hair) has nothing to do with her profession of hairdressing. And it is true that more than scissors or curling tongs in this case hair is linked to the wind, which is penetrating and was already blowing on Jana’s previous album Nahá (Naked). However in the lyrics of the new disc it is water rather than wind that is the important constant. In individual songs rapids, paddles, boats and the ocean appear. But that is not the most important information. Although words are important in Jana’s compositions, the new album continues in the line established by the previous discs Intimně (2010) and Nahá (2014). Above the story is feelings, drawing with syllables, misty scenery, sketched with voices and coloured in by other instruments.
The retro comedy musical Viki kráčí za štěstím (which might be translated as Viki Seeks Her Fortune), premiered in the Brno Municipal Theatre, in many ways represents a journey back in time. He audience returns to the work of Milan Uhde and Miloš Štědroň, which has now been supplemented by the work of the composer Karel Cón. On the surface it is an excursion into a true story which took place at the turn of the 1960s and 1970s, or the era of the swinging music of the sweet sixties. The same creative team led by director Juraj Nvota that was introduced five years ago on the same stage with the romantic musical Divá Bara now parades in front of the audience again.
The Jazzfest festival is coming to an end and after refreshment from the Czech and European scene came the genuine, almost classic American blues. The seventy-two-year-old giant Steve Gadd came to Brno with the guitarist Michael Landau, bass guitarist Jimmy Johnson, trumpeter Walt Fowler and on the piano and Fender Rhodes was Kevin Hayes.
The Brno group Hrozně slowly approach forty years of age – they started to give concerts in 1982. After several cassettes and unofficial recordings, they released a CD with their debut album Už není čas [There Is No Time Left] in 2013. Their new album named Ticho [Silence], which the band was working on over the last two years in the Indies studio, brings a surprise with its cleaner sound and clearly audible tension in the structure of the songs.
Over the four years that divide the release of the first album Záhir, and the second one entitled O Písni [About the Song], Lee Band virtually moved on (previously they stated Adamov as their domicile, now it is Jedovnice), they got on a "wild card" to the Porta festival semifinals in Řevnice, and above all, they advanced slightly in their musical style. While the debut album was more about a folk-rock mainstream, benefiting from the sound of an electric guitar, the new album is dominated by acoustic guitars, often in combination with mandolin and other acoustic instruments.
This year’s eighteenth JazzFest Brno will exceptionally not close with a concert, but rather a unique (though not unusual for world festivals) series of musical and dance workshops, centred on children. On Saturday 4 May, in the pleasant environment of Café Práh, near Vaňkovka, the children students will be taken on board by the significant young personalities of the jazz scene: Beata Hlavenková (pianist and composition lecturer), Dano Šoltis (leader of the drum class) and the multi-instrumentalists Jiří Slavík and Marian Friedl (conductors of Wandering on Jazz Paths), who will be accompanied by Kateřina Hanzlíková with the Tancohraní lectures. With the exception of composition, where it is necessary for the participants to be older than twelve, all the other “classes” are open to everyone, including the youngest. We asked the co-author of the idea of the children’s workshop and director of JazzFest Brno, Vilém Spilka, for further information.
The musical Nine, based on the legendary film 8½ by director Frederico Fellini, was prepared under director Stanislav Moša as the penultimate premiere of the season at the Brno City Theatre. They prepared an at places almost erotic show, led by interesting scenography, well-made costumes, brilliant musical preparation and the energy of the female acting. The sensuality of some of the dance parts thankfully did not overshadow the central theme of the hero’s crises: mid-life, art and relationship.
This year's JazzFestBrno festival had several highlights – of course, it depended on each visitor's personal taste, their expectations, and of course on how many shows they managed to visit. For the author of this article, one of the highlights the evening with bassist Stanley Clark on 23 April, varied in genre and arrangement, as well as the last but one concert of the festival, the performance of "the other" Avishai Cohen in the Husa na provázku Theatre on 28 April. It was a musically pure essence of jazz with a message – imperative, heartbreaking and poetic.
One of the musical highlights of last week was the concert of the Malina Brothers with two unique guest musicians, Kateřina García and Charlie McCoy in the Sono Centre in Brno. And because the performance was recorded on a professional video for the band’s first live DVD, the evening itself was extraordinary both in its length and quality.
Letošní ročník festivalu Jazzfest Brno nabízí nepřeberné množství rozmanitých crossoverů , žánrových směsic a fúzí. V duchu tohoto stylového spektra v rekonstruovaném (akusticky významně vylepšeném) sále Janáčkova divadla nabídl svůj vyhlášený osobitý nadžánrový sound klasik jazz fusion a britský kytarista John McLaughlin se svou formací The 4th Dimension. V Brně se představil vůbec poprvé.
On Palm Sunday a concert with the subtitle Nova et Vetera opened the 28th Easter Festival of Sacred Music with the theme Ceremony/It is Good to Celebrate the Lord. Aside from Gregorian Chant for Holy Week performed by the ensemble Schola Gregoriana Pragensis, which opened yesterday’s concert, there was also the world premiere of So Shall He Descend by the Estonian composer Toivo Tulev as performed by the soprano Ivana Rusko, the mezzosoprano Bettina Schneebeli, tenor Jaroslav Březina, baritone Jiří Hájek, choristers Aneta Bendová Podracka, Jana Vondrů and Pavla Radostová, the choir Ars Brunensis under choirmaster Dan Kalousek and the Brno Philharmonic under the baton of its principal conductor Denis Russell Davies. The work was written to a commission from the festival and was intended for the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul.
This year, the JazzFestBrno festival has expanded its offer to include an "electronic" programme line named Tension. Within that series, the bands Zabelov Group and HRTL Spaghetti Ensemble appeared in the Praha space in Brno on 28 March. However, the two-hour concert, which took place on 5 April in the sold-out Sono Centre, was also ideologically close to this new series. The Manchester-based trio GoGo Penguin perhaps uses an instrumental layout of a jazz piano trio vetted by decades, but still oscillates around electronic music as a starting point in its albums and concerts.
Even though the audience's attention is generally focused on music ensembles that have already been vetted by time, yesterday's concert of the newly formed Camerata Brunensis ensemble in the Historical Hall of the Brno Bishop's Court proved that even young blood can offer a remarkable artistic experience. The concert was programmed in cooperation with the Moravian Regional Museum and the Academy of Early Music at Masaryk University, which the Camerata Brunensis‘ artists attend. The ensemble consists of soprano Veronika Vojířová, who performed for example with ensembles like Collegium Marianum, Collegium Floreum, Capella Regia Prague or Cappella Mariana, and the flutist Michaela Durajová, who could be listened to by audiences with the Orchestral Academy of the Brno Philharmonic, the Moravian Philharmonic Olomouc, the Czech Virtuosi orchestra or with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Also, the double bassist and violonist Matyáš Berdych regularly appears with important music ensembles such as Musica Florea, Collegium Marianum and Czech Ensemble Baroque. The backbone of the ensemble is formed by the harpsichordist Jan Hajič, who works as a répétiteur for the Prague choir Vagantes, accompanies concerts and master classes at the Prague Conservatory, and works as a backup organist at the Prague Academic Parish under the guidance of Robert Hugo.
Filip Míšek and Ema Brabcová have worked together for as many as twenty years already. They met each other back in 1999 in the group Roe-Deer, as part of which they created their own project called Khoiba. Under this name they released their albums Nice Traps (2004) and Mellow Drama (2007), shone on the domestic scene and drew attention to themselves in neighbouring Germany, but then each of the protagonists set out on their own paths – Filip came up with the solo project Dikolson and Ema was active first in the group Luno and later became part of The Antagonists under the leadership of Jan P. Muchow. Only in January 2019 did the resurrected Khoiba draw attention to itself – first with the single Log and two months later with the album Khoiba. As part of an intensive spring concert the duo is also coming to perform in Brno. The concert will take place in Kabinet múz on 24 April and supporting Khoiba will be Jan Boroš with Čáry života [Life Lines], this year’s winner of the Apollo award.
Each premiere from the Ondráš Military Art Ensemble is an event that sparks great interest from folk fans. It was no different on Thursday in the slightly cramped quarters of the Divadlo Bolka Polívky theatre. The concert carrying the title Through the Landscape of Time had already been sold out a month ahead.
Yesterday’s concert from the Principal Conductor’s series of the Brno Philharmonic presented Yumi Hwang-Williams, concertmaster of the Colorado Symphonic Orchestra, in an intimately conceived programme. Together with the principal conductor of the Brno philharmonic, Dennis Russel Davies, she performed several classical and contemporary works composed for violin and piano. In this, the Brno audience had a chance to see the soloist before she plays tomorrow together with the Brno Philharmonic.
In an almost four-hour long programme, both audience and performers celebrated the 80th birthday of Horňácko folk legend Martin Hrbáč in Veselí nad Moravou. The concert that took place on Sunday 24 March, and was not only historic in its length but more importantly in the range of folk legends appearing on stage.
Greek Saturday at Veveří Castle enters its 9th season. The music scene will be represented by Musica Balkanika, Mydros, Martha and Tena Elefteriadu or Prometheus. In addition, there will be costume dance shows, dance workshops, an exhibition named "The Greeks in the Area of the Danube Monarchy", a theatrical performance and a programme for children. Through this event, the organizers want to convey to the public the cultural traditions and historical ties between Moravia and Greece.
As part of the final concert of the Bach on Mozart! cycle we will hear Baroque music by F. X. Richter in the St. Johns' Church. The Czech Ensemble Baroque will end the 7th season of the cycle with three rediscovered compositions by this distinguished Baroque composer, which have never been played over the last twenty five years. The concert will be conducted by the founder of the ensemble, Roman Válek.
The festival "with no fences and no admission fees" will be held in the Brno Lužánky Park this year as well. Over fifty events will take place on total of five The Stage s over the weekend. The programme includes musical performances, theatrical shows, film screenings, workshops and author readings. The music scene is represented by names such as Arve Henriksen and David Kollar, Dorota Barová and Jiří Šimek, The BladderStones, Brünnwerk or Songs From Utopia.
420 primary artistic schools got involved in this year's ZUŠ Open nationwide happening organized by the Magdalena Kožená Endowment. Children and young artists will spread music, dance, theatre and fine arts in public space. In several places of the Czech Republic, they will also head to retirement homes or nursery and primary schools. The Brno part of this event will be launched by the announcement of the results of the Brno-wide competition This Is a Talent on Dominikánské Square. It will be followed by performances of sixteen primary artistic schools of the city of Brno. The meeting in Brno will be concluded by a performance of the biggest Brno choir, which will be formed for this particular occasion and will sing together Proč bychom se netěšili [Why Should We Not Rejoice], a choral piece from the opera The Bartered Bride by Bedřich Smetana.
For the upcoming summer, the Ondráš Military Art Ensemble is preparing a charity cycle called Evenings with Ondráš. Two evenings at Špilberk Castle will bring a repeated run of their new show, Krajinou času a Ondrášovské putování [Through the Landscape of Time and Wandering with Ondráš] in which the whole ensemble performs. The programme also includes a fairy-tale show for children.
For the first time ever, the artistic ensemble Kafka Band will bring its music and literature performance entitled Amerika to Brno. The project has been inspired by fragments of the unfinished novel of the same name by Franz Kafka. The seven-member line-up of the ensemble, headed by Jaroslav Rudiš and Jaromír Švejdík, will also present twelve brand new compositions in the Fléda music club.
The Schola Artist dance school offers dance classes of various styles under the guidance of professional dancers, champions of the world and of the Czech Republic and certified tutors. Their roster features pole dance, classical ballet, contemporary dance and more. This year, the school will be celebrating its 2nd birthday with a gala evening in the studio on Hybešova Street.
Brno Philharmonic and Free Radicals. The last concert of the Classically and Modernly subscription series
Free Radicals (Böse Zellen) is the title of a piano concerto by Thomas Larcher (1963), which will be played next week in Besední dům in Czech premiere. When composing it, the author was inspired by a film of the same name by the Austrian director Barbara Albert. The concert is conducted by Nicholas Milton. The work of Thomas Larcher will be heard twice, and a meeting with the dramaturge Vítězslav Mikeš will take place before both concerts, introducing the audience to the world of the upcoming compositions.