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  • Municipal House, Prague, Smetana Hall
    Municipal House, Prague, Smetana Hall

Gala Concert in Smetana Hall in Prague

Prague, Municipal House (Obecní dum) — Smetana Hall

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About the Event

The chamber ensemble of the Dvorak Symphony Orchestra and soloists perform famous works of classical music in Prague.

Enjoy favorite and familiar compositions from the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic greats at the beautiful Smetana Hall in the heart of Prague.

Program

  • Georges Bizet – Carmen – Overture from Carmen
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Alleluia (from Exsultate Jubilate)
  • Antonín Dvořák – Rusalka´s aria (from the Opera „Rusalka“)
  • Bedrich Smetana – De Moldau, from Má Vlast (My Country)
  • Gioachino Rossini – Una voce poco fa (from the Opera The Barber of Seville))
  • Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Theme from Ballet Swan Lake
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Figaro’s aria (from the Opera The Marriage of Figaro)
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Figaro and Susanna's duet (from the Opera The Marriage of Figaro)
  • Giuseppe Verdi – Fiesco's aria (from the Opera Simone Boccanegra)
  • Antonio Vivaldi – The Four Seasons Spring & Winter
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – La ci darem la mano (duet from the Opera Don Giovanni)
Program is subject to change

Artists

Ensemble: Chamber Ensemble of Dvořák Symphony Orchestra

The Dvořák Symphony Orchestra includes performers from Prague's leading ensembles. The Dvořák Symphony Orchestra members often perform in smaller chamber ensembles, depending upon the demands of the repertoire.

Conductor: Martin Peschík

Municipal House (Obecní dum)

The Municipal House is a popular Prague attraction and one of the most beautiful buildings in the Old Town, situated at Republic Square not far from the Powder Gate. In the Middle Ages the site housed the palace of the King of Bohemia,and was later used as a college, archbishop´s residence, and a military academy. The structure was eventually torn down, and in 1912 the new Municipal House was erected in the Art Nouveau style. Since opening, the Municipal House has been a glamorous location for festive balls, concerts, exhibitions and important meetings, including the declaration of Czechoslovak Independence in 1918. Today the Municipal House is used primarily as a venue for classical concerts in Prague. Its main hall is named after famous Czech composer Bedrich Smetana, and serves as one of the principal stages for the Prague Spring International Music Festival. The hall can accommodate up to 1200 people and has unique acoustics. The architectural highlight of the Smetana Hall is a glass dome decorated with steel grids and stained glass, which is illuminated when darkness falls. A place of pilgrimage for many of the worlds greatest organists, the real jewel of the Municipal House is the great organ, its almost 5000 pipes crowned with Smetana´s portrait.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Perhaps the most important composer of all time, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was an Austrian composer of the late 18th century. Born in 1756 in Salzburg, he showed prodigious musical talent from childhood. Beginning at five years of age, he composed more than 600 works, including concertos, symphonies, religious works and operas before his premature death at the age of 35. Hi influence over successive generations cannot be overestated - Ludwig van Beethoven wrote of Mozart "posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years”. Despite the immense success of his compositions, and the acclaim he received across Europe, Mozart achieved little financial security and rwas buried in an unmarked grave in Vienna's St Marx Cemetery.

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Symphony No. 6, written in 1893, is Tchaikovsky’s last symphony which he considered his finest work. Its nickname ‘Pathetique’ suggests that the work contains deep and profound contemplations about life and death. Its music is dark and solemn with the exception of the second waltz movement. Many critics saw this symphony as an authobiographical expression of the composer’s uneasy life. The 6th Symphony premiered on 28 October 1893 and was given good reviews but didn’t make a sensation. Nine days later the composer died. After his death the symphony was performed once again at the tribute concert and that time, the audience was deeply touched by the poignant music and gave proper credit to it.

Antonín Dvořák

Antonin Dvorak is considered to be one of the most well-known and prominent Czechs in the world, as his musical work gained international recognition already during his lifetime. He was born in 1841 in a small Czech village into a butcher’s family. At the age of 6, Dvorak started taking violin lessons and it immediately became obvious that the boy had exceptional talent in music. Later in life, he was learning to master piano and organ as well as simultaneously working in a slaughterhouse. After Dvorak turned 16, he was admitted to the Organ School in Prague that trained future professional composers. After graduating, he stayed in Prague, joined Karel Komzak’s orchestra and started actively composing his own music. However, he struggled to make ends meet and always had to work on the side by playing music in churches and giving private music lessons. Finally, 1874 became a turning point in his life when he won a financial grant from an Austrian Prize competition for his 15 submitted works. This allowed him to quit the orchestra and devote himself fully to composing. During this period, he wrote his Slavonic Dances, Moravian Duets and Violin Concerto, which brought him sweeping success. In 1892 he was invited to teach at the New York National Conservatory, where he stayed until 1895 before returning home. He started teaching at the Prague conservatory and later became its director. Until his death in 1904, he had been a successful and well-loved composer, both in his homeland and around the whole world.

Bedrich Smetana

Bedrich Smetana is regarded as the father of Czech classical music, most known for his symphonic cycle My Homeland and opera The Bartered Bride. He was born in 1824 in Litomyšl, a town in Bohemia. Since childhood, Bedrich Smetana developed an affection for folk music and songs, which can be traced in his oeuvre. His father also played in a string quartet and taught young Bedrich to play the violin. However, the son preferred the piano and gave his first piano performance when he was only 6 years old. In 1943 Smetana set off to Prague where he attended the Prague Music Institute and became acquainted with Prague’s music life by attending numerous classical concerts. Back then he said: “…I shall one day be a Liszt in technique and a Mozart in composition!”. In 1848 he opened a private music school, which became very popular, especially among Czech nationalists – a movement that was thriving that year. Smetana was supporting the movement and wrote a few patriotic works, including two marches dedicated to the Citizens’ Army. However, the 1850’s were sorrowful years for the composer. He lost his three daughters, his wife was severely ill and the critics were giving unflattering reviews on his music. In 1856 he decided to start a new life in Gothenburg, Sweden, where he opened another music school, worked as a conductor of the Society for Classical Music and gained professional recognition. In his homeland, Smetana’s talent was finally acknowledged only in 1866 with the release of his opera "The Brandenburgers". Since then, his career saw ups and downs but reached its glorious peak when the public first heard his symphonic circle "Ma Vlast", which Smetana composed despite becoming deaf.

Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi went down in history as a creator of the instrumental concert genre and the father of orchestral music. He was born in Venice on the 4th of March 1678. Vivaldi was a weak and sickly child suffering from asthma, however could not stop him from devoting himself completely to music. His father, Giovanni Batista a professional violinist, taught his elder son Antonio to play the violin. With his father young Antonio met the best musicians of Venice of that time and gave concerts in local churches. He also worked as a violin teacher and later as a music director at the orphanage Ospedalle della Pieta. Meanwhile he composed concertos, sacred works and vocal music and in 1713 he achieved great recognition with his sacred choral music. Vivaldi got captivated by the world of opera and worked both as opera composer and impresario at the Teatro San Angelo. In 1717 he obtained a prestigious position by the prince court in Manua as a director of secular music and worked there until around 1720. During that time he composed his world-renowned masterpiece The Four Seasons. In the 1730's his career dwindled as his music became unfashionable and the great composer died in poverty. It took the world two centuries to rediscover and reevaluate Vivaldi’s music, as it was buried into oblivion after his death. In the early 20th century many previously unknown works were found and immediately captured the hearts of the music lovers.

Giuseppe Verdi

Giuseppe Verdi was an Italian opera composer. From a young age, he developed a musical education with the help of a patron and soon dominated the Italian opera. In fact by his 30s, he became one of the most influential opera composer all over the classical scene. His most famous operas are Il Trovatore, Rigoletto and La Traviata. Furthermore, he was able to establish himself as a landowner with the income from his successful operas and focus on his private life. However, he soon returned to the scene with his new popular work Aida (1871), and three masterpieces: Otello, Requiem and Falstaff.

Georges Bizet

Georges Bizet devoted his relatively short life of 36 years to the musical theatre. The opera Carmen, pearl of his oeuvre, is still one of the most frequently performed operas in the world. He was born in 1838 into a musically educated family – his father was a singing teacher and his mother a professional piano player. At the age of 4, young George could already read notes and play the piano, and six years later he became enrolled at the Paris Conservatory. After finishing his studies, Bizet won the prestigious Prix de Rome for his cantata Clovis et Clotilde, that allowed him to work solely on his own compositions for five years. He spent four rather carefree years in Italy from 1857 to 1860 where he travelled, composed and developed his talent. After coming back to Paris, he faced struggles and found it very difficult to achieve recognition for his music. In order to make a living, he gave private lessons, composed light entertaining music and made arrangements of piano works by other composers. In fact, he could have easily become a successful pianist as he was a virtuoso piano player and once impressed Franz Liszt himself with the performance of one of Liszt’s piano compositions. But Georges Bizet did not look for a way to make easy money and was adamant about his intention to only compose music. In 1872 he wrote two operas, Djamileh and L’Arlesienne, which were received very coldly but now are considered to be a representation of Bizet’s artistic maturity. Soon before his death in 1875, Carmen premiered in the Opera Comique, but the audience’s verdict was rather negative. Never having witnessed public acclaim during his life, George Bizet now is one of the most famous opera composers in history.

Gioachino Rossini

Gioachino Rossini was an Italian composer of the 19th century. He made his debut at the age of 18 and soon became one the most popular opera composer in history. His best known operas are The Barber of Seville (Il barbiere di Siviglia), The Italian Girl in Algiers (L'italiana in Algeri), and Cinderella (La Cenerentola). In general, his style can be defined as song-like melodic which earned him the nickname of "the Italian Mozart”. Later on he became famous for his exciting buildup of orchestral sound over a repeated phrase, which is now known as a "Rossini crescendo”.

Address

Municipal House (Obecní dum), 5 Republic Square (Namesti republiky 5), Prague, Czech Republic — Google Maps

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