This year’s St. Wenceslas Music Festival will be record-breaking again. In addition to 35 sensational concerts, we will offer discussions, workshops, exhibitions and films.
The St. Wenceslas Music Festival (SWMF) is proud to announce the programme of our 14th festival season. Between 4–28 September 35 concerts will take place in twenty towns and municipalities of the Moravian-Silesian Region. In addition to the concerts, visitors can also look forward to discussions with artists, workshops, exhibitions and film screenings.
As has become traditional, performers include top ensembles and interpreters in the field of sacred and so-called early music, such as Collegium 1704 with the conductor Václav Luks, the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno, the sopranos Simona Šaturová and Hana Blažíková, the baritone Tomáš Král, the flautist Barthold Kuijken, the world-renowned harpsichord players Ewald Demeyere and Mahan Esfahani and many others. “I cordially invite all supporters of quality music to the St. Wenceslas Music Festival, which is one of the most important events of its kind in the Czech Republic and Central Europe. We have developed a new modern format and besides the traditional festival concerts we will also offer discussions with artists, photo exhibitions, workshops for children and film screenings accompanied by an expert’s lecture. Last year, we introduced a new concept of festival communication, which was met with great acceptance and managed to reach out to the general public, to attract young spectators and to make the festival highly visible. We will continue with this trend this year as well – the campaign will start on the 1st of June, and we are preparing many novelties as part of our festival communication. The new 2017 visual design of the festival is based on an elegant arrangement of red, black and white,” said the director of the St. Wenceslas Music Festival Igor Františák.
Concerts will take place in 29 churches throughout the entire Moravian-Silesian Region. The festival will be officially opened on the 4th of September with an opening concert at the Cathedral of the Divine Saviour in Ostrava (katedrála Božského Spasitele v Ostravě), where the Brno Philharmonic Orchestraand the Brno Philharmonic Choir conducted by Ondřej Vrabec will perform. Together with the soprano Kateřina Kněžíková and Swiss baritone Rudolf Rosen they will present one of the most important sacred works, Brahms’s German Requiem. “Both ensembles belong to the absolute leaders in the Czech Republic and have a great reputation abroad as well. The high professional standards of Kateřina Kněžíková have been proven by the fact that the famous tenor Plácido Domingo had selected her for two concert performances of Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni,” says Igor Františák, adding: “I am delighted to have the great baritone Tomáš Král performing the contemporary premiere of the early Baroque compositions discovered in the Wroclaw archive. Collegium 1704 and Collegium Vocale 1704 are also highly worthy of people’s attention; they will perform the famous Mozart’s Requiem under the baton of conductor Václav Luks.
I would also like to mention the chamber orchestra L’armonia terrena, directed by the conductor Zdeněk Klauda, who is devoted to introducing newly discovered Czech Classicist compositions. Together with the soprano Simona Šaturová and the mezzo-soprano Markéta Cukrová, they will present the modern premiere of the Stabat Mater by Jakub Jan Ryba. And of course, you can’t miss the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra Ostrava led by its chief conductor Heiko Mathias Förster, which is going to play a concert to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the release of Luther’s 95 theses, within which compositions by Bach, Brahms and Mendelssohn will be performed. Lovers of medieval sacred music will enjoy the concert by the Schola Gregoriana Pragensis. The ensemble is one of the leading performers in the field, and will present itself at the festival together with the soprano and Gothic harp player Hana Blažíková. An extraordinary experience will surely be met by attendees of the performance of the legendary Belgian player on the Baroque transverse flute Barthold Kuijken and the harpsichordist Ewald Demeyere, who will present the flute compositions of J. S. Bach and his sons. I would like to draw the attention, especially of young audiences, to the crossover project by Dan Bárta, Robert Balzar‘s jazz trio and the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra which cross the fixed boundaries of musical genres and feature well-known compositions by Led Zeppelin, Björk, Jamiroquai and other performers in distinctive orchestral arrangements. The festival will be concluded by a unique concert at the Church of Our Lady the Queen (kostel Panny Marie Královny) in Ostrava-Mariánské Hory, where the extensive oratory trilogy of The Childhood of Christ by the French composer Hector Berlioz will resound in an exceptional performance by the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic Choir, great French soloists and the conductor Philippe Bernold, who is going to direct and feature this monumental work on 28 September at the closing concert of the festival.”
The programme of this season will be enriched by discussions at the Knihcentrum Ostrava (the bookstore) where festival visitors will be able to personally meet the sopranos Kateřina Kněžíková and Veronika Holbová, the baritone Tomáš Král, the Italian conductor Paolo Gatto and the clarinettist and director of SWMF Igor Františák. Film fans should not miss a screening at the cafe Minikino Kavárna in the Ostrava city centre. “We have selected two award-winning films related to the world of classical music. In the first film, the audience shall be introduced to the fate of Farinelli, one of the most admired 18th-century castrato opera singers. The second film features the last days of the composer Gustav Mahler. Each film will be introduced by Martin Čurda, the musicologist, who will talk about the relevant musical-historical and biographical context, issues of creative license in the genre of biographical film, and the role of music as a tool for a film narrative,” Igor Františák said.
Tickets can be purchased from 1 June 2017 at the Colosseum Ticket sales offices, at the branches of the Ostrava Information Service, at the SWMF office and also in individual festival towns.