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Benefit Concert for SIRIRI
TROUPOVÁ & HROCHOVÁ & ŠEMBERA & JANÁL & STEHLÍK
They say music heals. We take this saying literally and try to use music to help where help is not usually available. Just like last year, we are entering the new year with a benefit concert in cooperation with Salsita s.r.o. This time we have established cooperation with the organization SIRIRI o.p.s., which intensively helps in the Central African Republic. Read more below.
Soprano Irena Troupová, mezzo-soprano Jana Hrochová, baritones Roman Janál and Vojtěch Šembera, and pianists Bohumír Stehlík and Jan Dušek will all perform at the concert without any fee.
The evening will be hosted by Jana Trojanová and Milan Lukáš Šnajdr.
The entire collected entrance fee will be donated to SIRIRI o.p.s. to support the dialysis centre in Bangui run by doctor Cédric Ouanekpon, who will attend the concert in person.
The concert will also feature the premiere of a short documentary film, Healing and Hope in the Heart of Africa, about the above mentioned doctor.
28 / 1 at 18:00
Salsita Club, Praha – Smíchov
Whom are we helping?
SIRIRI is a Czech non-profit organization that helps Central Africans get back on their feet.
Our mission is development aid to “donor orphans” – poor countries that are outside the interests of other organisations and official aid, but cannot do without outside help. Awareness and education for “development thinking” and consciousness of co-responsibility for the situation in Africa.
We implement sustainable development projects in the Central African Republic (CAR) in collaboration with a reliable partner organization on the ground (the Genoese Province of the Barefoot Carmelites). The main goal of all SIRIRI projects is the resulting independence of the people of CAR from outside help – “helping them to stand on their own feet”. SIRIRI seeks to flourish the SAR’s own human and natural potential.
Healthy kidneys as a Christmas wish come true
It’s Christmas Day and my cell phone is ringing into the holiday season. A WhatsApp call from an unknown number with a Central African Republic area code. No, really, I’m not going to deal with work at Christmas yet! So I just write a dry reply saying it’s the holidays and what the person in question needs. I get a reply, “Hello, I’m so sorry to disturb you at Christmas time. Doctor Cédric gave me your number. I just wanted to thank you personally that thanks to your organization we can spend Christmas together as a family. Our son Josué wouldn’t be here otherwise. Thank you and have a wonderful Christmas!” Touchedness is replaced by amazement. It’s a bit like the Bible story when one of the ten lepers returns to thank Jesus for healing him. And so I silently thank the Lord God. And who is Josué? A student at the high school in Bangui, where his daddy also teaches. He’s 19 now. He was just 18 when this story happened. He wasn’t feeling well, and it soon turned out to be malaria. His parents did everything they could for him – including medical care. But the disease was very strong, even frightening. After a few days, the young man’s kidneys failed. The only chance of survival became the possibility of blood dialysis.
Stories that can go on
Fortunately, a new clinic has been operating in Bangui for a year now, headed by a young doctor, Cédric Ouanekpon, who used to see Josué regularly in the paediatrics pavilion next door. Unfortunately, the family no longer had the means to cover the necessary eight sessions of hemodialysis. Cases like this rarely become chronic. One session costs 20,000 Central African francs (750 CZK). Such treatment is equivalent to more than one month’s salary for an ordinary teacher in Bangui. But SIRIRI can fund similar cases, enabling treatment where it would not be possible for financial reasons… and saving the lives of those who would otherwise not receive care and would have to die needlessly. And so we helped in this case. Josué will graduate next year. He would like to become an accountant or maybe just a doctor, seeing how much good it can do!
Taken from Catholic Weekly No. 45/2023
Author Jana Škubalová, SIRIRI, o.p.s.
Irena Troupová – soprano
The eminent Czech soprano Irena Troupová gained international renown through the historically-based interpretation of early music, which she devoted herself to already during her musicology studies at Charles University in Prague. She studied singing under Terezie Blumová in Prague, later under M. Corelli in Berlin. She collaborated with the ensemble Musica Antiqua Praha led by Pavel Klikar, creating a string of recordings and exceptionally successful concerts both at home and abroad. At that time she also found an interest in contemporary music and has worked with the likes of Petr Eben, Svatopluk Havelka and others. After her studies she performed mainly in Germany, but the demand for her talent also grew rapidly in other countries (England, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Poland). She worked with many different ensembles (e.g. Orpheon Consort, Johann-Rosenmüller-Ensemble, Schütz-Akademie, Capella Sagittariana, Dresdener Barockorchester, Lautten-Compagney, Kievskaya Kamerata) and conductors (Howard Arman, Joshua Rifkin, Frieder Bernius, Thomas Hengelbrock, Florian Heyerick, Vojtěch Spurný and others). This cooperation brought about a number of recordings. Irena Troupová was a regular participant in the concert programmes of the State Opera in Berlin and the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. Among the most interesting opera productions that she took part in during her German period, a mention should be made of Monteverdi’s Orfeo headed by Joshua Rifkin in Basel, Freiburg and Mulhouse (the roles of Musica and Proserpine), of the modern premiere of H.I.F. Biber’s opera Arminius in Salzburg (later released on CD), but also of Le malade imaginaire of M.-A. Charpentier and J.-B. Lully in Berlin.
Irena Troupová is a frequent guest singer at international music festivals, including Tage der alten Musik Herne, Pražské jaro (Prague Spring), Festival de musique baroque Caen, Holland-festival oudemuziek Utrecht, Bach-Festival Sumy and Concenturs Moraviae, to name a few.
K projektům staré hudby posledních let patřily programy ve spolupráci s Komickou operou (Berlín), německým rozhlasem NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk) a belgickým dirigentem Florianem Heyerikem (Salto vocale – průřez operami G. Ph. Telemanna), s Musicou Floreou (operní projekty – Ch. W. Gluck: La Danza, G. F. Händel: Terpsicore), ansámblem Tourbillon, Barbarou M. Willi, Jaroslavem Tůmou, Monikou Knoblochovou, Petrou Matějovou a dalšími. V současné době spolupracuje především s mezinárodním souborem Orpheon, se kterým absolvovala koncerty ve Španělsku, Rakousku a Francii a nahrála CD Marin Marais and his friends. Se členy Staatskapelle Berlin uvedla pozoruhodný projekt spojující hudební řeč baroka a moderny Musik im Dialog – Claudio Monteverdi und Luciano Berio v koncertním cyklu Státní opery v Berlíně, na který následně navázal program Bach – reloaded z děl J. S. Bacha.
Irena Troupová has gradually extended her scope to include Romantic and Modern lyrical and operatic works. She has performed songs from German and French Romanticism a number of times at the concerts of the Prague Symphony Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic (the early songs of Gustav Mahler). She has also given voice to Jan Dušek’s orchestral songs Chalomot yehudi’im together with Orchestra BERG for the EBU and the songs of Miloš Štědroň for Czech Radio.
Lately, she has focused her attention on the music of the 20th and 21st century; she recorded Bohuslav Martinů’s opera Le jour de bonté (The Day of Charity) for Arco Diva. She has performed the works of Marek Kopelent (the Singspiel Musica, the cantata Agnus Dei at Prague Spring 2012) – she joined the Prague Philharmonia conducted by Jakub Hrůša to render the premiere of Kopelent’s Pozdní sběr (Late Harvest). She is also actively interested in the music of interwar authors – Viktor Ullmann, Erwin Schulhoff, Norbert von Hannenheim, Philip Herschkowitz – performing their works to international audiences and recording a number of their compositions for Czech Radio and Deutschlandfunk. Irena Troupová is also greatly valued as a tutor of early music, teaching at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts and Masaryk University in Brno, and in courses both in the Czech Republic and abroad.
Irena Troupová is a co-founder of the Lieder Company Prague.
Jana Hrochová – mezzo-soprano
The mezzo-soprano Jana Hrochová (Wallingerová), née Štefáčková, gained her first singing experience in a children’s choir in the Moravian town of Šumperk. She studied at the Prague Conservatory with Jarmila Krásová from 1993 to 1999. In 2001, she began studying privately with the soprano Natalia Romanová. In 1998, she came in second at the Czech Conservatories Singing Contest. Her first engagements took place at the Opera Mozart in Prague between 1997 and 2000, extending her activities to ancient music (with Ars Cameralis) and folk music (with the Muzika Jara ensemble). In 2000, Mrs Hrochová was invited to join the opera company of the National Theatre in Brno, Czech Republic. The repertoire she sang in Brno includes Carmen (Carmen), Laura (La Gioconda), Kate (The Devil and Kate), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Suzuki (Madame Butterfly), The Fox (The Cunning Little Vixen), Varvara (Katja Kabanova), Fenena (Nabucco), Hänsel (Hänsel and Gretel), Nicklausse (The Tales of Hoffmann) and others. Guest performances have taken the young mezzo to a number of opera houses, such as the Prague National Theatre, Prague State Opera, Plzeň, Ústí nad Labem, Liberec, Ostrava, Olomouc (Czech Republic), State Theatre Košice (Slovakia) and Theatre Freiburg (Germany). Mrs Hrochová’s concert activities are an essential part of her repertoire and have brought her together with some leading Czech and foreign orchestras, such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Prague Symphony Orchestra FOK, Prague Radio Symphonic Orchestra, Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, Prague Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra, Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra and others. She works with conductors such as Jiří Bělohlávek, Serge Baudo, Gerd Albrecht, Manfred Honeck, Ondrej Lenárd, Petr Altrichter, Jakub Hrůša, Leoš Svárovský, Tomáš Hanus, Andrej Borejko, Dennis Russell Davies and others. Mrs Hrochová often makes guest appearances at opera houses and concert stages outside the Czech Republic (Great Britain, Japan, China, Spain, Mexico, Greece, Netherlands, Austria, Germany and Italy). In 2011, she sang the alto solo in Dvorak’s Requiem mass at a state funeral of Vaclav Havel. The Brno National Theatre awarded her with the DIVA 2005, 2008 and 2010 Award. In 2012, she was nominated for the Thalia award for her role as Dulcinée in Massenet’s Don Quichotte in a production of the F. X. Šalda Theatre in Liberec. In 2013, she was nominated for the Thalia award for her role as Hermia in Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream in a production of The Brno National Theatre. In 2011 and 2018 she recorded songs by Bohuslav Martinů for Naxos Records. In 2014, she was invited to perform the role of Carmen in the Theatre Freiburg, Germany. In 2016, she made her BBC Proms debut at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Vojtěch Šembera – baritone
Baritone and composer Vojtěch Šembera studied singing at the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno with Jaromír Novotný and Irena Troupová, composition with Ivo Medek and Martin Smolka. He also studied briefly at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, the Netherlands, where he attended composition classes with Cornelis de Bondt, Calliope Tsoupaki and Jan van de Putte, and further improved his singing skills under Noa Frenkel. He has participated in selected interpretation courses abroad (eg VENI Academy, vocal masterclass EMA) and singing masterclasses with Antonio Carangel and Kateřina Kněžíková. In his singing practice, he focuses mainly on the interpretation of contemporary music and the song repertoire. His composing activities are mostly aimed at vocal work and graphic scores.
In 2013 and 2014, he was awarded an honourable mention at the GENERATION International Composition Competition, and in 2015 he was awarded 2nd place at the Antonín Dvořák International Singing Competition in the Opera Hope category. In 2017, he received 2nd place at the Dušek Singing Competition, The President of the EMA prize and 3rd place at the Antonín Dvořák International Singing Competition in the Junior and Song categories.
During his studies at JAMU, he performed in several productions of the JAMU Chamber Opera (M. Hába: The Little Prince – The King, The Snake; W. A. Mozart: The Magic Flute – Papageno;C. Orff: Die Kluge – The Mule Man). He made his professional opera debut at the Silesian Theatre in Opava (A. Dvořák: Rusalka – Hunter) and also performed at the Jan Kajetán Tyl Theatre in Pilsen (A. Thomas: Hamlet – Horatio). In his concert activities he has performed with the Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra (C. Orff: Carmina Burana; J. S. Bach: John’s Passions; A. Dvořák: Biblical Songs), with the National Theatre Orchestra (D. Matej: KyAriAe), North Bohemian Philharmonic Teplice (W. A. Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro – Count Almaviva) and others. In collaboration with Ensemble 18+, he portrayed one of the main roles in the renewed premiere of Joseph Barta’s singspiel Dobrá rada dobrá. He performed his own composition for baritone and orchestra Filoktétés with the Brno Philharmonic and the West Bohemian Symphony Orchestra Mariánské Lázně. Together with Leoš Svárovský and the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, he made a recording of Antonín Dvořák’s Biblical Songs. In the field of contemporary music, he has performed with the ensembles VENI ensemble, Mirror ensemble, at the festival Days of New Opera Ostrava (A. Hába: Thy Kingdom Come –Christ, Lay Preacher; Songbooks – Solo Voice), or with Orchestr BERG (L. Lim: Tongue of the Invisible). During his one-year study stay in the Netherlands, he collaborated with the Orkest de Ereprijs on the Young Composers Meeting project and performed at the Dag in de Branding festival (M. Artaç: Zizos). He regularly collaborates with the Meeting of New Music Plus festival. With his own project Voice Drowned in the Ocean of Silence, which has so far been attended by composers from more than 10 countries, he contributes to expanding the repertoire for solo voice.
Roman Janál – baritone
After graduation from the Pilsen Conservatory in violin playing, Janál studied singing at the Music Academy in Sophia, Bulgaria. During the course of his studies he was guest singer at the State Opera House of Sophia (Don Giovanni, Eugen Onegin, Prince Tarquinius in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia) and appeared at local chamber music festivals. He first worked in Banská Bystrica (Slovakia) after graduating in 1990, he then left for the Prague Chamber Opera (later Mozart Opera). In 1994 he became guest singer of the Pilsen Opera House (Lady of Spades – Tomskij, Faust and Marguerite, – Valentin, Don Giovanni – Don Giovanni, Fidelio – Don Pizarro). After a successful debut in the State Opera of Prague as Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte and Figaro in Barber of Seville, he was a soloist for the State Opera of Prague in 1995. In November 1995 he became over-all winner of the Antonín Dvořák International Singers‘ Competition in Karlovy Vary. Since 1997 he has been the soloist of the National Theatre of Prague where he has performed a number of national and international repertoire parts, such as Grégorio in Romeo and Juliet, Figaro in Barber of Seville, Escamillio in Carmen, Pollux in the Baroque lyric tragedy Castor et Pollux, the title part in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The list of his opera repertoire also includes the parts of Onegin in Yevgeny Onegin, Marcel in La Boheme, Silvio in Cavalleria Rusticana, Conte Almaviva in Figaro’s Wedding, Germont in La Traviata, roles in operas by Martinů, Smetana, Janáček and Dvořák, etc. He has often participated in a number of foreign tours with the Prague National Theatre, such as in Japan, Hong Kong, France, Germany, Netherlands, Korea. Roman Janál has successfully appeared in local and international music festivals such as the Prague Spring, the Smetana Litomyšl, the International Music Festival of Český Krumlov, The Pontes Festival, The Days of Bohuslav Martinů in London, the Europalia Brussels and The B. Martinů Festival in Amsterdam. He regularly collaborates with acclaimed conductors (Jiří Bělohlávek, Christopher Hogwood, Jiří Kout, Serge Baudo, John Fiore, Tomáš Hanus) and with local and international orchestras, including the Prague Philharmonia, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Prague Symphony Orchestra and the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra. In February 2007 he participated in the recording of Janacek´s opera The Excursions of Mr. Broucek (the roles of Sacristan, Lunobor and Domsik) with Jiri Bělohlávek and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, for the BBC and Deutsche Grammophon (released in January 2008). Since 1984, he has recorded extensively for Czech Radio, performing a range of repertoire from opera arias to contemporary Czech song-cycles. These recordings were released on CD and have resulted in the issue of a profile operatic album, including arias from operas by W. A. Mozart, L. van Beethoven, G. Verdi, B. Smetana and others. Roman Janál won the prestigious Thalia Prize in 1999 for the part of Pollux in Rameau’s „Castor and Pollux“ at the National Theatre of Prague.
Bohumír Stehlík – piano
Bohumír Stehlík is one of the foremost Czech pianists of the younger generation. He has distinguished himself both as a soloist and chamber music player, having developed a sensitive instrumental skill and great musical expressive power.
Bohumír’s music education started at an early age at the Music Gymnasium in Prague under Irina Kondratěnko and later on at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague under František Malý. From 2011 to 2016 he studied under well-know Swedish pianist Mats Widlund at Edsberg Music Institute, part of the Royal Academy in Stockholm and one of the most prestigious music academies of Northern Europe. He has been awarded various prizes in many international solo competitions (e.g. Ljunggrenska tävlingen – 1st prize, Stockholm International Music Competition – 2nd price, Virtuosi per Musica di Pianoforte – 1st prize, Concertino Praga – 1st prize etc.). Bohumir also obtained the Yamaha Scholarship Award and the prestigious KMA Swedish National Scholarship for both solo piano, chamber music and accompaniment (maximal sum reached in 2015). A member of Duo du Rêve, Bohumír and flautist Jana Jarkovská won prizes in various competitions of music ensembles (Chieri International Music Competition “Citta di Chieri” – 1st prize, Val Tidone International Chamber Music Competition – 1st prize, Salieri-Zinneti Chamber Music Competition – 3rd prize, winner of ProMusicis International Award in France, winner of ISA Challenge and Open Awards in Austria etc.). He also recorded several CDs with Jana Jarkovska. Outside Duo du Rêve, he collaborates with violinist Markéta Janoušková and is also a member of D’Accord chamber music ensemble.
In addition to his concert activities, he collaborates with Czech Radio. Bohumír also works in productions for the Povaleč Music Festival (CZ) and the „D’Accord, Das Klassikfestival“ in (D), where he also leads the masterclass. He worked as a teacher at the Ingesund Academy of Music at Karlstad University in Sweden and since October 2016 has also been teaching at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno. Bohumír works as a regenschori in the Church of the Name of the Virgin Mary in Křtiny (CZ).
Jan Dušek – piano
Jan Dušek studied at the Conservatory in Teplice (piano, composition). In 2004-2012, he studied composition at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (Hanus Barton), where he finished his doctoral studies in the same field in 2012. Since then, Jan Dušek has taught at the composition department of the Academy. As a pianist he participated in several master courses (Cyprien Katsaris, Irina Ossipova, Angela Hewitt, Lilit Grygorian, Maria João Pires), in 2013/14 he studied piano privately with Robert Lehrbaumer in Vienna, in 2015 with Xiao-Mei Zhu in Paris, and since 2016 with Gordon Fergus-Thompson in London. He has won awards and honourable mentions in competitions (Concertino Praga, the International Piano Competition B. Smetana Competition of Conservatories, Zdenek Fibich International Competition in the interpretation of melodrama). He periodically records contemporary Czech music for Czech Radio, e.g. in 2019, he completed a recording of complete piano works by Rudolf Karel. In 2015 he released a CD of complete songs for soprano and piano by Viktor Ullmann with soprano Irena Troupova. In 2021, they released complete songs by Hans Winterberg. He regularly performs at international music festivals (Prague Spring, Věčná naděje, Junge Kunstler Beyreuth etc.).
In 2006 he was awarded the first prize at the Composers Competition “Generation“ for the piece “… in seven days I will send rain on the Earth …”, and in 2007 at the same competition he again won first prize for the composition “Gradation for organ.” In 2008 he received the ‘Audience’s Prize’ for the composition “Chalomot jehudi’im”, a year later receiving the Prize of Gideon Klein for the same composition. In 2010, his melodrama “Prague Walker” was awarded 2nd prize in the Competition for Young Artists, announced by the City District Prague 1. For his music to accompany the silent film “The Child of the Ghetto”, Jan received the ‘Audience’s Prize’ in the 2011 NuBerg competition. His compositions have been commissioned by festivals and competitions (such as the International Festival of Concert Melodrama, Viktor Ullmann festival Český Těšín, Prague Spring Competition etc.), and performed by leading Czech soloists (such as clarinettist Irvin Venyš and the percussionist Markéta Mazourová) as well as chamber ensembles and orchestras (e.g., Nederlands Blazers Ensemble, Epoque quartet; BERG Orchestra; Prague Philharmonia; Prague Philharmonic Choir). In 2021, Jan co-established the Lieder Company association which aims to promote art song recitals and repertoire.