Songs of Russian Romantics
HROCHOVÁ & JANÁL & KOŠÁREK
The double anniversary of one of the most important late Romantic composers, Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943), is certainly being marked by the entire musical world. His song output is so vast that it is impossible to present it in its entirety. Therefore, the concert will include a representative selection of it and will be complemented by works by other Russian greats Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 – 1893), whose songs are rather rarely performed in this country, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844 – 1908). The latter is usually represented mainly by the symphonic suite Scheherazade, but the songs are completely unknown, although their artistic quality is undeniable.
The songs will be sung in Russian and accompanied by Czech subtitles.
10 / 9 at 19:30
Novoměstská radnice, 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.
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.
Karel Košárek – piano
Karel Košárek graduated from the conservatory in Kroměříž and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. He completed his studies in the USA (SMU Dallas), where he received an Artist Certificate and a Master’s degree in Music. Karel has received prizes at many international competitions, and is a laureate of the Walter Naumburg Competition in New York (1997).
Karel gave recitals in recent seasons in New York, Dallas, Palm Beach, Calgary, Tel Aviv, St. Petersburg and Bangkok, as well as concert appearances in Europe and Japan documenting his international artistic activities. He has also performed at international music festivals and collaborated with leading orchestras including the Czech Philharmonic, Prague Philharmonic, FOK Symphony Orchestra, Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra, St. Petersburg Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonietta Cracovia, Klaipeda Chamber Orchestra.
Karel’s recordings have been released by Supraphon, Hyperion, Etcetera, Naxos, Navona records and Radioservis. His first solo recording included compositions by B. Smetana, B. Martinů, S. Barber and G. Gershwin. In 2005, together with the acclaimed Czech baritone Roman Janál, he recorded the CD Gypsy Melodies – a song recital for Supraphon. In collaboration with violinist Bohuslav Matoušek and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Christopher Hogwood, he recorded a CD of concertante compositions by Bohuslav Martinů (released by Hyperion). His most recent recordings include a solo recital of piano works by B. Martinů for Supraphon (the CD contains several pieces recorded in world premiere), Concertos for piano and orchestra by F.X.Dušek with the Prague Chamber Orchestra (Etcetera records). In autumn 2017, Supraphon released a CD of chamber music for piano and strings by Petr Eben, which Košárek recorded with the Martinů Quartet.
In 2009 he gave a recital in the World Piano Works series and accompanied Magdalena Kožená in the USA (New York, Washington, Atlanta, San Francisco). In May 2010, he performed Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet in G minor with the Skampa Quartet at the Prague Spring Festival and appeared at the Janáček May Festival in Ostrava. In January 2011 he performed Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.3 in D minor with the FOK Symphony Orchestra under Zdeněk Mácal. In the 2011-12 season he performed as a soloist at subscription concerts of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra /B.Britten Piano Concerto/, Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra Olomouc /Gershwin, Bernstein/, Lithuanian National Opera Orchestra. With the Prague Philharmonic he performed at the Janáček May Festival /J.Francaix/ and with the Brno Philharmonic at the Špilberk Festival /Gershwin/. In September 2012 he premiered Aleš Březina’s piano concerto “Falling Leaves” with the Prague Philharmonic at the Musica Holešov Festival. In the 2013-14 season, he performed at the Resonanzen Festival in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and with the Baborák Ensemble at the Prague Spring Festival. He has also collaborated with the singer and actress Sonia Červena, with whom he performed at the Janáček May Festival, with the Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra and at the Zlátá Praha Festival.