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Songs To The Virgin Mary
TROUPOVÁ & HILSCHEROVÁ & JEŽEK & SÍTKOVÁ
Let’s allow the songs that have been silent for decades to be heard!
In the context of the Lieder Company Prague concerts, this will be an exceptional evening in which we will exchange the concert hall for an intimate church setting, the piano for the majestic sound of the organ and listen to rarely performed Czech sacred vocal music of the 20th and 21st centuries. This repertoire is often overlooked in concerts – undoubtedly due to the long years of totalitarian rule, anti-religious restrictions, and cultural dictatorship, which violently interrupted a tradition of Czech sacred music that was several hundred years old. Authors composing sacred works were persecuted during the communist era, often standing outside the official sphere despite their undisputed qualities, and their work fell into oblivion without the possibility of performance and publication.
The programme will feature works by Norbert Kubát, Jaromír Herle, Vojtěch Adalbert Říhovský, Leoš Janáček, Bedřich Antonín Wiedermann and Jan Hanuš, and contemporary composers Luboš Sluka, Petr Fiala, and especially Olga Ježková and Jan Bernátek, who composed works specifically for this concert.
The interprets will perform on the organ balcony, but the audience can watch them thanks to a projection.
28 / 5 / 2023 at 19:30
Church Panna Maria pod řetězem, Prague
Watch the videos in which the composer Olga Ježková talks about her diptych Invocation of the Virgin Mary, which she composed for this concert on our commission, and the composer Jan Bernátek about his cycle Four Songs to the Virgin Mary.
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.
Irena’s early music projects over recent years include programmes in cooperation with the Comic Opera (Berlin), German radio NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk) and Belgian conductor Florian Heyerik (Salto vocale – fragments from the operas of G. Ph. Telemann), with Musica Florea (operatic projects – Ch. W. Gluck: La Danza, G. F. Händel: Terpsicore), Ensemble Tourbillon, Barbara M. Willi, Jaroslav Tůma, Monika Knoblochová, Petra Matějová and others. More recently, she has been working closely with the international ensemble Orpheon; they have toured Spain, Austria and France together and have also recorded an album, Marin Marais and his friends. She has collaborated with members of the Staatskapelle Berlin, joining in a fascinating project connecting the musicality of the Baroque with that of the Modern: Musik im Dialog – Claudio Monteverdi und Luciano Berio, a concert cycle in the State Opera in Berlin which was followed by a programme from the works of J. S. Bach, Bach – reloaded.
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.
Lucie Hilscherová – mezzo-soprano
The Czech mezzo-soprano Lucie Hilscherová has been a guest singer at the National Theatre in Prague, the National Maravian-Silesian Theatre, the DJKT Theatre in Pilsen, the Silesian Theater in Opava, the State Theater in Košice and the Nationaltheater Mannheim (Quickly in Falstaff, Panna Róza in The Secret, Mère Marie de l’Incarnation in Dialogues des Carmélites, Emilie in Otello, Martha in Jolanta, Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro, Háta in The Bartered Bride, Martinka in The Kiss etc.). Besides opera, her musical activities also include concerts. She realises a wide musical spectrum, ranging from Baroque to contemporary music. Her concert engagements include mezzo-soprano/alto parts e.g.:. in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Mattheus Passion, Händel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Missa Solemnis, Rossini’s Stabat Mater and Petite Messe Solennelle, Dvořák’s Stabat Mater, Saint Ludmila and Requiem, Verdi’s Requiem, Mahler’s The Song of the Earth and Symphony No. 2, Stravinski‘s Les Noces, Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky and Berio’s Folk Songs.
She has worked with conductors such as Helmuth Rilling, David Porcelijn, Alexander Vedernikov, Kazushi Ono, Libor Pešek, Jiří Bělohlávek, Tomáš Netopil, Petr Vronský and Leoš Svárovský, and with orchestras such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR, Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, Tonkünstler Orchestra, Orchestra of Poznań Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Prague Symphony Orchestra, PKF-Prague Philharmonia, Brno Philharmonic and Collegium 1704. She has sung at Musikfest Stuttgart, Beethovenfest Bonn, Richard Strauss Festival Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Prague Spring, Easter Festival of Sacred Music Brno, Smetana’s Litomyšl and Peter Dvorský International Music Festival.
Lucie Hilscherová obtained a Master’s degree in Solo singing as well as in Psychology and Music Teaching at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen. An Erasmus scholarship enabled her to study at the College of Humanities of Chemnitz University (Germany).
She has regularly participated in Bachakademie Stuttgart, led by Helmut Rilling. She attended master classes by Helen Donath, Hedwig Fassbender, Gabriela Beňačková, Dagmar Pecková or Zlatica Livorová.
She has received a number of awards and prizes (Cantilena Competition Bayreuth; “Musica Sacra“ International Competition in Roma; Dvořák International Singing Competition in Karlovy Vary).
Štěpán Ježek – violin
Štěpán Ježek (*1979) has been playing music since the age of five. He graduated from the Prague Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts, where he founded the Bennewitz Quartet in 1998, of which he is still a member. With this ensemble, he continued his postgraduate studies at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in Madrid and at the Musik-Akademie in Basel, and also participated in many masterclasses.
As a member of the Bennewitz Quartet, Jezek has won numerous awards at international competitions (ARD Munich, Osaka Chamber Music Competition, Premio Paolo Borciani). He has performed with the ensemble in Europe, Asia and America and has made numerous recordings for the Supraphon, Coviello Classics and Hänssler Classic labels, as well as for radio and television.
In addition to his work with the Bennewitz Quartet, Ježek is a historically informed interpreter of early music. He has attended several masterclasses with performers specializing in this repertoire (Sonia Monosoff, Catharine Macintosh, Simon Standage) and performed with leading Czech ensembles specializing in this period (Collegium 1704, Musica Florea).
On the other side of the stylistic spectrum is Ježek’s interest in contemporary music. He premiered several chamber works by Olga Ježková (Zažíhání / Running, Dialogues of a Little Prince, Duo for violin and clarinet) and Pavel Hrabánek’s Art Nouveau Triple Concerto.
Štěpán Ježek is a professor of violin at the Gymnasium and Music School of the Capital City of Prague. He teaches chamber music at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.
Linda Sítková – organ
Linda Sítková is a Czech organist, belonging to the top of contemporary Czech organ musicians. Her main activities include concerts in Czech Republic and abroad, teaching and musical accompaniments of the liturgy. She serves as an organist in parishes at St. Jan na Skalce of Prague New Town and at St. Salvator in Prague 1.
Linda Sítková comes from Rožnov pod Radhoštěm, where she attended the Primary Art School in the class of Eva Průšová and Libuše Pavelčáková. After graduating from the local grammar school, she entered the Prague Conservatory in 1999 to the organ class of Prof. Jan Hora. From 2003 to 2008 she continued her studies under his guidance at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. From 2004 to February 2009 she was a student at the prestigious Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Stuttgart with the outstanding Norwegian organist and teacher Prof. Jon Laukvik. In 2010 she continued her studies in Stuttgart also with Prof. J. Laukvik in the Solistenklasse, which she successfully completed in 2012. In 2013, she completed her studies at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague in the doctoral program in the class of Prof. J. Hora and received her Ph.D. degree (dissertation topic “Organ in instrumental chamber ensembles in Czech music after 1945”). She actively participated in master classes with leading teachers and interpreters of organ literature (Ewald Kooiman, Ludger Lohmann, Martin Sander, Harald Vogel, Almut Rössler, Thiery Mechler and others).
Linda Sítková is a successful laureate of many domestic and international competitions. She is the winner of the Opava 2000 International Organ Competition and the winner of the Czech Music Fund Award for the best performance of a contemporary composition. She also won the 3rd prize at the Voříšek Vamberk Competition (2001), the 3rd prize at the International Organ Competition Brno 2002, the 3rd prize at the International Organ Competition of J. P. Sweelinck in Gdańsk (2003) and in 2004 she became the absolute winner of the International Organ Competition in Mülheim, Germany. In 2005 she won 2nd prize at the International Bach Prize Competition in Wiesbaden. In 2006 she was a finalist for the Honorable Mention in the Prague Spring Competition. In 2007 she won the Jean Langlais Prize at the International Organ Competition in St. Albans (England). In 2009, she was the only Czech participant in the history of the competition since 1963 to win the 2nd prize in performance at the same competition.
Currently, she regularly performs in this country and abroad (she has appeared at the International Organ Festivals in Chartres (France), Birmingham (England), Edinburgh (Scotland), Naumburg, Stuttgart, Nürnberg, Bonn, Karlsruhe (Germany), Wien (Austria) and others). He has collaborated with the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra in Ostrava, the South Bohemian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Prague Philharmonic Choir, the Bach-College Prague and other symphonic and chamber ensembles.
She also works intensively with leading Czech solo musicians (Lucie Hilscherová – mezzo-soprano, Roman Janál – baritone, Jan Verner – trumpet, Marie Fuxová – violin, Magdalena Mašláňová – violin, Jan Adamus – oboe and others).
In addition to her concert activities, she is a private teacher in Czech, German and English.