Prague – The opening concert of this year's 11th edition of the Dvořák Prague International Music Festival, held in the Rudolfinum on 7 September 2018, will feature a work that brings together the extraordinary mastery of two geniuses: composer Antonín Dvořák and poet Karel Jaromír Erben. The Specter's Bride is a cantata that bonds Dvořák's music with Erben's poetry to create a work of art with an emotionally strong impact. The performance will be delivered by the Czech Philharmonic and the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno under the direction of Jakub Hrůša. The part of the maiden who prayed for her sinful desires and nearly paid with her life for doing so will be performed by soprano Kateřina Kněžíková, while tenor Richard Samek will lend his voice to her dead lover. Baritone Svatopluk Sem will assume the role of the narrator. Despite its dramatic and musical qualities, this extraordinary work is rarely featured in concerts.
Jakub Hrůša will also conduct the Czech Philharmonic in a unique rendition of the original complete version of Saint Ludmila, a monumental oratorio whose symbolic performance on September 15, the day on which the Czech saint died, will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the sovereign state of the Czech and Slovak nations. ‘We want to honor the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia by showcasing Dvořák's great work that embodies his humility, faith, and unassuming patriotism as well as his ability to see beyond the horizon, to appreciate the world, and to enrich others with music that is intrinsically rooted in his nation's heritage, but, at the same time, transcends all borders,’ said the festival's Artistic Director Marek Vrabec. Saint Ludmila will be performed not only in the Rudolfinum, but also on Jan Palach Square, on an outdoor stage where the performers from the concert in Rudolfinum's Dvořák Hall will be joined by 250 singers from other choirs. The concert will be shown on a large screen and broadcast live on Czech Television. Apart from the concert performances, the program, which begins at 5:00 p.m., will offer interviews with artists and other prominent guests.
During the ensuing evenings, the Dvořák Prague Festival will present the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, a London-based orchestra known for refined renditions of Mozart's works, their compatriots from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Camerata Salzburg from Austria, and the Staatskapelle Dresden which is returning with conductor Manfred Honeck and the charming Bernarda Fink following a two-year hiatus. The lineup of star soloists featured in this year's edition is headed by extraordinary pianist Krystian Zimerman. Other great performers to grace the festival's stages will include excellent younger generation pianists Evgeny Kissin and Valentina Lisitsa, and violinist Janine Jansen. The curator of the festival's Chamber Series will be the outstanding Israeli clarinetist Sharon Kam.
A significant position among the donors of the Dvořák International Music Festival Prague belongs to the patron of culture Mr. Karel Komárek, whose Karel Komárek Family Foundation has replaced the KKCG investment group. The festival has been supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and the City of Prague since the very beginning.