Hope I. - 23 February 2023, 7.30 pm
Church of St. Simon and Judas
Opening concert "Terezín 1943"
Giuseppe Verdi - Requiem
Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno
Petr Fiala – choir master
Tomáš Brauner – conductor
Helena Fialová – piano
Jan Siber – soprano
Jana Sýkorová – alto
Tomáš Černý – tenor
Jozef Benci – bass
Rafael Schächter was a Czechoslovak composer, pianist and conductor of Jewish origin who actively participated in the cultural life of the Terezin ghetto. Thanks to his unrelenting desire to perform his beloved music, which did not leave him even in the tragic moments of his life, unrepeatable performances of The Marriage of Figaro, The Bartered Bride or Giuseppe Verdi's Requiem were created. In the case of Verdi's magnum opus, it was the biggest musical project to take place in Terezín, and in 2023 we are commemorating 80 years since the Terezín performance. Modern reruns of this thematic program, including a screening of the film Defiant Requiem, took place in Terezín as part of the MHF Prague Spring and also in the Cathedral of St. Welcome, but always in a symphonic version, i.e. accompanied by an orchestra. At the Eternal Hope festival, we will present a historical reconstruction of the Terezín performance, which was performed sixteen times only accompanied by a piano. It will be an emotionally charged evening in a supremely professional performance. The concert will feature one of the best European choral ensembles, the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno (choirmaster Petr Fiala) under the leadership of FOK Chief Conductor Tomáš Brauner. The soloists of the evening will be Jana Sibera, Tomáš Černý, Jana Sýkorová and Jozef Benci. This concert takes place on the 210th anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi.
Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno
The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno is an absolute leader in the field of choral art not only in the Czech Republic but also in the world. Conductors, orchestras and soloists with whom the choir has cooperated so far speak highly of it. Professional critics praise the choir's compact sound and the wide range of expressive means at its disposal. The Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno performs at all prestigious European festivals and major concerts and always manages to captivate the audience with its extraordinary musical sensitivity.
The choir focuses on oratorio, cantata and opera repertoire. It performs over ninety concerts a year at home and abroad, and collaborates with the world's finest orchestras and conductors. It has an extensive discography and has won numerous awards for its recordings, including the 2007 Echo Klassik Award for its recording of Anton Bruckner's motets and Franz Liszt's oratorio Christus. The choir has also won awards on other continents; the Japanese music-critical magazine Geijutsu Disc Review awarded the choir the prestigious Tokusen Award in September 2011 for its live recording of Dvořák's Requiem. The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno is the recipient of the 2019 Classic Prague Awards in the category "Vocal Performance".
Behind the success of the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno is its founder, choirmaster and director Petr Fiala. He graduated from the Brno Conservatoire and JAMU (piano, composition, conducting). In addition to his teaching and composing activities (he is the author of nearly 200 compositions), he has been a choirmaster and conductor for more than fifty years. Petr Fiala is a laureate of a number of national and international competitions, he is a lecturer at conducting courses and a member of international juries. He is invited as a guest conductor to our and foreign orchestras and choirs. He founded the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno in 1990 and under his leadership it has worked its way up to one of the best European choral ensembles. In 2009, Petr Fiala received the Order of Cyril and Methodius from the Czech Bishops' Conference for outstanding achievements in his field, in 2013 the Brno City Prize in Music for his long-standing artistic activity and representation of the city of Brno, and in 2016 the South Moravian Region Prize for significant representation of the South Moravian Region in the field of culture.
Tomáš Brauner studied oboe and conducting at the Prague State Conservatory and in 2005 graduated in conducting from the Faculty of Music of the Academy of Performing Arts. He then studied at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna. He began his career as an opera conductor at the J. K. Tyl Theatre in Pilsen, and in 2008 he made his debut at the Prague State Opera. In 2010, he won the Dimitris Mitropoulos International Conducting Competition in Athens. He conducts at the National Theatre in Prague, the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre in Ostrava, and has been a guest conductor at major domestic festivals (Dvořák's Prague, Smetana's Litomyšl, International Festival Český Krumlov) and festivals abroad (Bad Kissingen, Richard Strauss Festival in Garmisch-Partenkirchen). In 2013-2018 he held the position of chief conductor of the Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2014-2018 he also served as principal guest conductor of the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra in Prague. In 2018-2021 he was the chief conductor of the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra in Zlín and the principal guest conductor of the Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra. From the 2020/2021 season Tomáš Brauner is the chief conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra. He will be the principal conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra. In 2020-21, during the pandemic, he recorded with the FOK Dvořák's Slavonic Dances, compositions by Karel Husa (including Music for Prague 1968) and Sergei Rachmaninov's piano concertos with Lukáš Vondráček.
Soprano Jana Sibera is a soloist at the National Theatre Opera in Prague and a regular guest at the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre in Ostrava, where she created the title character in Jules Massenet's Manon Lescaut in 2022, for which she won the Thalia Award.
Jana Sibera graduated from the Prague State Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. She is one of the most sought-after performers in the soprano field in the Czech Republic, her key roles include characters from the classical and romantic opera repertoire: Mozart's Susanna (The Marriage of Figaro) and Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Verdi's Violetta (La traviata) and Gilda (Rigoletto), Donizetti's Lucia (Lucia di Lammermor) and Maria (Daughter of the Regiment), Ambroise Thomas's Ophelia (Hamlet), Gounod's Juliet (Romeo and Juliet), from the Czech repertoire Terinka in Dvořák's Jacobin, in Smetana's operas Blaženka (The Secret) and Mařenka (The Bartered Bride), the title role of Janáček's Fox Bystrouška. She successfully performed the role of Ophelia at Göteborgs Operan in Sweden and the role of Violetta at the National Opera of Ireland in Dublin. Jana Sibera has collaborated with all major orchestras in the Czech Republic and has toured Japan, Korea and China. She was the only guest on Jonas Kaufmann's profile CD (Decca - 475 9966).
Jana Sýkorová made her debut in 1996 in a minor role in Richard Strauss's Rosenkavalier and the following year as La Cieca in Ponchielli's Gioconda on the stage of the Prague State Opera, in 1999 she became its soloist. On this stage, she performed roles in the operas Carmen (Bizet), Orlando Furioso (Vivaldi), The Devil and Kate (Dvořák), Mignon (Thomas), in the world premieres of Joseph Merrick's The Elephant Man (Petitgirard) - a role she also performed in Nice, France, and in the world premieres of Emile Viklicky's Phaedra and The Ploughman and Death. Since 2012 she has been a soloist of the National Theatre Opera. Her profile roles also include Verdi's Azucena (Il trovatore) and Fenena (Nabucco), Charlotte in Massenet's Werther and Ježibaba (Rusalka). She has appeared as Carmen in a total of eight different productions and is considered one of the best contemporary performers of this role. In 2007 she made her successful debut as Maddalena (Verdi, Rigoletto) at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London, and has also made guest appearances in Wales, Berlin, Nice, Dijon and Helsinki. She is also active in the concert repertoire, with solo parts in Dvořák's oratorio St. Ludmila and his Requiem, Janáček's Glagolitic Mass, Mahler's Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3, etc. She has sung the viola solo in Verdi's Requiem at many festivals, including Rheingau in Germany.
Tenor Tomáš Černý is the winner of the Thalia Award 2000 for the role of Su-Chong in Lehár's The Land of Smiles and the Libuška Award of the 2005 Opera Festival for his portrayal of Edgardo in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. Abroad, he is considered a specialist in the Czech, especially Dvořák's concert repertoire; his recording of Dvořák's Requiem (ArcoDiva) won a prestigious Japanese award in 2011. He has guest-starred as Laca Klemen in Janáček's Her Shepherdess at the Staatstheater Stuttgart, as the Prince in Dvořák's Rusalka at the Zurich Opera in 2010 and at the Staatstheater Nuremberg in 2013, and as Boris in Janáček's Kata Kabanová in Basel in 2009 and 2010. Among Tomáš Černý's profile roles are Don José in Bizet's Carmen, in Puccini's operas Cavaradossi (Tosca), Rodolfo (La bohème) and Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), Radames in Verdi's Aida and Hoffmann in Offenbach's Hoffmann's Tales; from the Czech repertoire, in addition to the aforementioned, he also played Jeník in The Bartered Bride. Tomáš Černý has performed on leading international stages, from Tokyo's Oji Hall to most European countries to the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. He is a frequent guest of prestigious domestic and international festivals and opera houses (National Theatre and State Opera in Prague, Komische Oper Berlin, Staatstheater Wiesbaden, Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava, etc.) and has collaborated with many renowned conductors.
Slovak bassist Jozef Benci graduated from the Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava under the direction of Sergei Kopčák. Since 2007 he has been performing regularly as a soloist with the Slovak National Theatre Opera in Bratislava and the National Theatre in Prague, with the Czech Philharmonic, Slovak Philharmonic and Brno Philharmonic. Among his most prominent roles are Collin in Puccini's La Bohème, the Waterboy in Dvořák's Rusalka, Ferrando in Verdi's Il Trovatore, Sarastro in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Mephisto in Gounod's Faust and Lucifer in Dvořák's The Devil and Kate. In 2011, he participated in a concert performance of Smetana's The Bartered Bride in London in the role of Kecal under the baton of Jiří Bělohlávek.
His concert appearances in the bass parts of works by Janáček (Glagolitic Mass), Dvořák (Stabat Mater, Requiem, Saint Ludmila) and Verdi (Requiem) are also significant. In addition to domestic performances, he has appeared in Luxembourg, France, Romania, Italy, Austria, Poland and Germany. In the autumn of 2022 he took part as King Hydraot in a production of Dvořák's Armida at the Wexford Festival in Ireland.
Pianist Helena Fialová studied piano at the Brno Conservatory and later at the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts. In 1998 she won the 2nd prize in the JAMU competition for a Yamaha scholarship. In 1999 she won 3rd prize at the international piano competition "Beethoven's Hradec", where she was also awarded two other prizes. She cooperates with leading instrumentalists and opera singers. She is a piano teacher at the Brno Conservatory and at the same time she is an accompanist of the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno.