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Martinů’s Ariane

Rudolfinum: Dvořák HallAlšovo nábřeží 12, Prague, Central Bohemian Region, Praha 1, Czech Republic
Dates/times in Prague time zone
Wednesday 16 December 202019:30
Thursday 17 December 202019:30
Friday 18 December 202019:30

Choosing Dvořák’s Sixth Symphony for the Advent period is no coincidence. Václav Talich called it the “Christmas Symphony” for the lovely melody of the slow movement. The whole symphony is imbued with the peaceful happiness the composer was experiencing at the time of writing. He was finally getting international recognition and his works had begun to be played in Vienna, Berlin, London, and other great cities around the world. He was receiving commissions from the most important musical institutions and the new symphony was making its way triumphantly from Prague to Leipzig, Dresden, Cologne, Frankfurt, Vienna, and Budapest. During the rehearsals for its London première, the conductor Hans Richter wrote to Dvořák: “This morning was the first rehearsal of your beautiful work. I am proud of the dedication. The orchestra is really enthusiastic. The performance is on Monday the 15th at 8 p.m. I’m sure it will be a great success. It is also being lovingly rehearsed…”

Another Christmas gift is the concert performance of Bohuslav Martinů’s Ariane. Tomáš Netopil made an acclaimed recording of this lovely one-act opera with the Essen Philharmonic in 2016 and four years later he is preparing a live performance in Prague. Georges Neveux turned the homecoming of Theseus into a stage play and for Martinů it was material that allowed him to catch his breath: “I’m writing a new little opera, one act, to take a bit of a rest from the big opera, The Greek Passion, which is taking a lot of work.” In just a month in the summer of 1958, Martinů was able to compose the music for the well-known story of the king’s daughter Ariane (Ariadne), who helps Theseus kill the Minotaur.

© Petr Kadlec
© Petr Kadlec
December 2020
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