Antonín Dvořák: Requiem
About the program
Interview with Juliane Banse:
First you learned to play the violin, then you started ballet, and finally you opted for singing when you were 15. Why did you opt for your own voice as your method of expression?
I loved both the violin and especially the ballet very much, and the decision to leave these two things was not easy. But I had the impression and also made the experience that through my voice I had more room and more possibilities to express myself personally. Singing includes the whole personality, the whole body and mind, and it became more and more clear to me, that this was the best way for me to be an artist.
How did your role of Pamina in The Magic Flute become an international success when you were just twenty?
It was not immediately an international success, the production took place in East-Berlin, when the wall was still up for some more weeks….. But right that after this, I got invited to many other opera houses in Europe to perform this role, it somehow became my “entry ticket” to the international opera world. Apparently the Berlin production got a lot of attention in the press, as all productions of Harry Kupfer did, when he was leading the Komische Oper.
You have sung quite a lot with symphony orchestras, but you have also performed with András Schiff several times. Which is closer to you?
I cannot answer to this question. These different genres influence each other in a very positive way, I would not want to chose. The very intimate way of working with a great pianist is of course very, very inspiring, but the bigger “frame” of a symphony orchestra gives you other possibilities……it all has its right to be!
You have worked with the BFO before. What makes the BFO special?
I have worked with the orchestra several times, we did a wonderful production of “Cosi fan tutte” both in Budapest and in Gran Canaria, and also that great wonderful ” Don Giovanni” in 2010!! It is always a great pleasure to work with the BFO and Ivan Fischer, the musicality and the joy of making music, together with their great technical ability is just outstanding!!!
Where would you categorise Dvorak among your many roles?
This is the first time, I sing this peace. In general Dvorak writes very well for the voice, very beautiful lines and melodies, it is always a pleasure to sing Dvorak.
About the piece:
After the extraordinary success in England of the large-scale oratorical Dvořák pieces, “Stabat mater”, ”The Spectre’s Bride” and “Saint Ludmilla” composed in the 1870s and 1880s – the two latter compositions originally commissioned for Leeds and Birmingham – the Requiem was also ordered from Birmingham in 1888.
The busy composer started composing only at the beginning of 1890, on the first day of the year, and due to travelling abroad he had to suspend his work several times. The partiture was ready by the end of October, and the premiere was held a year later, on 9 October 1891 in Birmingham. It was conducted by the composer himself. In the following months, the Dvořák’s masterpiece was performed in other British cities, in Bohemia and in the United States.
Requiem – like Verdi’s death mass composed seventeen years earlier – was originally composed for concert venues, not for clerical purposes.
Around the concert
12 September 2013, 7.30 pm
Palace of Arts, Festival Theatre
Born into a musical family headed by a Moravian mother and a Slovak father, Bittová has concentrated mostly on the latter since the mid-eighties, although she is still able to dominate the stage through her use of gestures, props and costumes, not to mention her gift for mimicry. Exuding a child-like sense of nature and freedom, she swiftly has the audience wrapped around her finger, just as she does with the “classical musicians” who accompany her. With complete abandon, she coos, chirps and warbles at her violin, which responds in kind. Never for a single moment would one doubt that it is enchantment of an angelic nature she is creating that draws one so intimately into this deeply personal “folk music”.
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Antonín Dvořák: Requiem