Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra

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June 2024

R9 / Grieg's Piano Concerto - 3/11/2024 Monday 7:30 PM

The programme featuring the leading Estonian conductor Olari Eltse will open with the world premiere of a new piece by Lukáš Hurník. The composer, who for many years worked as the editor-in-chief of the Czech Radio Vltava station and now heads its D-dur station, named his composition Radio with the subtitle “a symphonic documentary” to pay tribute to Czech Radio and its century-long history. The soloist of the evening will be the pianist Marianna Shirinyan, born in Yerevan, Armenia. Accompanied by Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, she will perform one of the most popular works in her instrument’s repertoire, the dramatic and lyrical Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by the Norwegian composer Edvard Hagerup Grieg. We will stay with Scandinavia after the break, when Symphony No. 5 by Jean Sibelius will be performed. The Finnish composer, popular mainly for his Violin Concerto and symphonic poem Finlandia, noted in his diary that one of the main themes of the three-movement symphony was inspired by the flight of sixteen swans he observed in the Nordic sky.


R10 / Tristan and Isolde ⬩ Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra - 3/25/2024 Monday 7:30 PM

During his first three seasons as chief conductor of the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Petr Popelka decided to stage three acts of Tristan and Isolde. The revolutionary work caused an upheaval in its time and forever changed the understanding of opera as a musical and theatrical form. In the medieval story of the powerful but forbidden love between a Breton nobleman and an Irish princess, Richard Wagner developed his concept of opera as a complex work where all the components serve the strongest possible effect of the whole. At the same time, he fully developed his innovative harmonic language, which influenced music for decades to come. In the second act, we will see tenor Roy Cornelius Smith as Tristan and soprano Ricarda Merbeth as Isolde. In the famous love duet, they fully confess their feelings for each other, and in the dramatic conclusion Tristan falls wounded after the betrayal of his friend Melot.


R11 / Suk – Dvořák – Martinů ⬩ Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra - 4/29/2024 Monday 7:30 PM

The renowned conductor Petr Altrichter will present a programme of music by three generations of Czech composers with the PRSO who are interconnected by the teacher-student relationship. Josef Suk, whose brilliant Fantastic Scherzo will be performed as the first piece, was a student of Antonín Dvořák, the author of the symphonic poem The Golden Spinning Wheel, inspired by the ballad of the same name from Karel Jaromír Erben’s collection A Bouquet of Czech Folktales. The evening will culminate with the Czech Rhapsody, a cantata for baritone, organ and orchestra. The young Bohuslav Martinů, a student of Josef Suk, composed it in 1918, the year when Czechoslovakia gained its independence. In his patriotic work, he used the text of a biblical psalm, the poem Bohemia by Jaroslav Vrchlický, and the Saint Wenceslas Chorale. He dedicated the piece to the writer Alois Jirásek. The successful premiere took place in 1919 in the presence of the president of the newly established republic, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk.


R12 / My Fatherland ⬩ Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra - 6/10/2024 Monday 7:30 PM & 6/12/2024 Wednesday 7:30 PM

The Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra’s season will culminate in style. At the final concert of the subscription season, the orchestra under the direction of chief conductor Petr Popelka will bid farewell to the audience with a performance of the complete cycle of symphonic poems My Fatherland by Bedřich Smetana. In a year when the whole world will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of the composer considered by many to be one of the fathers of Czech classical music, the audience will be offered not only the popular symphonic poem Vltava, but also the famed Vyšehrad, the dramatic Šárka, the poem From Bohemian Fields and Groves celebrating Czechia’s landscape, the Hussite-inspired Tábor and the monumental Blaník. The performance of an iconic piece of the national repertoire in the interpretation of one of the most interesting Czech conductors of today promises to be an extraordinary event.

Program and cast

R9 / Grieg's Piano Concerto - 3/11/2024 Monday 7:30 PM

Lukáš Hurník
Radio, a symphonic documentary for the 100th anniversary of Czech Radio, world premiere, commissioned by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra

Edvard Grieg
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in A minor, Op. 16

Jean Sibelius
Symphony No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 82

Olari Elts conductor
Marianna Shirinyan piano

R10 / Tristan and Isolde ⬩ Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra - 3/25/2024 Monday 7:30 PM

Richard Wagner
Tristan and Isolde, Act II

Petr Popelka conductor
Roy Cornelius Smith Tristan, tenor
Ricarda Merbeth Isolde, soprano
Gihoon Kim Melot, baritone
Magnus Piontek King Marke, bass
Simone Schröder Brangäne, mezzo-soprano

R11 / Suk – Dvořák – Martinů ⬩ Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra - 4/29/2024 Monday 7:30 PM

Josef Suk
Fantastic Scherzo, op. 25

Antonín Dvořák
The Golden Spinning Wheel, symphonic poem, op. 109

Bohuslav Martinů
Czech Rhapsody, H. 118

Petr Altrichter conductor
Ivan Kusnjer baritone
Daniela Valtová Kosinová organ
Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno
Petr Fiala choirmaster

R12 / My Fatherland ⬩ Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra - 6/10/2024 Monday 7:30 PM & 6/12/2024 Wednesday 7:30 PM

Bedřich Smetana
My Fatherland

Petr Popelka conductor


The Rudolfinum, one of the most noteworthy buildings in Prague, was built between 1876 and 1884 according to the designs of architects Josef Zítek and Josef Schulze. Originally intended as a multipurpose cultural building in Prague, the Rudolfinum was inagurated on February 7, 1885. It carried out its mission until 1919, when it was converted to the House of Commons of the Czechoslovak Republic. Concert activity was restored to the Rudolfinum during the German occupation, but full rehabilitation, particularly of the gallery, did not take place until 1992. After a general reconstruction by architect Karel Prager in 1992, the Rudolfinum became the home of the Czech Philharmonic and the Rudolfinum Gallery.


Dvorana – Ceremony Hall

The central space in the gallery portion of the Rudolfinum was designed by Josef Zítek and Josef Schulz as an entrance hall to the art gallery. After 1918, however, this space was converted into a parliamentary cafeteria, and after World War II it served as a gymnasium for the Prague Conservatory. At the end of the 1980s, Ceremony Hall was threatened with reconstruction – but plans to tear down the main staircase to make room for another concert hall did not go through, and the hall retained its original appearance. Of particular interest in Ceremony Hall are 25 empty spaces on its walls, which were originally intended to be filled in with frescos. The majority of the eminent Czech painters, however, boycotted the 1891 fresco competition in protest over the large number of German artists involved in the construction of the Rudolfinum.


Dvořák Hall

The Czech Philharmonic took the stage in this world-famous concert hall in 1896, performing for its first-ever concert under the baton of Antonín Dvořák himself. The hall remained a space for concerts and performances until 1918, at which time it became a boardroom for the new parliament of the Czechoslovak Republic. The stage and the organ loft became a tribunal (garnished with a statue of President T.G. Masaryk), from which parliamentary leaders presided over proceedings. The hall's original character (and purpose) was restored
in 1940–1942 according to a project conceived by Antonín Engel and Bohumír Kozák, and it has remained in this form through to the present. In accordance with Josef Zítek and Josef Schulz's original proposal, the central visual element in the hall is an organ, which was made in Frankfurt, Germany. During the hall's stint as a parliamentary meeting place, the organ was housed in Brno. When it returned to the Rudolfinum in 1940, its register was extended. Dvořák Hall's final update took place in 1992 when the entire Rudolfinum building underwent reconstruction.


When travelling by public transport, get off at the Staroměstská metro station (Line A), tram stop (trams nos. 17, 18 and 53) or bus stop (no. 207).
Parking is available at the underground parking facility on Jan Palach Square. The facility is not part of the Rudolfinum premises.

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