Prague, 13 September 2018 — On Saturday, 15 September this year’s Dvořák Prague Festival will have one of its most important events, presenting Dvořák’s monumental oratorio Saint Ludmila—which viewers and listeners will be able to experience in a live broadcast via Czech television at The concert starts at 8 pm CET.

In this work Dvořák paid tribute to the first Czech saint. The festival is dedicating the concert, symbolically on the anniversary of her death, to centennial celebrations of the birth of the independent republic of Czechs and Slovaks. The oratorio will sound in its complete original version in the Rudolfinum under the leadership of conductor Jakub Hrůša with soloists Kateřina Kněžíková, mezzo-soprano Alena Kropáčková, tenors Richard Samek and Ondřej Koplík, and bass Jozef Benci, the Czech Philharmonic, and the Prague Philharmonic Choir rehearsed by its choirmaster Lukáš Vasilek.

The work unites Christian symbolism with patriotism, two things of fundamental importance to the composer’s spiritual world. Logically, the performance has been entrusted to the country’s leading orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic with the Prague Philharmonic Choir under the baton of Jakub Hrůša, and the solo parts will be sung by leading Czech and Slovak artists.

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.

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The world premiere of the oratorio Saint Ludmila took place in October 1886 at the music festival in Leeds, which had commissioned a work from Dvořák after the triumphant success of his Stabat Mater. The master accepted the commission, but he insisted on a theme from Czech history, and he got his way. The libretto, inspired by the life of one of the most important Czech saints, Saint Ludmila, was written at Dvořák’s request by a leading Czech poet, Jaroslav Vrchlický. Dvořák took exceptional pride in the oratorio Saint Ludmila, and he put his utmost effort into working on it. It was one of the composer’s largest works in terms of both its length and the size of the vocal and instrumental forces it required. It is characterised by exceptional melodic inventiveness, elaborate polyphonic writing, and beauty of sound.


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