On Thursday 9 June, the Czech national anthem performed by the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra officially opened the 64th Smetana Litomyšl National Festival.
Smetana’s Litomyšl will take place in 2022 over 27 days from 9 June to 5 July. It will present 44 programmes of the main programme, which will be complemented by an accompanying programme in the Festival Gardens and exhibitions of the 18th Smetana Art Litomyšl.
The dramaturgy is introduced by the poet Jan Skácel’s verse “And again love…”. Love, which in the poem “again, from afar, hinders death”, was supposed to be a way out of the painful “covid” times. However, it was also extraordinarily apt in a situation where global aid to an invaded country stood in the way of aggression. “We tried to conceive the programme from works that are uplifting and joyful and that bring, besides knowledge, hope. So this time, alongside serious works, we are presenting – while maintaining a high artistic level – a greater number of pieces that are close to people’s hearts and favourites,” says dramaturg Vojtěch Stříteský.
The popular Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto in B minor will be played by 15-year-old virtuoso Ryan Martin Bradshaw, while the audience can look forward to a top-notch performance of Handel’s famous oratorio Messiah by Collegium 1704 or another Solo for 100 Strings, in which sections of three philharmonic orchestras will join together on one stage. Jiří Pavlica’s Hradištěan and the FOK Orchestra are preparing a concert to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Jan Skácel, the thrilling rhythms of flamenco will be brought by a Spanish ensemble from Andalusia, and the southern temperament also belongs to the Uruguayan bass-baritone Erwin Schrott, who will be featured in a gala concert.
However, the programme of the 64th edition also includes premieres, original programmes, the eight-day BACH XXII project, and demanding listeners will also find something to their liking. Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony in combination with Miloslav Kabeláč’s Mystery of Time will be performed by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra with Jakub Hrůša, the Czech premiere of Zbigniew Preisner’s Requiem for My Friend, and Jiří Gemrot’s cantata Burying the Light was commissioned by the festival. “Due to the upcoming reconstruction of the castle, we had to abandon the big opera performances this year. They are partially replaced by gala concerts of all three of our national theatres. However, we will be performing Vivaldi’s opera Il Farnace at the Nové Hrady Castle, a new production of Lenka Noto and Olga Sommerová’s chamber opera I am the Princess of Fools about the fate of Božena Němcová at the Smetana House, and Kučera’s Gingerbread House for the youngest listeners.”
Detailed programme and tickets here.