Viva Musica! festival was established in 2005, with the aim of creating a summer festival of true artistic merit. From its opening year it has offered people the best of classical music in a form attractive to all: untraditional venues, untraditional contexts, and with no charge for admission to most of the concerts. Every year Viva Musica! festival brings its visitors music of high quality and exclusive musical projects performed by top-level artists from home and abroad.
PROGRAMME (main concert line)
30.06.2017, 8 p.m., Slovak National Theatre (new building) – VIVA BALLET! – The story of Slovak ballet
World-renowned stars of Slovak ballet, Slovak National Theatre (SND Ballet), Eva Jaczová Dance Conservatory, SND Ballet Preparatory School, and the Viva Musica! Symphony Orchestra directed by Martin Leginus.
The gala evening Viva Ballet! opens the thirteenth annual Viva Musica! festival and simultaneously brings to a close the SND Ballet’s successful 2016/2017 theatre season. This outstanding project highlights the exceptional quality of ballet art in Slovakia, with its history, individual figures and special features. The evening’s dramaturgy elucidates the professional career of the dancer: from the first steps in ballet preparatory school, through study at the conservatory, to performance in the theatre. All generations of dancers are thus presented on the boards, from the smallest beginners to the greatest stars performing at home and abroad. Viewers may enjoy Jozef Varga, lead soloist of the Dutch National Ballet; Andrea Laššáková, soloist of the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg; and the soloists Nina Poláková and Roman Lazík, who have momentarily exchanged the Vienna State Opera stage for that of Bratislava. SND soloists Silvia Najdená and Andrej Szabo will also appear in the gala evening, as will Eva Sklyarová, soloist of the Košice State Theatre Ballet, who was closely associated with the SND in the initial stages of her career. These prominent dancers will perform choreographed works from the classical and modern repertoires. The ballet fragments will include numbers from the most famous ballet of all time, Swan Lake; there will also be a dramatic duet from Anna Karenina and Rachmaninov’s energetic Spring Waters, characterised by acrobatic moves and elemental dynamism. Throughout the evening the dancers will be accompanied by the Viva Musica! Symphony Orchestra conducted by Martin Leginus.
07.07.2017, 8 p.m., Large Lutheran Church – THE KING’S SINGERS – Two-time Grammy Award holders in Bratislava!
The King’s Singers: a legendary British a cappella ensemble, whose foundation dates from 1968 and is inseparably linked with the prestigious King’s College in Cambridge. During its almost 50-year history the 6-member grouping has absorbed a succession of top-ranking singers, and currently its repertoire includes more than 2,000 works in a variety of genres. The ensemble also has two Grammy Awards to its credit, a MIDEM Award, and inscription in the Gramophone Hall of Fame. At the Viva Musica! festival concert the line-up will be Patrick Dunachie (countertenor), Timothy Wayne-Wright (countertenor), Julian Gregory (tenor), Christopher Bruerton (baritone), Christopher Gabbitas (baritone) and Jonathan Howard (bass).
14.07.2017, 8 p.m., Old Market Hall – PIANO GALA – 4 grand pianos, 8 virtuosos, 16 hands
Piano Gala is a unique musical concept, which brings listeners the best of Slovak piano art. Together on one stage are eight top-ranking pianists, who along with their solo works will perform compositions for two and more pianos. Appearing in the concert are Ladislav Fančovič, Jakub Čižmarovič, František Jánoška, Daniel Buranovský, Matej Arendárik, Peter Pažický, Martin Chudada and Jordana Palovičová. Four concert wings will dominate the centrally located stage in the Old Market Hall, and at the conclusion of the concert there will also be performances of compositions arranged for 16 hands!
21.07., 8 p.m., Large Lutheran Church – IVA BITTOVÁ & MUCHA QUARTET – Bartók, Janáček, Suchoň & Godár: Slovak Songs
After five years the phenomenal Moravian singer and violinist Iva Bittová returns to the Viva Musica! festival with her remarkable Slovak Songs project, in collaboration with the outstanding Slovak string ensemble Mucha Quartet. Slovak Songs comprises a selection of tunes from the rich collection of Slovak folk songs by the important composer and ethnomusicologist Béla Bartók, arranged and adapted for Iva Bittová by the highly-reputed Slovak composer Vladimír Godár, with whom Bittová has collaborated for many years. The song selection is highly diverse, both in mood and extent; the work combines the elemental quality of folk music with an extraordinary rendering by Iva Bittová and the string quartet. The adapted versions of the songs were issued in 2016 in a CD album likewise entitled Slovenské spevy (Slovak Songs). In the Viva Musica! festival concert Slovak Songs will be performed, along with works by Leoš Janáček, Eugen Suchoň and Vladimír Godár.
04.08.2017, 8 p.m., Istropolis – THE EARTH SINGS – Presentation of the famous film poem by Karol Plicka, accompanied by a symphony orchestra
The Earth Sings is the first full-length Slovak sound film, which was produced in 1933 on the initiative of Matica slovenská, with the direct personal support of President Thomas Garrigue Masaryk. The author of the theme and director of the film was Karol Plicka, often described as one of the most important creative artists in our history and honoured with the title of National Artist in 1968. Roughly an hour in length, in a unique manner the documentary captures Slovak folk customs as they were reflected in songs and dances, customary practices, children’s ditties and games. Here we have an artistically composed register of folk traditions, games, ceremonies, dances and celebrations in Slovakia in the 1930s, at times of the year ranging from early Spring to late autumn. Music based on the film material was created by the Czech composer and conductor František Škvor. The Earth Sings also contains poetic intertitles by the poet Ján Smrek. In its own time the film did not receive the reception it deserved from the domestic public. However, its qualities had already been recognised abroad: in 1934 it was awarded the Gold Cup for best direction at the second international Biennale in Venice. The film’s original negative was burned in a fire at the Žilina film studios in 1944. From the incomplete positive copy which is extant, two double negatives were made in 1945; in 1983 a new recording was made of the original music and the original introduction with shots of Prague was included in the film. It is this reconstructed version, designated “The Earth Sings 1983”, which will be performed at the Viva Musica! festival, with live accompaniment from the Orchestra and choir of Viva Musica! conducted by Martin Leginus.
11.08.2017, 8 p.m., Old Market Hall – VIVALDI RECOMPOSED BY MAX RICHTER – Mari Samuelsen, violin & Viva Musica! Orchestra
The British-German composer is one of the foremost representatives of contemporary music. He combines influences of classical music and minimalism with elements of electronic, alternative music, or new media. His range is extensive: apart from classical forms he also composes scenic and film music, also music for contemporary performances of various kinds and multimedia installations. Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi –The Four Season presents a complete “recomposition” of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Richter works with original musical material which he further refines, applying contemporary compositional techniques to which he feels akin. The work had its premiere in London in 2012 and its recording scored well in the iTunes Classical Chart in England, Germany and USA. Vivaldi Recomposed by Max Richter will receive its Slovak premiere performed by the Norse violin virtuoso Mari Samuelsen, who is one of the most impressive artistic discoveries of her generation. Her recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with Trondheim Soloists has almost 16 million viewings on YouTube! Mari regularly holds concerts with her brother, the cellist Hakon Samuelsen, with whom she also functions as artistic director of the Yellow Lounge Norway project, a night club devoted to the presentation of classical music in Oslo. In 2014 they jointly performed Pas de Deux, a double concerto for violin and cello by the Oscar-winning American composer James Horner (who has composed music for films including Titanic and Avatar), accompanied by the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by V. Petrenko. The work, written specially for the Samuelsens duo, was heard also in the summer of 2016 at a spectacular concert in California’s Dielo Hollywood Bowl, accompanied by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and also featured on their successful double album. Mari Samuelsen has held concerts at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, the Konzerthaus in Berlin, the Smetana Hall in Prague, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and venues in Moscow, Zürich etc. She plays a violin made by G. B. Gudagnini in 1777. At the Viva Musica! festival concert, accompanied by the Viva Musica! Orchestra, along with Vivaldi Recomposed by Max Richter she will also present a selection of works by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt as well as by contemporary Scandinavian composers entitled Nordic Noir.
20.08., 8 p.m., Reduta – SARAH CHANG & MUCHA QUARTET – Antonio Vivaldi: Four Seasons
The world-renowned American violinist Sarah Chang made her debut as a 8-year-old with the New York Philharmonic. Later she collaborated with the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, and many other world-class orchestras, led by such conductors as M. Jansons, D. Barenboim, B. Haitink, J. Levine, L. Maazel, Z. Mehta, R. Muti, Sir S. Rattle, G. Dudamel, V. Gergiev, E.-P. Salonen and J. Williams. She is the holder of many prestigious awards, including Gramophone Magazine Young Artist of the Year and the Avery Fisher Prize; she has also received the Young Global Leader Award, conferred on her by the World Economic Forum (WEF) for her professional successes, devotion to society and capacity to shape the future of this world. In the Viva Musica! festival she will present Franck’s Violin Sonata and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, accompanied by the renowned string ensemble Mucha Quartet. The recording of this work was singled out by BBC Music Magazine as her finest recording ever. Sarah Chang plays a Guarneri del Gesù violin made in 1717.
25.08.2017, 7 p.m., Slovak National Theatre (new building) – MEASHA BRUEGGERGOSMAN – From opera to spiritual
The Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman is among the elite of world opera performers, but apart from opera she devotes herself primarily to art songs and concert singing. In her native Canada she is regarded as an ambassador for classical music, someone who disrupts the stereotypes of the opera diva in all respects. Surprise, her first recording for Deutsche Grammophone, featuring songs by W. Bolcom, A. Schoenberg and E. Satie, is regarded as one of the particularly impressive debuts. A further recording Night and Dreams quickly gained several important awards, and for her recording of Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder, accompanied by The Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Franz Welser-Möst, Measha Brueggergosman was nominated for a Grammy Award. She also collaborated as soloist in the recording of Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Bolcom, which immediately received three Grammy Awards in 2005, including in the ‘Best Classical Album’ category. Measha Brueggergosman has collaborated with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra etc., and with such famed conductors as D. Barenboim, Sir A. Davis, G. Dudamel, D. Harding and F. Welser-Möst. She also engages in activities in the area of musical education, acquiring a new public for classical music, and at the same time she is an ambassador for a number of international foundations. In the Viva Musica! festival concert she will perform Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder, accompanied by the Viva Musica! Orchestra under the baton of German conductor Moritz Gnann, and in the second half a selection of spirituals arranged for symphony orchestra from her latest album Songs of Freedom.
26.08.2017, 19:00, Janko Kráľ Park – VIVA MUSICA! – Final Concert in the 13th Annual Viva Musica! International Summer Concert
The final concert in the Viva Musica! festival will bring the 13th annual event to a spectacular close. Meeting onstage at Janko Kráľ Park will be the finalists of the Viva the Street! project, whose music will have added charm to the city’s atmosphere for both residents and tourists throughout the summer months; the winners of the Viva Musica! festival Grand Prix Awards; and performers in the much-loved concert series Music in the Park (everywhere!). Together, under the baton of Braňo Kostka they will form a unique symphony orchestra, which will present a selection of the finest works of classical music. Admission to the concert is free.