Join us for a concert celebrating the opening night of the exhibition Rusalka at the Czech Center New York. Soprano opera star Gabriela Beňačková is joined by tenor Petr Nekoranec and bass David Leigh in a performance of selections from Rusalka, accompanied by Ken Noda on the piano. Musicologist Michael Beckerman moderates this enchanted evening. In collaboration with the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artists Development Program.
This concert and the exhibition are presented in connection with the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Rusalka, which premieres there on February 2, 2017. It is also a part of the Czech Center's month-long celebration of Dvořák's opera Rusalka, which features guided tours of the exhibition, film screenings, lectures, a closing night concert and a special menu at the Bohemian Spirit restaurant. More information available at www.czechcenter.com.
This concert is organized by the Czech Center New York in collaboration with the Metropolitan Opera, and presented under the auspices of the Consul General of the Czech Republic in New York Martin Dvořák.
Gabriela Beňačková - Soloist
Gabriela Beňačková is a slovak opera singer who was the first to perform the role of Rusalka at the Metropolitan Opera. Beňačková specializes in the music of her compatriots, particularly Eugen Suchoň, as well as Czech composers, notably Bedřich Smetana and Leoš Janáček. She is considered to be one of the greatest 'Jenufa's' in Janáček's opera of the same name. Her Carnegie Hall performance (and subsequent Metropolitan Opera run with Leonie Rysanek) is considered to be legendary.
In 1981 Czech television starred Mrs Benackova in a definitive version of Prodana Nevesta (The Bartered Bride), which has since become a popular DVD recording available in an all-regions format(2006). That recording teamed her with the heroic tenor (fellow Slovak) Peter Dvorsky, and with bass Richard Novak and other popular singers. She completed her farewell recital tour in 2008.
She has made a number of recordings, and has appeared in several filmed operas, as well as the feature film The Divine Emma, where she supplied the singing voice of the famous Czech soprano Emmy Destinn. Her voice can also be heard in the movie Driving Miss Daisy singing the title role "Rusalka" by Dvořák, and in Copycat singing Puccini's aria Vissi d'arte from the opera Tosca.
She has appeared as Fidelio/Leonore in the Royal Opera House production of Fidelio (1991). In 2012, she sang the difficult role of the Comtesse de la Roche, in Die Soldaten, at the Salzburg Festival, a production now on DVD.
She has made a beautiful recording in the title role Rusalka by Dvořák. The conductor was Vaclav Neumann.
Petr Nekoranec - Soloist
Petr Nekoranec is a tenor in the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. His 2014-2016 career highlights include: Opera Studio, title roles in Albert Herring, and Le Comte Orly, and Servitore in Martinu's Mirandolina; on the National Theatre's stage: Parpignol in Labohème, Albazar in Il turco in Italia, the Animal Trainer in Der Rosenkavalier, and an Officer inAriadne auf Naxos.
In 2012 he sang Vašek (Die verkaufte Braut) at the National Theatre of Prague under the direction of Jan Chalupecký. In 2013 he performed as Lindoro (L'Italiana in Algeri) at the Teatro Nuovo in Torino. With the Coro Filarmonico Veneto and the Orchestra Regionale Filarmonia Veneta he appeared on the concert stage in Mozart's requiem and the coronation mass.
David Leigh's deep, visceral bass voice and intelligent singing have drawn acclaim throughout the United States. In the 2016-2017 season, he will join the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera and make his debut with Florentine Opera as Commendatore in Don Giovanni.
In 2016 he was a grant winner in the McCammon Competition at Fort Worth Opera and a finalist in the Concorso Internacional Francisco Viñas; he is also the recipient of awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (2015 National Semifinalist), and the New York Foundation for the Arts.
2015-2016 operatic engagements include his first season as an Apprentice Artist at Santa Fe Opera and his Queen City Opera debut as Fafner in Siegfried. Concert engagements include his debut at the Ravinia Steans Music Institute and a debut in the Verdi Reqiuem with the Choral Society of Northeast Pennsylvania, as well as the recent New York City Opera Gala in honor of Julius Rudel with Fredericka Von Stade, Christine Goerke, Placido Domingo, and many others.
Michael Beckerman – Musicologist
Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Music, New York University;
B. A. 1973, Hofstra University; M. Ph., 1978; M. A., 1976; Ph.D. 1982, Columbia.
Areas of Research/Interest
Czech and Eastern European music; Musical Form and Meaning; Film Music; Music of the Roma (Gypsies); Music and War; Music in the Concentration Camps; Jewish Music; Music and Disability
Leonard Bernstein Scholar in Residence, New York Philharmonic, 2016-17; International Board of Governors, Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, 2013-; Board of Directors, Czech Center, NY 2010-15; Vice-President, DAHA (Dvorák American Heritage Association) 2009-; Vice-President, American Musicological Society, 2010-12; Chairman, Jury for the International Melodrama Competition, Prague, 2006; Director of Research, OREL Foundation 2006-2008; Research Adviser, 2009- ; Board Member, Stanford Humanities Center; Board Member, IREX
Honorary Doctorate, Palacký University, Czech Republic, 2014. Golden Dozen Teaching Award, NYU 2013. George Estabrook Distinguished Alumnus Award, Hofstra University 2012. ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award, 2006. Order of Merit, Czech Parliament, 2004. ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award, 2004. Honorary Board if the Janácek Foundation, 2003. Special Citation from the Czech Parliament, 2003. Laureate of the Czech Music Council, 2000. Medal of the Dvorák Society, 1991. Medal of the Martinu Society, 1990. Janácek Medal of the Czech Ministry of Culture, 1988.
Books: Martinů's Mysterious Accident, ed., 2007 Pendragon Press. Janáček and His World, ed. Princeton University Press, 2003. New Worlds of Dvořák. W.W. Norton. 2003. Janáček and Czech Music, ed. Michael Beckerman andGlen Bauer, Pendragon Press, 1995. Janáček the Theorist. Pendragon Press, 1994. Dvořák and His World, ed. Princeton University Press, 1993.
Please arrive at least five minutes prior to showtime. Empty seats will be released to standby patrons five minutes prior to showtime.
To RSVP for other events please visit www.czechcenter.com.