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73rd Prague Spring music festival begins

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Prague, May 12 (CTK) – The 73rd Prague Spring international music festival started with Bedrich Smetana’s symphonic poem My Country conducted by Tomas Netopil on Saturday.

My Country is performed at almost each Prague Spring festival, but each year by a different conductor. The festival ends on June 3.

Like Smetana’s opera Libuse, My Country is reserved for special occasions.

It is a cycle of six symphonic poems inspired by the history, legends and landscape of Bohemia. Smetana composed it between 1874 and 1879 and it was premiered on November 5, 1882 in Prague.

The opening concert is watched not only in the Obecni dum hall, but also in the Kampa park several pictures.

In the morning, a traditional commemorative ceremony was held to pay respect to Smetana.

This year’s international competition of young players, which annually precedes the festival, involves 118 players from 27 countries, who compete in the French horn and violoncello categories.

The Prague Spring will focus on the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Czechoslovakia.

The festival will offer 50 concerts, with violinist Julian Rachlin as the residential artist.

At the closing concert on June 3, the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, with its new chief conductor James Judd, will play compositions by Czech authors Zdenek Fibich and Leos Janacek, and Slovak Eugen Suchon.

Apart from the Slovak Philharmonic, the festival will welcome several renowned foreign orchestras including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam with its chief conductor Daniel Gatti and the Budapest festival orchestra. Both will perform Gustav Mahler’s symphonies.

Viewers have also shown strong interest in a concert marking the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth. It was the Prague Spring festival where Bernstein, a U.S. composer and conductor, had the first and the last performance in his life.

The concert in his honour will be played by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra led by U.S. conductor Keith Lockhart.

Conductor John Eliot Gardiner will perform early music with his Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists ensembles.

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