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New Year Tour, January 2014

A New Year’s Concert Like Fine Champagne

Bubbly, tangy and magnificent - Smetana-Philharmonic receives ovations in ….........

With the coloratura soprano, Perrine Madoeuf, and the flautist Pavla Trefná, Maestro Richter brought two artists of exceptional stature to the stage. Perrine Madoeuf almost playfully mastered the highest notes in "The Voices of Spring Waltz," and she received stormy applause for her outstanding rendition of "The Lilacs Already Bloom in Sievering." In the same class, Pavla Trefná performed flawlessly as she and the brilliant orchestra brought the difficult piece, "Le Tourbillon",  to life.

Ein Hochgenuss für Freunde der Kunst

The Smetana Philharmonic, under the direction of Hans Richter, offered a New Year’s concert, that in typical fashion seeks.................

Märkische Oderzeitung, January 7, 2014
Musical Prelude in the Wolf Theater

Eisenhüttenstadt (MOZ) It could have passed quietly this year, but the New Year arrived to vibrant music in the Friedrich-Wolf-Theater before a nearly sold-out house. As last year, the musicians of the Smetana Philharmonic from Prague, under the direction of Hans Richter, found just the right voice in "Musical Jewels in Walz Time."

 Glittering Moments

To that performance, the willowy soprano, Luminita Andrei, und the tenor Catalin
Mustata added even more glittering moments. It was wonderful how they both raised their glorious voices in solos and duets in perfect unity with each other and the orchestra.
The opening piece had already revealed fantastic musicality of this renowned orchestra. Refined and nuanced, with sensitive dynamics und a dramatic finale, the musicians celebrated the overture to “Die Fledermaus“ by Johann Strauß, and the Music Director Richter showed he knows how to bring the hidden secrets of the operetta’s music to light.

Symphony Concert, October 2013

MICHAEL DUMLER in the Allgäuer Zeitung, October 2013
Kempten:
Once again Britten, once again his vocal artistry:  The distinguished mezzosoprano, Denisa Neubarthova shone brightly in five “French Folk Songs.“
The concert ended with a breath for the soul as the vital but disciplined Hans Richter and his 50-piece orchestra played Leós Janáceks gentle “Dances of Laughter.”
An unusually propitious opening for the Master Concert series.

Mittelbayerische Zeitung, June 2, 2013

Opera “Nabucco” ging unter die Haut

The performance in Trenck Theater in Waldmünchen earned minutes-long applause. The bad weather could not dampen the audience’s enthusiasm.

Played by the 37 musicians of the Smetana Philharmonic from Prague, under the direction of Hans Richter, who hails from Neunburg vorm Wald, the notes of “Nabucco“ took wing eliciting several minutes of applause at the end.

The closing concert of the week-long Passau European Music Festival, with Smetana's “My Country,” reflects the spirit and goals of the festival in East Bavaria.

(Passauer Neue Presse July 31, 2012)

Music Director Hans Richter (great grandson of the Wagnerian conductor of the same name) and his orchestra let you forget the present with a fabulously disciplined performance: The dreamlike melodies are so tempting that Richter leaves them understated, playing them without overdramatizing, but rather with economical phrasing and precise intonation, not only softly, but with but shading of piano and pianissimo.
Even when the Vyšehrad fortress collapses in the first movement, and the Amazon queen Šárka has the men killed in the third, the orchestra's sound remains controlled and the emotion positively restrained.
An excellent homogeneity of sound distinguishes the Smetana Philharmonic.

North Hesse Cultural Summer

Prague Smetana Philharmonic inspires listeners in the town church

Glad and gentle sounds

July 13, 2012

Prague Smetana Philharmonic playing variety of classical music in the Homberg town church. The ensemble, founded in 2004, brought with them the cycle of six symphonic poems comprising “My Country”, by Bedrich Smetana, a patriotic masterpiece full of drama, longing and picturesque variety, including as the second part, “The Moldau”, a hit on the eternal pop-chart of classical melodies.

It all began with a gentle harp, soon overtaken by the strings and winds in the emotional rendition of the rise and fall of Vysehrad Castle and its resident princes and kings.

From the beginning, the orchestra proved to be a unified body of sound, exhibiting mastery spanning late baroque composition pieces to the romantic movement. Transitions within the instrument sections attained a lightness, almost like dancing. As rhythmic changes and tempos flowed adroitly through the conductor's baton to the orchestra, crescendo and decrescendo blended with the acoustics of the hall for a true pleasure.

The Moldau theme provided for goose bumps, and a good many couples slipped a little closer together on the fully-occupied seats. And the gentlemen in the wind section swaying to the rhythm did nothing to diminish the music's serious appeal.

One can no longer comprehend why Smetana, along with others, received criticism for close connections between their compositions and local folklore. Here in the fourth part, “From Bohemia's Forests and Fields”, the popular folk element washes like cool water over the heavily turning millstones of artistic arrogance.

The Czech instrumentalists and their director, Hans Richter, earned the highest respect for the way major and minor chords joined hands in passing, the tension created by the elegiac bass figures and quavering string arpeggios, and the meticulous detail of the final preparation. The enthusiastic audience expressed its gratitude with loud applause and standing ovations.

By Andreas Köthe

Baptized in water of the Moldau
Debut of the Schwarzachtalhalle with Smetana's cycleMy Country”

(Mittelbayerische Zeitung, July 16, 2012).

The new Schwarzachtalhalle received its musical consecration with water from the Moldau. The opening concert of this new event center for the middle Rhineland featured the Prague Smetana Philharmonic under the baton of its music director, Hans Richter, playing Bedřich Smetana's cycle, “My Country.” Around 750 listeners, in a hall that had been sold out for weeks, experienced a brilliant debut, to which they responded at the end with standing ovations.

While the 65 musicians and associated orchestra equipment filled the stage of the new hall to capacity, Moderator Wolfgang Bayerl explained to the audience why the organizers placed the Smetana cycle on the program for this inauguration: The composer adopted in the two opening tone poems “Tabor” and “Blanik” themes of Hussite Bohemian history, just like the Neunberg home festival, “From the Hussite War,” that has begun its thirtieth anniversary season.

Smetana's late romantic works, whose closeness to Wagner's world of sound is hard to deny, represented likewise an ultimate test of the acoustics of the Schwarzachtalhalle. The conductor, a native Neunberger, cautiously explored the terra incognita in the opening “Vysehrad” and then added an epic interpretation of the story of the king's castle, evoking national emotion, fully consistent with the intention of the composer. Hans Richter placed fidelity to the score above all and consequently resisted the temptation to showcase the classic hit “Vitava” (Moldau) as affected film music. Also, “From Bohemia's Forests and Fields” and “Sarka,” frequently cherry-picked from the cake of the complete cycle, benefited from Hans Richter's clear and unpretentious interpretation.

A climax of this opening concert was certainly the tone poem,“Tabor,” often unjustly labeled a cumbersome orchestra piece. The Smetana Philharmonic admirably succeeded in holding the arc of suspense from the initial pianissimo to the final fortissimo, giving tonal expression to the Hussite will power and fighting strength. From this point, one could already foresee the work's crowning triumphal festival march shortly eliciting wild applause. The native Bohemian musical joy and the youthful verve of this Prague orchestra had drawn the audience completely under their spell. With two “Slavonic Dances” of Antonin Dvorak, Hans Richter & Co. said, “See (and hear) you later” at the first Neunburger Opera Gala on October 2 in the Schwarzachtalhalle. (su)

Dill - Zeitung, 2nd May 2007

"Exquisite classical music performed in the tunnel"

Prag`s musicians gave an excellent concert at the official opening of the tunnel.

They started with Mozart`s overture of the "Magic flute" ... but the chords of the wind instruments  remained solemn and gave testimonial of Zarastro`s realm of kindness and humanity. It is a dramatic and at the same time complete blend of strenght and purity that conductor Hans Richter could show perfectly.
Unusual in a symphonic concert, but highly enriching was Denisa Neubarthová featuring the "Nuits d`été" by Hector Berlioz. She has a supple mezzosoprano voice and gives a perfect insight into the world of songs, from heartfelt sorrow to a flash of drama.
After the break, the Smetana Philharmonic Orchestra Prague played Beethoven's 6th symphony with sparkling harmony.
With this brilliant symphonic event, the inauguration of the tunnel  became worthy of standing ovations .


Pirmasenser Zeitung, 30th of April 2007


"Magnificent concert opens summer festival "

The Smetana Philharmonic Orchestra Prague gave a guest performence in Dahn .

This internationally renowned orchestra under their conductor Hans Richter, gave a brilliant performance. The conductor convinced the audience as usual from the first measure on.

Formally, the "Allegro risoluto" of Strauss - König (first performence) orients itself at the classical sonata, but uses a free tonal sound which extends the spectrum considerably.
Only a fraction is preserved of the extensive work of the composer Neruda. His concert in three movements for trumpet and orchestra testifies of the great tradition of the Bohemian works for wind instruments. Robert Hofmann and the sensitiv feeling of the orchestra gave a really exceptional interpretation. The soloist mastered the hurdles of the ornaments with bravado. This piece is reknown for its excellent and melodious sound
.
Beethoven`s 6th symphony (F major, op. 68) "Pastorale", is the epic sister of the dramatically concentrated No. 5.
Prag`s musicians played it with much devotion .

BBV, 07. Januar 2008 (pdf)

Waiblinger Kreiszeitung, 24. April 2008 (pdf)

Rigi Anzeiger, 16. Mai 2008 (pdf)