Programme

MORAVIAN MASTER CLASS is an individual, intensive 10-day programme for young professional and pre-professional singers who are interested in operas and vocal chamber music by the great Czech composers Leoš Janáček (1854-1928) and Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904), as well as in selected works by Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959), Vítězslava Kaprálová (1915-1940), and other Czech composers.    
 
BACKGROUND
 
Janáček was born in the region of Moravia (Czech Republic) and Martinů near the Czech/Moravian border; both composers had a deep interest in the region’s folk music and culture.  Janáček's operas are now part of standard operatic repertoire throughout Europe, as is Dvořák's fairy-tale opera Rusalka.  Both Janáček's and Dvořák's operas are also produced in the U.S., Canada and Australia.  In Japan, two of Janáček's operas have been produced at the Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto; over the last few years several of his operas have also been given in Tokyo, some with an all-Japanese cast.

Consider the following facts: between 1 December 2013 and 1 December 2015, there were 129 performances of 23 productions of Janáček's operas, in 20 cities throughout Western Europe, of which 8 were new productions.  In the same time period, 45 performances of 10 productions of Dvořák's Rusalka were given in 9 cities throughout Western Europe, of which 2 were new productions.
 
PROGRAMME

Daily instruction in musical skills and diction will help the participants to prepare both standard and unusual Czech repertoire, and we shall also explain the historical background and the culture behind the individual works, which will help the students to understand the intricacies of the composers’ style.

Our master class also offers coaching in Lieder by Gustav Mahler, which have long been part of standard concert repertoire.  Mahler, although a native German speaker, was born near the Czech/Moravian border.  Moreover, he spoke fluent Czech, was interested in Czech music throughout his life, and had many Czech friends. 
 
Students will also be encouraged to explore vocal music by two composers born in Janáček’s adoptive home-town, Brno - Erich Korngold (1897-1957) and Pavel Haas (1899-1944).  Like Mahler, Korngold and Haas were of Jewish origin, and the role of the Jewish community in Central Europe was, before World War II, of great importance for a host of musical and broader cultural reasons.  Works by Korngold and Haas therefore represent the continuation of a great European tradition. Various 20th century Czech composers, some born in Moravia, have also written song cycles inspired by Moravian folk music (Eben, Slavický, and others).

The voice teacher will also be happy to work with you on repertoire by Mozart and/or other composers of your choice.

We also welcome passive participants - students who would like to observe teaching methods, as well as family members and friends.

STRUCTURE

  • Master class with the voice teacher: classes, in which singers will sing on a rotating basis and also gain an insight into the methods by observing their peers performing.
  • Intensive sessions with the voice teacher/repetiteur: 30-minute individual lessons.
  • Repertoire coachings with the coaches: art songs and operatic arias, as well as role preparation.  Singers' choice of the final concert programme will be studied as well.
  • Diction coaching: specific aspects of Czech diction will be addressed.
  • Class on Czech diction and phonetics for absolute beginners in the Czech language.
THE CZECH LANGUAGE

The study of Czech repertoire is relevant for young singers embarking on an operatic career, and studying it in the country of the composers’ origin would enable them to gain a deeper understanding of the music.  The programme’s participants do not have to have prior knowledge of Czech, which is not an exceptionally difficult language to sing in.  It is tuneful and lyrical, with open, Italianate vowels, and while clusters of consonants do occur in written Czech (as they do in written English – just think of 'matchstick', with five consecutive consonants in the middle of the word, or ‘cornflower’, with four), in spoken and sung Czech these clusters are minimized.  We shall show you how!

SPECIAL EXCURSIONS 
 
Moravian Master Class also offers visits to Janáček’s ‘cottage’ in the grounds of the former Brno Conservatoire (now the Janáček Museum), where the composer wrote some of his greatest works.  A visit to Mahler’s birthplace can also be arranged.
 
*These trips are not included in the master class fee.
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