Besední Dům Celebrates 150th Anniversary With Two-Week Festival Starting Monday
A 14-day festival will be held on the anniversary of the meeting house where Filharmonie Brno are based. Photo credit: filharmonie-brno.cz
Brno, April 28 (BD) – A two-week celebration begins on Monday for the 150th anniversary of Brno’s Besední dům, complete with guided educational tours, conferences, an exhibition and numerous concerts, which will recall the style of 1783, when Besední dům was established as the cultural and social centre of German Brno and the whole of Moravia.
Choral singing from the balcony of Besední dům in Komenského náměstí will announce the start of the celebrations on Monday at 5pm. Afterwards, the Beseda Brněnská and True Love choirs will fill the courtyard and atrium. According to the director of Filharmonie Brno, Marie Kučerová, there will be period costumes, bread with salt and the Sokolovés, which are part of the building’s history.
A concert night, entitled “When Smetana first played in Brno”, is scheduled for Monday, consisting of compositions for piano, choral works and operatic arias performed by soprano Pavla Vykopalá, pianist Igor Ardašev and three choirs. Concerts by Janáček and Horňácká muzika are scheduled for Thursday and Friday. The orchestra, together with Petr Mička’s Horňácká music and the Czech Philharmonic Choir from Brno prepared a concert of Janáček’s Moravian folk music ballet Rákos Rákoczy. Friday’s concert will be broadcast live on Czech television, and the documentary “Já Besední dům” by director Tomáš Kratochvíl, will premiere during the interlude.
A week later, on Thursday and Friday, Mozart’s Requiem will be performed in the hall, part of one of the memorable concerts of the first years of the Besední dum’s existence. Its initiator and conductor was Janáček, who also contributed to its showcases. At that time, the stage was not sufficient for the 80-member choir and equally large orchestra, and it had to be extended.
Three more concerts will be held on Saturday 6 May. After a short introductory lecture, Janáček’s quartet will play Listy privánné on them, which had its world premiere at the place where it will be heard – in the choir hall of Besední dum.
During the celebrations, visitors can view the original architectural plans of Theophile von Hansen, according to which the Oratory House was built. The exhibition, curated by Rostislav Koryčánek, takes place in collaboration with the Moravian Gallery, in the nearby Pražák Palace, also designed by Hansen. Both buildings represent the pinnacle of his architectural work in Brno and are among the most valuable groups of buildings on the Brno Ring Road. Visitors will be able to notice the similarities in architectural choices between Brno and Vienna. The vernissage will be held on Thursday 4 May at 5pm in the combined courtyards.
In addition to the originals of Hansen’s designs, his original sculptures from the roof of the building, which are normally kept in the basement, will decorate the courtyard for a few days. The light sculpture Point, designed by visual artist Pavel Korbička for the celebrations, will also be illuminated.
An investigation into the history and present of the building is the topic of the “Concert House of the 19th and 21st century” international conference, which takes place on Saturday 6 May and is open to the public free of charge. “The present historians and musicologists will present the Besední dům not only as an architectural work but will also place it in a historical context to highlight its importance in the patriotic and social contexts of the time of its creation.” said Kučerová.
All evening concerts are already sold out, and tickets are available only for the Saturday concerts of the Janáček Quartet at 4pm, 5pm and 6pm. In addition, all are welcome to join tours of Besední dům on 3, 7 and 8 May (organised by TIC Brno) and during the Open House Brno event, which will close the 14 days of festivities on Sunday 14 May.
You can find all information about the program of celebrations at the festival website.