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Arrivals and departures

At Prague Spring, new works and a lighthearted farewell

Posted: May 26, 2010

By Frank Kuznik - Staff Writer | Comments (0) | Post comment

Arrivals and departures

Courtesy Photo

Plachetka will be moving to the Vienna State Opera.

Last call to see Adam Plachetka, the handsome young singer who's cut such a charming swath on Prague opera stages the past few years. After his Prague Spring recital at the Rudolfinum next week, he will be packing his bags for a two-year stint at the Vienna State Opera.

"I'll be in 17 different roles the first season," he says. "It will be a lot of work, but I'm excited. After the Met, I think it's the best opera house in the world."

Plachetka has a mellifluous bass/baritone voice that, by virtue of his age (25), hasn't been stretched out much yet. "For the Romantic music with big orchestras, like Dvořák and Martinů, I really have to push it," he says. But it's a perfect fit for roles in the smaller Mozart operas that have been playing at the Estates Theater: La clemenza di Tito (Publio), La finta giardiniera (Nardo) and Cosí fan tutte (Guglielmo). Plachetka has also sung the title roles in both Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro, and shown a very nice feel for Baroque as Argante in Händel's Rinaldo.

Plachetka is a homegrown product, though he admits he enrolled at conservatory for all the wrong reasons. "I had a friend, a French horn player, who was going there, and I wanted to go to a school where I knew somebody," he says. "I had no real instrumental training, just a little piano. But I sang in a children's choir, so I could study singing.

Adam Plachetka
Monday, May 31, at 9:30
Where: Rudolfinum
Tickets: 250 Kč,
available through Ticketpro and at the venue
André Previn

When: Friday, May 28, at 8
Where: Rudolfinum
Tickets: 800-1,200 Kč, available through Ticketpro and at the venue

"My mother was very nervous - I chose the only part of my life that was not significant. But I think she's happier now."

Plachetka has covered a lot of ground for someone his age, performing in London, Madrid, Berlin, Munich and Salzburg, and touring in Korea and Japan. Earlier this month, he was in Rennes, France, reprising his role as Argante in Rinaldo, and in August he will be in Salzburg, as Masetto in Don Giovanni.

For his departing recital, Plachetka will be singing Mozart, Ravel, Schönberg and Sibelius. "My accompanist [pianist David Švec] and I wanted to bring something new," he says. "I love the Ravel cycle [Don Quichotte a Dulcinée]; it's fantastic. Schönberg is not my favorite composer, but these songs [Brettl-Lieder] are really nice, almost like cabaret. So I'm ending on a lighter note, which is good."

Three nights before Plachetka takes the Rudolfinum stage, André Previn is scheduled to be on it with a chamber music group, giving the world premiere of his New Work for Clarinet and Piano. That's the good news. The bad news is the other world premiere scheduled for that night, Escape Routines by Czech composer Miroslav Srnka, won't be performed.

Escape Routines is the second new work commissioned by the Terezín Chamber Music Foundation, a project founded by American musicologist and viola player Mark Ludwig to bring the work of composers who were imprisoned at Terezín to a broader audience. The first commissioned piece, Bells of Light by Pavel Zemek, premiered at Prague Spring last year. And, eventually, Ludwig says, Srnka's piece will debut in Prague, as well.

"We just got the manuscript too late for this performance," he explains. "The first rehearsal would have been three days before the concert, so we'll do it another time. I can tell you from a casual reading that it's an amazing work; all the musicians are excited about it. I foresee many performances."

Terezín is still represented on the program, with Gideon Klein's Trio. "It's an inspirational piece, one that I first recorded 20 years ago," Ludwig says. And the substitute piece is Mozart's Clarinet Quintet in A major, with Ludwig's brother Michael, a virtuoso violinist, joining the ensemble. "So we're totally jazzed," says Ludwig.

Given a chance to play with Previn, who wouldn't be? It should be a special night for the audience, as well.

Frank Kuznik can be reached at

Tags: Adam Plachetka, opera, Rudolfinum, Prague Spring.

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