Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava attracted 1500 spectators to the top hall in Katowice
On 9 March, the Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava demonstrated how the orchestra under the direction of its chief conductor Vassily Sinaisky sounds in a concert hall of world-class parameters. In the nearly sold-out headquarters of the National Philharmonic Orchestra of the Polish Radio (NOSPR), Suk’s Fairy Tale and Mahler’s Symphony “Titan” were performed.
“We performed for the third time in Katowice’s NOSPR with a capacity of one thousand eight hundred seats. The almost sold-out concert testifies to the interest in the Janáček Philharmonic and its programme, not only from the local audience but also from those who came from the Czech Republic. The construction of the new hall is an excellent example of the fact that hearing music in an acoustically perfect yet pleasant environment is an extraordinary experience. At the same time, the NOSPR had the same problem with its former venue as we did – it was acoustically unsuitable and aesthetically inadequate for today’s requirements,” said Jan Žemla, director of the JPO.
Since the hall’s opening in October 2014, the Janáček Philharmonic has been performing there regularly. This concert has been in preparation since the middle of 2020 when it became clear that the original date would not be possible.
“You could say that every orchestra trip is a logistical challenge from a certain point of view, not only because of moving musicians but especially instruments and equipment. We moved a lot of stuff to Katowice, but it’s not that far. In this case, the whole situation was complicated by the space where we normally rehearse, because the stage in the temporary hall in Vesmír was too small for all the musicians involved. Therefore, we moved first to Černá Louka, where we rehearse in a more temporary, but bigger space, and only from there we went to Poland after four rehearsals,” added JPO manager Ondřej Daněk.
The Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava travelled with Mahler’s first symphony, which required the participation of about 90 musicians. The concert hall in nearby Katowice is still one of the world’s best among the newly built ones. The orchestra on the podium is easy to hear while being audible at all points in the audience. The performances provide an excellent musical experience.
“Together with the hall in Szczecin, the one in Katowice is one of my favourite venues that I have had the opportunity to experience in Poland so far. This time we brought two beautiful works from Ostrava, namely Josef Suk’s Fairytale and Gustav Mahler’s First Symphony. Unlike our ‘space’ hall, a former cinema, the acoustics of the Katowice one were entrusted to top experts from the very beginning and were not solved afterwards for the finished hall. My colleagues and I on the stage were carried away by the huge sound of the orchestra in the space, which did not let even the finest details of these musical works disappear,” added Jakub Černohorský, concertmaster of the JPO.
Considering the current absence of a hall in which such repertoire could be played in Ostrava, the JPO is, unfortunately, presenting Mahler after a very long time. The next opportunity to play similarly large works (without Mahler, at the moment they are not planned at all) will be on a tour in Japan from 26 April to 8 May. During 13 days there are 9 concerts on the program. The last time the orchestra performed in Japan was in 2008. The JPO will play in very high-quality concert halls equipped with top-quality acoustics. It will be an important opportunity for the conductor, soloists and the orchestra to try out performing in such halls, allowing for better interpretation of the works.