Prague Spring Festival – Christus am Ölberge




Smetana Hall, Municipal House
nám. Republiky 5, Praha

fotografie Simona Šaturová

Prague Spring Festival – Christus am Ölberge

Christus am Ölberge with soprano Simona Saturova at Prague Spring Festival.


Friday, 15. 5. 2020 from 20.00
Expected end of the concert 22.00


450 – 1 200 CZK


  • Ludwig van Beethoven: Christ on the Mount of Olives Op. 85
  • Richard Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra Op. 30


  • Prague Philharmonic Choir
  • Simona Šaturová – soprano
  • Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Jozef Chabroň – choirmaster
  • Bernhard Berchtold – tenor
  • Stephan Genz – baritone
  • Alexander Liebreich – conductor

Oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives

The composer’s only oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives from 1803, which he revised in 1811, is not performed as frequently as other works by him – in fact, this will be the first ever performance of the oratorio at the Prague Spring! The extensive work, whose central theme is Christ’s Passion, was apparently written within a period of two weeks. The premiere was held at the beginning of April 1803 under somewhat dramatic circumstances.

The setting for the first performance was the Theater an der Wien, a venue involved in a merciless battle with a rival theatre, the Kärntnertortheater, which enjoyed the emperor’s support and was run by a certain Baron von Braun. When he discovered Beethoven’s intentions, he arranged for Haydn’s oratorio The Creation to be staged that same evening and, to this end, he hired Vienna’s best players in order to thwart Beethoven’s plans. In these circumstances it was no surprise that the premiere only enjoyed a lukewarm reception. Beethoven was not disheartened by this initial setback, however. It is clear the oratorio with its biblical theme was fundamental and fulfilling for him, particularly given his oppressive personal situation as he became aware of his irreversible hearing problems and approaching deafness. Within the space of a year he initiated four further performances of the oratorio.

Christus am Ölberge soloists

In contrast to the ill-fated premiere, the planned Prague Spring performance will be entrusted to first-class singers – the excellent Slovak soprano Simona Šaturová, the Austrian tenor Bernhard Berchtold and the German baritone Stephan Genz, whose voice was described by The Washington Post as “extraordinary”. This stellar cast will be joined by regular guests of the festival – the Prague Philharmonic Choir.

Soprano Simona Šaturová

The Slovak soprano Simona Šaturová is a sought-after performer of Mozart roles and the Italian bel canto repertoire. “Simona Šaturová, a native of Bratislava like Lucia Popp and Edita Gruberová, is nothing short of a small Mozartian miracle,” writes the Viennese website Der neue MerkerShe sings Konstanze with such unwavering coloratura, subtle, sensitive pianos and stylistic perfection, it’s enough to take your breath away.” Key roles in her repertoire include Konstanze (The Abduction from the Seraglio), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Rosina (The Barber of Seville), Adina (The Elixir of Love) and many others. Her vocal skill has taken her to Dresden’s Semperoper, Theater an der Wien, New York’s Carnegie Hall and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, and she has also worked with such conducting names as Charles Dutoit, Fabio Luisi and Manfred Honeck. She is a recipient of the Charlotte and Walter Hamel Foundation Prize (2007) and the Thalia Award (2001).