Women in Music / Esquisses

Vítězslava Kaprálová
Sláva Vorlová
Nadia Boulanger

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Marie-Juliette “Lili” Boulanger (1893–1918)
Dans l'immense tristesse (In Immense Sadness)
Le retour (The Return)
Nadia Boulanger (1887–1979)
L'échange (The Exchange)
Vítězslava Kaprálová (1915–1940)
Two Songs, Op. 4
Apple from the Lap, Op. 10
January (for upper voice, flute, two violins, cello and piano)
Sláva Vorlová (1894–1973)
Nostalgia, Op. 13
Three Songs for Mezzo-Soprano, Op. 2
Brief Reflections, Op. 89
Alma Mahler (1879–1964)
Vier Lieder (Four Songs)

Tamara Morozová, soprano
Viktorie Kaplanová Dugranpere, soprano
Monika Jägerová, alto
Vojtěch Červenka, piano
NeoKlasik Orchestr

ADMISSION FREE. Due to limited seating capacity, we recommend reserving tickets by June 19.

Concert partner is the Goethe-Institut Prag. The project is implemented in collaboration with Lieder Society, z. s. and The Kapralova Society


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Wed 21/06/2023
7.00 pm
Prague, Goethe-Institut
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Nadia Boulanger (1887–1979) and Marie-Juliette "Lili" Boulanger (1893–1918) were born into a prominent, well-situated Parisian family with a history of impressive musical and theatrical achievements. Their father Ernest (1815–1900) won the famous Prix de Rome in 1835. Their mother Raïssa (1858–1935) was reportedly a Russian noblewoman and met Ernest Boulanger as his vocal student at the Paris Conservatoire. The Boulanger family's friends included Gounod, Saint-Saëns, Fauré, Dupré and many other important French musicians. Nadia and Lili thus grew up in a musically and intellectually stimulating environment, and their successes did not take long to come. While Nadia reportedly knew both parts of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier by heart at the age of ten, Lili discovered the gift of perfect pitch at the age of two, and at five began taking music lessons with her sister at the Paris Conservatoire.  Lili Boulanger wrote the song Le retour (The Return) in 1912, when she was officially admitted to the Paris Conservatoire. In the same year, she made her first attempt to win the famous Prix de Rome, but had to withdraw from the competition due to illness. A year later, she had already claimed a clear victory and became the first woman in history to win this demanding competition, at the age of nineteen just as her father had done. The song Dans l'immense tristesse (In Immense Sorrow) was written four years later in 1916, marked by the hardships of war and Lili's ever-deteriorating health. Lili Boulanger's life came to a close two years later in 1918, when she was only twenty-four years old.  Nadia Boulanger outlived her sister by an incredible sixty-one years. The death of her beloved sister, however, marked her deeply and precipitated her departure from the composing scene, when she herself – through the lens of Lili's compositional talent – described her own work as "useless" and began to devote herself entirely to conducting and teaching. The 1922 song L'échange (The Exchange), set to words by Camille Mauclair (1872–1945), was one of her last compositions. L'échange tells the story of a woman who gives her heart to an alcoholic: "Exchange, sad exchange, iron ring for gold ring.“

Sláva Vorlová (born Miroslava Johnová, 1894–1973), also known under the pseudonym Mira Kord, is undoubtedly one of the most important Czech composers of the 20th century. The song cycle Nostalgia, Op. 13, relates to the time when Sláva Vorlová was struck by a cruel fate. On the last day of the Second World War, 8 May 1945, she witnessed the brutal execution of her husband Rudolf Vorel by the Nazis. After this event, she fell into a state of total mental depression and creative agony for a year, until in 1946 she came into possession of Olga Scheinpflugová's (1902–1968) collection of poems, Stesk (Lamentation), in which the author wrote about the loss of her husband Karel Čapek in 1938. "It was only that little book that proved that in a few days I had completed a cycle of ten songs. Those were difficult days and the songs were my redemption," wrote Sláva Vorlová. Completed on 2 August 1946, the cycle that brought Sláva Vorlová back to creative activity uses many metaphors: the Stations of the Cross as a metaphor for human life, the lullaby that "lulls to sleep the lost love that died a martyr's death“. This masterpiece is framed by Three Songs for Mezzo-Soprano and Piano, Op. 2, Vorlová’s early opus written on her own lyrics in1934, and her late opus from 1971 – Brief Reflections, Op. 89 – on the words of Miroslav Holub.

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The work of Vítězslava Kaprálová (1915–1940) was partly presented in the opening concert of the Women in Music series. Today, we have a rare opportunity to get acquainted with her chamber music, specifically with her songs, to which – thanks to her family background – she was very close. The concert will consist of Two Songs on the Words of R. Bojko, Op. 4, the cycle Apple from the Lap, Op. 10, on texts by Jaroslav Seifert (1901–1986), and the song January from 1933, written for a higher voice and chamber ensemble consisting of flute, two violins, cello and piano on a text by Vítězslav Nezval (1900–1958).

The last woman composer of the evening is Alma Mahler (1879–1964), a woman associated with many famous men – Gustav Klimt, Alexander Zemlinsky, Walter Gropius, Franz Werfel and of course Gustav Mahler. But Alma was much more than a passive muse. In addition to her literary talents, she was also blessed with a musical talent that is worthy of note. When she married Gustav Mahler at the age of twenty-two, she was forced by him to give up her artistic ambitions in favour of their relationship, something Mahler apparently later regretted when Alma began to grow humanly distant from him for this reason as well. So, towards the end of his life, he himself reconsidered this condition, and in 1910 he even advocated the editing and publication of several of Alma's songs in the Vienna publishing house Universal Edition. The Four Songs by Alma Mahler that will be performed tonight were published after Mahler's death in 1915, but in terms of composition they date from 1901 to 1911 and, like the first volume published in 1910, bear all the stylistic hallmarks of late Romanticism. 

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The Slovak-born soprano Tamara Morozová has received a number of coveted accolades. In 2012, she came first in the Junior category at the International Antonín Dvořák Vocal Competition in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, where in 2017 she received second prize in the Song category and in 2021 won the Opera category, also obtaining the Audience Prize and Prague’s National Theatre Prize. In 2017, she debuted as the Mother in Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel in Weikersheim, Germany. In 2020, she excelled in the Run OpeRun production of Francis Poulenc’s one-acter La voix humaine for soprano and orchestra, presented at the Opera festival in Prague. In 2022, she made her debut at the National Theatre in Prague, portraying the double role of Marguerite/Shadow in Erwin Schulhoff’s Flammen at the State Opera. Her repertoire also includes Tatyana (Eugene Onegin), the First Lady (Die Zauberflöte), Agathe (Der Freischütz) and Mimi (La bohème). A graduate of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, she attended masterclasses led by Edda Moser and Daphne Evangelatos within the Sommerakademie Mozarteum in Salzburg, and has been granted IsaOperaVienna, Junge Musiker Stiftung and Bayreuther Festspiele scholarships. Tamara Morozová founded and is president of the Lieder Society.

The Czech soprano Viktorie Kaplanová Dugranpere has since 2016 been artistic director and soloist of the vocal-instrumental Victoria Ensemble, focusing on early music. She has also devoted to 19th- and 20th-century song repertoire, as well as, as a member of the Viktorie & František BAND, chanson, blues and jazz. In 2021, she was programme director of Victoria Ensemble’s Hlasy tří světů (Voices of Three Worlds) concert season and festival. She studied solo vocal performance with Daniela Šounová Brouková and Jiří Kotouč, and with Pavla Zumrová within the Prague Music Academy. Viktorie Kaplanová Dugranpere has attended numerous early music and Baroque singing masterclasses (led by Julie Hassler, Caroline Pelon and Beatriz Lafont), and Baroque gesture and acting lessons (under the guidance of Nicole Rouille and Lorenzo Charoy). Moreover, she studied church music choir conducting at the Týn School and musicology at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague, and French 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century music, as well as voice and performance of French Baroque music with Isabelle Desrochers at the Sorbonne in Paris.

The Czech mezzosoprano Monika Jägerová has performed to acclaim on stages in the Czech Republic, including the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre in Ostrava and the National Theatre in Brno (in the production of Handel‘s Alcina, which has also been presented at the Opéra Royal du Château de Versailles), and abroad, including the Bergen National Opera, Norway, and the Teatro Verdi in Trieste, Italy. She has worked with the Catalan theatre troupe La Fura dels Baus in Barcelona. Moreover, she has appeared with the Czech Philharmonic, conducted by Semyon Bychkov (Rusalka), and the Bergen Philharmonic (Parsifal). A sought-after Baroque singer, she has regularly performed as a guest with Collegium 1704, Czech Ensemble Baroque, Hof-musici and Ensemble Damian. Her portrayal of Timante in a production of J. A. Hass’s opera Demofoonte earned her a nomination for the prestigious Czech Thalia Prize (2019) and advancement to the semi-final of the Stanislaw Moniuszko Vocal Competition in Warsaw (2022). Monika Jägerová took private voice lessons from Pavla Zumrová, and attended masterclasses led by Emma Kirkby, Chantal Santon Jeffery, Deda Cristina Colonna, Markéta Cukrová and Lorenzo Charoy. Moreover, she studied the violin at the Jan Deyl Conservatory and musicology (with focus on the 17th and 18th centuries, and cultural analysis of music) at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague. She is currently studying for a doctorate at the Universität Leipzig. She founded the Lieder Society.

Vojtěch Červenka has been a sought-after piano accompanist of Czech singers of such renown as Gabriela Beňačková, Kateřina Kněžíková and Adam Plachetka, as well as young vocal artists, including Bella Adamová and Tadeáš Hoza. In 2022, he participated in the preparation of a production of Antonín Dvořák’s opera Armida for the Wexford Festival Opera. As a coach, he has worked on the world premieres of a number of operas, including Ivan Acher and Martin Konvička’s  Zabijačka (Pig-Slaughter) and David Conte’s The Gift of the Magi. He is currently a repetiteur at the Jan Deyl Conservatory in Prague, and is collaborating with the Prague Philharmonic Children’s Choir, the Prague Mixed Choir and the Zvonky Hulín choir. Vojtěch Červenka studied the piano at the P. J. Vejvanovský Conservatory in Kroměříž and conducting at the Jaroslav Ježek Conservatory in Prague. 

NeoKlasik Orchestr
1st violin: Tomáš Bařinka 
2nd violin:  Ayako Noguchi 
Cello:  Lukáš Hrnčárek 
Flute: Marie Benetková
Piano: Vojtěch Červenka

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