Blanka JuhaňákováGuest of the National Theatre Opera.
Prof. Blanka Juhaňáková graduated from the Bratislava Conservatory and the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno as a pianist and choir conductor. She lectures at the University of Musical Art in Bratislava. Since 2000 she has been the Chairman of the Commission for Choir Singing in Slovakia for the National Centre of Education, from 2002 a member of the Commission of Concert Artists for the Music Fund and from 2003 a member of the Council for Science and Art of the University of Musical Art.
From 1991-2001 she was Choirmaster of the Slovak Philharmonic Choir, with whom she prepared numerous noteworthy compositions, e. g. Schönberg`s Jacob`s Ladder and Adams`s Harmonium, concert versions of the operas Wieland the Smith by J. L. Bella, Aida by G. Verdi, Turandot by G. Puccini with the conductor O. Lenárd and scenic performances of Bizet`s Carmen, Verdi`s Masked Ball and Offenbach`s The Tales of Hoffman, conducted in Lille, France, by Jean Claude Casadesus. She also participated in the Boris Godunov project at the festival in Salzburg and Japan with maestro Claudio Abbado, and prepared the Slovak Philharmonic Choir for the performance of Wagner`s opera Rienzi at the Vienna State Opera with maestro Zubin Mehta. Blanka Juhaňáková has been Chief Choirmaster of the Slovak Philharmonic Choir since January 2005. Since 2005 she participated in important projects, among others in Les Invalides, Paris, where she performed G. Rossini`s Petite messe solenelle with the Slovak Philharmonic Choir, Boris Godunov at the Vienna State Opera under the baton of Daniele Gatti, Das Liebesmahl der Apostel by R. Wagner in Spain under the leadership of Marc Minkowsky, Beethoven`s Symhony no. 9 in d minor with the conductor Alain Lombard in Lugano, Switzerland, concert versions of Verdi`s opera I due Foscari with Bertrand de Billy at the Wiener Konzerthaus, in cooperation with the opera festival in St. Margarethen she prepared the Slovak Philharmonic Choir for the performance of the original version of Verdi`s opera La Traviata, further Berlioz`s Damnation of Faust with B. de Billy and Mahler`s Symphony no. 8 with P. Boulez in Vienna, large opera productions - Wagner`s Lohengrin with Ralf Weikert in Wels and Tannhäuser in Las Palmas with Pedro Halffter, other notable foreign productions like Beethoven`s 9th Symphony in Istanbul with Sascha Goetzel, Mahler`s 8th Symphony, again in Vienna, but with the conductor Bertrand de Billy, the opera Lohengrin for the Richard Wagner Festival in Wels and Tannhäuser, once again for the Vienna State Opera with Franz Welser – Möst and the performances of Mahler`s 2nd Symphony and Beethoven`s Missa solemnis in Palermo, Sicily.
More recently, since 2011, she has conducted the Slovak Philharmonic Choir at the Budapest Spring Festival with choir works by F. Liszt and Z. Lukáš, prepared the choir for concerts with the Berlin Philharmonic, where they performed choral works by I. Stravinsky and two scenes from the opera Boris Godunov by M. P. Mussorgsky under the baton of Peter Eötvös, and, as part of their summer performances, the opening concert of the Carinthian Summer Music Festival in Villach, where Christoph Campestrini conducted the live premiere of the German motets op. 62 by R. Strauss and the 2nd Symphony by G. Mahler and a repeated guest performance in a new opera production of Peter Grimes by Benjamin Britten at the Teatro Pérez Galdós in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with Pedro Halffter.
Further interesting and significant concerts were a capella concerts by the Slovak Philharmonic Choir, the work All-night Vigil op. 37 by Sergej Rachmaninoff which Blanka Juhaňáková conducted to exceptional public acclaim in Slovakia (in Bratislava and Nitra), in Paris, France, in Palermo, Sicily and the Czech Republic – in Brno, Olomouc and this year also at the Prague Spring Festival.
Blanka Juhaňákova was also a guest at other major projects: in April 2005 she made her debut at the Rudolfinum in Prague with the Prague Philharmonic Choir and the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra in G. Verdi`s Requiem with the conductor Ondrej Lenárd. In 2006 she was guest choirmaster at the opera of the Slovak National Theatre in Puccini`s opera Turandot and Leoncavallo`s The Comediants and Mascagni`s Cavalleria rusticana. In 2007 she also prepared the choir of the Opera of the Slovak National Theatre for Verdi`s Requiem and made a guest performance in Prague, where she prepared the Prague Philharmonic Choir for Stravinsky`s Psalm Symphony with the Czech Philharmonic with the conductor Ondrej Lenárd. In 2010 co-operation with the opera choir of the Slovak National Theatre continued in the preparation of Gounod`s opera Faust with the conductor Rastislav Štúr.
Awards – in October 2005 the Music Fund awarded Blanka Juhaňákova the Frico Kafenda Prize for exceptional interpretational skills at home and abroad. On 15 January 2012 she was awarded the Krištáľové krídlo (Crystal Wing) Prize for outstanding conducting and choirmaster performances on the international music scene in 2011 and on 15 June 2012 she received the Holíč City Prize for artistic music creativity. On 10 July 2012 (her birthday) Blanka Juhaňáková was granted professorship by the President of the Slovak Republic, Ivan Gašparovič.At the beginning of the 2012/2013 season she will be preparing the Slovak Philharmonic Choir for France, where they will perform Dvořák`s Requiem with the Orchestre National de Lyon and the conductor Tomáš Netopil. As part of the tour she will also perform as conductor at a separate choir concert with works by S. Rachmaninoff, F. Poulenc and Z. Lukáš. Another important project is co-operation with Theater an der Wien, where the Slovak Philharmonic Choir will perform in a new opera production of Matthias the Painter by P. Hindemith with the Wiener Symphoniker under the leadership of Bertrand de Billy (premiere on 12 December 2012).