František DrsConductor of the Opera
František Drs studied violin at the Prague Conservatory and the Academy of Music in Prague, and received training as a conductor privately. In 1974 he became concert master of the opera orchestra at the J. K. Tyl Theatre in Plzeň, in which position he served until 1997. Then in 1980 he began conducting at the same theatre, initially ballets and later operas as well. The first opera production he conducted independently was Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel in 1987. His repertoire now includes more than thirty operas including for example The Bartered Bride, Dalibor, The Kiss, The Secret, Rusalka, The Devil and Kate, The Jacobin, The Cunning Little Vixen, Donizetti’s Viva la mamma and L’elisir d’amore, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Giovanni, Die Zauberflöte, Rigoletto, Il trovatore, La traviata, Un ballo in maschera, Puccini’s La bohème, Carmen, Faust, Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tale of Tsar Sultan, as well as twelve ballets of which we might mention Bohuslav Martinů’s The Chap-Book, Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty, and Prokofiev’s Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet. Mr. Drs also collaborates regularly with many symphony orchestras, conducting an extensive repertoire of symphonic and oratorio-style works; he has made recordings of such works for Czech Radio, primarily in the realm of twentieth-century and contemporary music. Since 2003 he has been conductor of the Chamber Orchestra of the National Theatre in Prague. Besides appearing in the Czech Republic he has conducted in Germany, France, Austria, Russia, and Lithuania. While conducting at the Musical Theatre in the Karlín district of Prague he expanded his repertoire to include classical operettas and musicals. He is the founder of the “Operatic Week” festival at the Vlašský dvůr in Kutná Hora, which has been held since 1995. From 2000 to 2011 he was a conductor of the Prague State Opera, where he shared in the productions of Karel Weis’s opera The Polish Jew, Zdenek Merta’s La Roulette, Leonard Bernstein’s Candide and Benjamin Britten’s Death in Venice, and also conducted La traviata, Madama Butterfly, Carmen, Tosca, and Rusalka. Since January 1, 2012 he has been conductor of the Czech National Opera in Prague, where he shared in the production of War with the Newts by Vladimír Franz.
Update: March 2013