He has “balls” and rock-like rocks. I want to cry, says the conductor about serious music

According to Anna Novotna Peskova, conductor of the State Opera in Prague, classical music is wonderful, full of emotions, and one can get the same feeling as, for example, going to a rock or some more modern concert. “I like to say that classical music has the biggest ‘balls’,” points out one of the few Czech women who conducts large orchestras.

Spotlight Anna Novotna-Peskova. | Video: Blahoslav Baťa

She has heard and conducted the opera Rusalka by famous composer Antonin Dvořák many times in her life. “Even when I’m running it, I always want to cry at the end. I think it absolutely appeals to everyone, and it would be such a shame if people missed out on that experience,” she explains to her younger self. The generation that missed out on classical music doesn’t care much.

For those who want to get to know her, he recommends starting with Giuseppe Verdi’s opera La Traviata, based on Alexandre Dumas’ novel The Lady with the Camellias. “It’s fun, but it’s a good piece for beginners because it’s short. And yet, this opera that I’m going to conduct now is full of emotion from beginning to end,” he describes.

Anna Novotna Peskova works in an industry that is dominated by men and until relatively recently was almost unthinkable for a woman to run. Nevertheless, the situation has changed significantly in the last century, and she usually does not experience any controversies related to this. “When you’re ready, gender doesn’t matter,” she says.

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And she adds: “I think it’s unfortunate that a female conductor tries to masculinize herself. With our feminine energy, we can give it more warmth, softness or more elegance, but I don’t mean male or female conducting. Better.” The conductor of the State Opera reflects on a gendered approach to conducting the orchestra.

In an interview with Linda Bartošová, Novotná Pešková is considering, among other things, the construction of a new building for the Vltava Philharmonic, which will be located in Prague Holzovice and will cost at least ten billion crowns.

“I’m a sports fan, I think we have a lot of beautiful sports halls and great players and athletes. And we have players at the same level, for example, in orchestras, why don’t we have one. A beautiful concert or cultural hall,” he adds.

You can watch the entire interview in the intro video or listen to it on your favorite podcast app.

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