Sherrill Milnes returns with Don Giovanni

Prague Summer Nights Young Artists Music Festival will stage Mozart at the Estates Theatre

A production of Mozart's Don Giovanni co-directed by American baritone Sherrill Milnes will be at the Estates Theatre in Prague for four shows from July 7 to 9.

It will be part of the Prague Summer Nights Young Artists Music Festival, now in its second year. Additional operas and concerts will also take place during the festival in Prague and other cities in the Czech Republic, starting June 25

Sherrill Milnes was associated with the the Metropolitan Opera in New York from 1965 to 1997, and has now turned his attention to career development for young artists. His wife, soprano Maria Zouves, is also co-directing. The festival is staged by concert planning and music management company Classical Movements, which has worked in over 145 countries on six continents.

Wolfgang Mozart conducted the premiere of Don Giovanni at the Estates Theatre in 1787, and Milnes is no stranger the opera. His debut in 1965 was in the role of Masetto, and later he would sing the lead..

“It is a tremendous pleasure to return to the city of Prague where I was the first American to sing the role of Don Giovanni at the Estates Theatre,” he said.

The Estates Theatre is the only venue left in the world where Mozart conducted a premiere of one of his own works.

Milnes said there is no better place in the world for young artists to experience putting on a full production, and being in Don Giovanni on that same stage where it had its premiere is a once in a lifetime opportunity

Milnes will be among the faculty that spends a month with students from North America, Europe and Asia.

Other faculty members include John Nardolillo who has been conducting internationally since 1994, and James Burton, who has experience as a conductor, pianist and singer.

Some guest staff come from the Prague Conservatory and local orchestras, and includes former Minister of Culture Václav Riedlbauch, who is also an expert on chamber music.

New to the faculty this year is Czech Philharmonic concertmaster Josef Špaĉek and Walter Seyfarth of the Berlin Philharmonic.

“I look forward to working with these brilliant young artists, developing and nurturing their craft, and providing them with the rare opportunity to give four performances of Don Giovanni,” Milnes said.

This production of Don Giovanni is not like the one currently staged during main season.

The Prague Summer Nights production uses costumes from Oscar-winner Theodor Píštěk, famous for the costumes for the film Amadeus and for the uniforms for the Prague’s Castle Guard following the election of Václav Havel in 1989.

The set by Josef Svoboda is based on a designed from1969 and a copy is now used. The set picks up the interior design of the Estates Theatre and creates the illusion that the theater's boxes extend onto the stage.

The lead role will be performed alternately by Portuguese baritone Tiago Matos, who was part of the Atelier Lyrique of the Paris National Opera, and Chilean baritone Javier Arrey, a graduate of Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist program.

Donna Anna will be performed alternately by American soprano Kaitlyn Johnson, who made her international debut as Yvette in Puccini’s La Rondine in Cortona, Italy, and South Korean baritone Yuji Bae, who has performed as a new rising star in Seoul and at a gala concert in Pesaro, Italy.

Neeta Helms, president of Classical Movements, said the company has created an extraordinary program. “We believe that no other summer musical training offers young artists so many different opportunities to perform in such magnificent venues; both for opera singers and instrumentalists. We were fortunate to receive such high caliber applications and to attract such superior faculty, especially the legendary Sherrill Milnes,” she said.

In addition to Don Giovanni, two one-act operas: Giacomo Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi will be performed June 28 at Sts Simon and Jude Church. Gianni Schicchi is Puccini’s only comic opera.

A performance of opera scenes will take place at Martinů Hall in Lichtenstein Palace on June 25, a chamber music concert will take place at Suk Hall in the Rudolfinum on June 30, and an orchestral concert be at the Sladkovský Hall of the Municipal House on July 2 with works by Mozart and Dvořák.

Concerts will also také place in in Plzeň at Mêŝtanska Beseda and in Tábor at the Oskara Nedbala Theatre.

For more information please visit

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