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PETER MICHALICA OPENS THE FOURTH YEAR OF HIS HOME FESTIVAL

Violinist hosts house music

AT THE END of 2000, violin virtuoso Peter Michalica regained the Kremnica house where he was born, which had been appropriated by the state during communism. The mansion was built in the 15th century and features a rare Gothic architectural facet, the diamond vault, which the musician decided to share with the public through music.
Each year he holds the Music Under the Diamond Vault festival, which delivers a handful of chamber concerts in a sociable, chamber atmosphere.


MICHALICA invites music lovers to his home.
photo: Ivan Čillík

AT THE END of 2000, violin virtuoso Peter Michalica regained the Kremnica house where he was born, which had been appropriated by the state during communism. The mansion was built in the 15th century and features a rare Gothic architectural facet, the diamond vault, which the musician decided to share with the public through music.

Each year he holds the Music Under the Diamond Vault festival, which delivers a handful of chamber concerts in a sociable, chamber atmosphere.

"It is a unique festival in the European context, because it's most probably the only festival on the continent that is organised by a man in his family house," Michalica said.

On June 11, the violinist, along with harp player Adriana Antalová, opened the fourth year of the festival, which will run each Friday until July 16.

The two musicians performed works by various international composers, including Slovak Peter Martinček and his Ave Maria. Michalica chose this as the opening act because the "harp and violin fit nicely with the atmosphere of gothic architecture".

The five following concerts will feature musicians from the neighbouring Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, and the USA. Two of the events, on June 18 and July 2, will take place at the nearby Františkánsky kostol (Franciscan Church) on Štefánikovo námestie.

"This year's programme is more international than in the past," said Michalica, who will join the Slovak Sinfonieta Žilina on July 2 under the baton of American conductor Leo Najar. They will perform the Slovak premiere of the Violin Concert by Ladislav Kupkovič, a Slovak composer living in Germany.

"The chamber orchestra Academia Allegro Vivo, an orchestra compiled of great Viennese musicians, will, among others, deliver Bach's Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins and Dvořák's Serenade on June 18," said Michalica. He and Austrian violinist Bijan Khadam Missagh will master the violin solos.

Camerata Cracovia, an ancient music ensemble from Poland, will present music by early masters on baroque instruments on June 25. The Zsapkas, a father and son guitar duo, will come to perform largely Spanish composers on July 9. Mezzo-soprano Terézia Babjaková-Kružliaková and violinist Michalica will also perform .

"The programme also varies in the sense that the violin with the harp deliver a rather [sweet], graceful repertoire that suits the beautiful harp atmosphere, while [violin] in concert with a harpsichord primarily brings works by baroque composers," said Michalica, who will close the concert on July 16 with Czech mezzo-soprano Eva Garajová and Slovak harpsichordist Marica Dobiášová.

The violinist has a poetic reason for opening his house to music lovers. Legend has it that a very rich but greedy woman refused to help poor, starving people begging at one of the mansion's windows. They cursed her and she turned into a pig.

"I try to break the spell with generosity - offering nourishment for the soul upstairs and nourishment for the body, after the concert, downstairs," Michalica said.

The concerts of the Music Under the Diamond Vault festival start at 19:00 every Friday until July 16. The Dom Komorského Grófa (Count Comes Mansion) is located at Kollárova 541, near the Kremnica Castle. Book tickets (Sk100-180) in advance at the Information Centre in Kremnica (www.kreminca.sk, infocentrum@kremnica.sk, tel: 045/6742-856); or at the Revivals civic association in Bratislava at Štefánikova 7 (tel: 02/5244-4888).

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