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Czech and Spanish Ballads

Novofest 2015 - Concert Review

Harmonie online, 17.8.2015, Markéta Vejvodová

To begin with, the choice of artists proved most auspicious. They included a brilliant mezzo, Barbora Polášková, appearing alongside the Duo Siempre Nuevo of guitarists Matěj Freml and Patrick Vacík. Her exceptional vocal range enables Barbora Polášková to interpret an impressively wide repertoire, from music of the high Renaissance to contemporary works. Not only is Barbora Polášková endowed with a captivating, opulently coloured voice controlled by flawless technique; she is also naturally predisposed for music whose fiery temperament is proper to the southern latitudes... Clad in a red dress, she struck a platform presence that amounted to a literal embodiment of a stunning Carmen. No wonder then that the best-loved aria from the opera Carmen came as her first encore.

...It was also during the performance of the Dvořák songs that I fully realized how immaculately the two guitars matched Barbora Polášková´s alluring voice. Thanks to the delicacy of the guitars´ sound, the voice was allowed a much wider margin of contrast in terms of intensity, letting certain phrases and passages stand out with much greater aplomb than would have been the case with the original piano accompaniment.


...the programme´s variety was further enhanced by the ensuing rendition of Rodrigo´s song Aranjuez, ma pensée, again featuring the voice of Barbora Polášková... whose dark timbre added to the song an immensely electrifying charge. What a contrast it was between the well-known melody´s rendition here by the lively brilliant mezzo, and its standard solo guitar versions known from performances of the complete concerto...


Spain with its dance rhythms was given free rein in the concert´s final series of Manuel de Falla´s songs... Their clear, sensitive and disciplined accompaniment once again allowed Barbora Polášková´s voice to display the full range of its beauty. And this time out, the audience were particularly grateful. Their pick of five songs was focused on dance rhythms and quintessential Iberian melodies, as well as, naturally, their amenability to accompaniment by two guitars. The final effect was awesome! Notwithstanding the current heat wave which brought the temperature in the hall on a par with the southernmost parts of Spain at sharp noon, the artists, seemingly unaware of the heat, gave a stunning performance...