During the last week of March, Peter Valentovič will be making his debut in the two most prestigious opera houses of today. He will be accompanying Edita Gruberová on the piano during song recitals.
Conductor and pianist Peter Valentovič will be presenting himself as the accompanist of the opera legend, Edita Gruberová, on the world’s leading stages within a few day: at La Scala in Milan on 20th March and then at the Vienna State Opera on 24th March. The latter performance has already been sold out. In both cases the programme consists of songs from the Slavic (Dvořák, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov) and German (Mahler, Strauss) repertoire.
The “Liederabend“ (Evening of Songs) will take place as part of a series of concerts of the world’s best performers: “It is an honour to me to be able to take part in this series of recitals featuring, besides Edita Gruberová, such stars as Krassimira Stoyanova, René Pape and Thomas Hampson. In Vienna it is a series of soloists’ concerts featuring Juan Diego Floréz, Karita Matilla and Angelika Kirchschlager,” says Peter Valentovič, adding: “In such cases, the pianist must be on a really high level so as to be an equal partner to the singing stars. However, the demands that are put on you are great inspiration and motivation for you to keep improving. At the same time, piano accompaniment is also a great opportunity, which I always put to good use when working with singers as a conductor. It helps me to understand better their phrasing and their work with dynamics and breathing.”
Edita Gruberová has been cooperating with Peter Valentovič intensively for four years, i.e. since 2013, when she decided to support him using the funds she had gained when she had been awarded the Herbert von Karajan Music Prize. They first met during the recording of Bellini’s opera La straniera with Peter as the conductor’s assistant.
Other artistic commitments will lead Peter Valentovič to Bratislava, Budapest, Japan and in the next season also to the National Theatre in Prague. In the autumn of 2016 he went on a successful tour with the Prague State Opera Orchestra performing Norma with Edita Gruberová singing the title role. She will be singing the same role under Peter Valentovič’s baton in Prague as well.
In spite of his young age, Peter Valentovič has achieved a lot of success at the world’s opera houses and concert halls, especially as a conductor but also as a pianist accompanying singers’ recitals.
Last month he conducted the Prague State Opera Orchestra and Choir during a month-long tour of Japan, where Edita Gruberová excelled in the title role of Bellini’s Norma, and their common solo performances and song recitals were also successful.
This is what Edita Gruberová said about Peter Valentovič in an interview for Operaslovakia.sk on 1 August 2016:
“I liked him immediately, so I approached him and our cooperation began to develop from there. In the beginning I gave him Schubert’s songs and he played them with a lot of feeling. I felt as if we had been rehearsing them for years. He was very sensitive and responded immediately to my singing, felt my phrases, the composition’s contents, changes in tempo, dynamic structure, etc. He sight-read everything with no preparation and he played not only the notes but also the music and stories of the songs. Then I thought I could test him playing Strauss, whose music is more complicated, and he didn’t disappoint me. I was more than satisfied. He is a great sight-reader and improviser. He’s excellent!”
As a very young pianist, Peter Valentovič won several national piano competitions. He soon began to pursue a career in music as a solo pianist. He studied conducting with Leopold Hager at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna and with Zsolt Nagy at Conservatoire National Superiéur in Paris.
At the age of twenty-one he conducted his first opera, The Marriage of Figaro, at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, where he later conducted Don Pasquale, Die Kluge and The Cunning Little Vixen. While studying in Vienna he won a Viktor Bunzl scholarship for his outstanding artistic talent.
In 2003 he worked as a répétiteur for Paris opera houses, Opéra Bastille and Théâtre du Chatelet, where he cooperated with John Elliot Gardiner. As Zsolt Nagy’s assistant he conducted the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra at the contemporary music festival, Ostrava Days.
Peter Valentovič has also worked as a choirmaster and conductor in residence at the Cape Town Opera, South Africa, where he extended his repertoire by the operas Nabucco, Cavalleria rusticana, Gianni Schicchi, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Rusalka and Porgy and Bess, as well as by many symphonic works and oratorios.
After that he took the post of conductor in residence at the Istanbul State Opera. In 2004 he first conducted the Slovak Philharmonic and continued working with that orchestra, rehearsing, for example, Verdi’s Requiem. Peter Valentovič regularly performs as a guest at the Slovak National Theatre and at the State Opera in Košice.
His repertoire comprises many symphonic works and oratorios across the Italian opera (such as Don Pasquale, La Rondine, The Capulet’s and the Montagues, Aida, La Traviata) and famous German works, such as Fidelio, The Flying Dutchman and Strauss’s operas Elektra and Salome. Peter Valentovič has also cooperated with SWR Freiburg, the National Orchestra of Wales, Haydn Orchestra, Toscanini Orchestra, Malmö Opera Orchestra and Norrlandsoperan Orchestra.
In 2012 he managed the rehearsals of Janáček’s opera From the House of the Dead, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst. In September 2013 his Vienna debut as a conductor took place at Edita Gruberová’s concert at the Theater an der Wien.
With Edita Gruberová he also debuted as a conductor at the Theater an der Wien with the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien at her concert in 2013. During the 2014/2015 season he worked with soprano Pretty Yende at the Wiener Konzerthaus, where he conducted the Prague Philharmonia. In the same season he introduced himself to the audience in Bratislava at the opening concert of the zeroth Eurokontext International Theatre Festival, where he conducted Ľubica Čekovská’s opera Dorian Gray. Other operas that have been performed under his baton include La bohème, Rigoletto, La clemenza di Tito and the ballet A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin.
During the 2015/2016 season he rehearsed Bellini’s Norma at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and Lehár’s operetta The Land of Smiles at the Slovak National Theatre.