Famous Hollywood actor John Malkovich, a great international star of Croatian origin, will open the new concert season of Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall on Saturday. His first appearance in Croatia's capital was announced as the grand start of the new concert season, which would show that Lisinski Hall could go “over the rainbow”.
Dražen Siriščević, General Manager of Lisinski Hall, welcomed the prominent guest at the press conference held at Lisinski Hall on Friday. He expressed great pleasure and honour that the season of “14 splendid concerts” was going to be opened by such a prominent figure of the film world - the right way for Lisinski Hall to announce a year, in which it would show that ”it certainly could go over the rainbow”.
Malkovich will appear as narrator with young pianist Anastasia Terenkova and famous hornist Radovan Vlatković, who will be accompanied by the Varaždin Chamber Orchestra. The orchestra will be conducted by Italian maestro Alvise Casellati, who is considered to be one of the most talented young conductors today.
Malkovich thanked for the invitation and expressed great pleasure at appearing in Zagreb, where he had not appeared yet.
- This is the first time that I will perform in Zagreb. In Croatia, I have only had a few appearances with my friend Julian Rachlin in Dubrovnik and I am very happy to be here. I developed the piece that I will perform with prominent Russian pianist Ksenia Kogan three years ago. Now I perform it with the as brilliant Anastasia Terenkova - the famous actor said.
Malkovich will lend his voice to Fernando Vidal Olmos, the character from “The Report on the Blind”, a chapter of the novel On Heroes and Tombs by Argentinian writer Ernesto Sabato. It will be intertwined with the music of Alfred Schnittke's Concerto for Piano and Strings. He said that he became interested in doing the project after reading the novel by the excellent Argentinian writer, an astrophysicist by profession, who had been hired by the Argentinian authorities to investigate the fate of persons who had gone missing in Argentina.
He spent a year and a half developing it. It is a relatively short piece that lasts about 24 minutes. It premiered in Seoul, South Korea, three years ago. Since then, it has been performed throughout the world - in London, Berlin, Helsinki and Buenos Aires.
The Blind Lead this World
Malkovich said that he had no formal music education. His music taste is broad, he likes all music forms. He found the story that touched him so much (that is, a part of it) ideally suitable for Schnittke's music “because that music also has something paranoiac in itself, both powerfully and suggestively resonating with modern music.”
- I think that, when we talk about the title of that chapter, “The Report on the Blind”, that premise is correct - what the author meant was that the blind lead this world. I think that's true. But not necessarily the blind that we immediately think of. What interested me and why I chose to put exactly this text to that music is the fact that a paranoiac text can serve as a strong metaphor for many things, it applies to many people, cultures, and most definitely to the global popular culture. And I think it works very well in all these contexts - Malkovich said.
Connecting the narrative line of Olmos’s voice, a cruel and seemingly completely deranged paranoiac obsessed with the blind and evil, with Schnittke’s music creates a new ‘crossover’ classical music piece in a dialogue between the piano and the narrator's voice.
I Like Coming to Croatia
Replying to journalists’ questions on his expectations from the concert, Malkovich said that he was a person without expectations - “I have never seen the point in having expectations, because the audiences react the way they will react”.
Talking about his Croatian origins, he said that, on Thursday, he visited the village, in which his grandfather had allegedly lived: Why allegedly? Because I have never really found out which of the stories that I have been told are true. Everybody tells me different things and I have no way to check whether they are really true - he explained, and went on to say that he grew up “simply as an American”.
He never learned the language of his ancestors, and neither did his father. He also said that he liked coming to Croatia very much. He always enjoyed his stays in Croatia, although he admitted he knew the coast better, because he had been there more often. He said that there were many beautiful places on the Croatian coast, but didn't want to disclose what his favourite places were, because “then I would not be able to go back there in piece ever again”.
Interesting Music Programme
The second part of the Saturday's concert programme was presented by Radovan Vlatković, one of the few honorary members of the Royal Academy of Music in London.
He said that one of the compositions on the programme was the Concertino for Horn, Celesta, Strings and Percussion by Croatian composer Bruno Bjelinski, “which I thought would go together well with one of the most famous compositions ever written for the horn”, a short piece, “skilfully written, of attractive, vivacious character”, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Concerto for Horn and Orchestra in E-flat major. Also on the programme is Edward Elgar's Serenade for Strings in E minor.
The guest appearance of John Malkovich in the Saturday at Lisinski cycle is the first of the fourteen concerts in the 2017/18 Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall season dedicated to all colours of music, which will be “defended” by some of the world's greatest international and Croatian orchestras, conductors and soloists.
Jelena Pavičić Vukičević, Deputy Mayor of Zagreb, also welcomed the prominent guest to Zagreb. She said that the guest appearance of John Malkovich at Lisinski Hall announced the 45th season of the Saturday at Lisinski cycle, but also a rich cultural autumn, in which different audiences would be able to find something for themselves.
- Music is a universal language and I hope that we will enjoy that universal language. I’m sure that this will be a concert to remember - she concluded.