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Betrayal, Back-stabbing … Ballet?

Meddling, back-stabbing, and decadent betrayal: a timeless equation, but this piece was made to disparage the likes of Marie Antoinette. Welcome to the Czech National Ballet’s performance of Valmont. Based on the 1782 novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, Valmont exposes the distasteful nature of some pre-French revolutionary intrigues not only for our entertainment but to incite revolution. Aristocratic elegance shields games of depravity and deceit. In…

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The Music in Their Ears

Chief conductor Jakub Hrůša leads the opening PKF-Prague Philharmonia concert celebrating its 20 years, with the wish that his orchestra will already have Mahler’s music “in their ears.” The PKF-Prague Philharmonia celebrates its founding this season, denoted as “20 Years in Style.” It kicks off with three major concerts, each led by one of its historic chief conductors. Jakub Hrůša (chief conductor 2008-present) starts off the triplet Sept 28 by…

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Will She? Won’t She? Baroque Opera Re-enactment Reveals All

There are only 2 perfectly-preserved 18th-century opera theatres left in Europe. One is in Český Krumlov, and a ‘real’ Baroque opera takes to its stage Sept 19-21. For three nights, the Hof-Musici Baroque Orchestra – in authentic costumes, make-up, and wigs, singing in Italian and playing authentic instruments – will perform Hasse’s L’Ipermestra. They’ll perform on the candlelit stage in front of classic Baroque scenery in the restored theatre at…

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So Many Choices! Your Sept 2014 Calendar

It’s September again, and already concert masters are finding the “A,” conductors are flexing their batons while dancers are flexing their muscles, and opera singers are practicing their scales. Although traditionally the full season has usually started in October, it seems performers are filling in their “show time” diaries a little earlier each year. Take this September, for example. Already your Opus Osm Events Calendar offers you more than 50…

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The Commitments, Part 9: The Most Important Thing of All

In the final first-person writing by Prague Conservatory students, Veronika Hubinová reminds us about the importance of priorities — and not only for the serious music students who are tomorrow’s Czech “stars.” Česká verze je dole. Veronika Hubinová, Prague 2nd year, Clarinet My journey begins when I walked into the room where I was supposed to learn how to play the flute (recorder). Even though I was something like 6…

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The Devil is in the Dissonance

‘The devil is in the details’ is the idiom warning that the small details can make something difficult or challenging. And it applies to two memorable Prague Spring concerts with elements of musical dissonance. A historical landmark that has stood for over 700 years, St Agnes’ Cloister was built by a devout Bohemian princess. The building’s tripart windows and sconces stand as a testament to the Father, Son, and Holy…

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Love, Seduction in ‘Valmont’

The game of seduction has a single rule: You must never fall in love is the — well, seductive — description for the latest world premiere by The Czech National Ballet. “My dear, After Madame Merteuil caused the death of our love and I so unfortunately parted with you upon her urging, my life has been of no avail. Too late did I come to grasp that it is she…

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The Commitments, Part 8: The Mystery of the Choir

In our previous “Commitments” writing by a Prague Conservatory student, Anna Novotná told us about being a ‘conductor lady.’ This time Jakub Tomášek tells us about conducting a choir — and the special mystery when voices blend. Česká verze je dole. Jakub Tomášek, Prague 2nd year, Conducting After a year of my studies at the Prague Conservatoire I knew composition was not the only field of study I wanted to…

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Truly ‘Underground’ Music

“How come so little is said about the importance of hearing in novels?” asks Robbe-Grillet in his autobiography. This question inspired the recent public performance by The Berg Orchestra in — of all places — the unfinished Petřiny metro station. La Jalousie – The Sounds from a Novel is the title of a 1991 composition by Heiner Goebbels, the German composer and stage director whose work focuses on improvisations bordering…

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The ‘Firsts’ that Last

Prima ballerina Daria Klimentová’s 25 year career first started with The National Theatre Ballet. And that’s where she gave her last Czech performance, May 15, before her retirement from dance. Tickets for her performance sold out in a mere 23 minutes. And so it was a packed house that came to see, appreciate, applaud, literally cheer, and give standing ovations to the Prague native who has danced in companies around…

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The Commitments, Part 7: Anna’s Advice to Young Women

Women conducting business is nothing new. But women in the conducting business is still new and controversial. Prague Conservatory conducting/voice student Anna Novotná tells us exactly why. Česká verze je dole. Anna Novotná, Prague 3rd year, Classical singing, conducting This year I started to study the amazing thing called conducting, as my second main subject (the first one is classical singing). And I bet you have already realized I am…

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3 GR8 Music Festivals 2 GO 2

Warm weather brings a tempting list of classical musical festivals to the Czech Republic. Here’s a quick look at just three … and at one of them, audiences will be offered free Wifi and asked to switch their mobile phones on. School’s nearly out, summer is coming … and that means it’s time to make plans for a summer of hot music at annual music festivals. But festivals aren’t only…

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Kids of Summer — and their Psalters, Harps, and Gavottes

Until only recently, Early Music was often dismissed as irrelevant. Today you can enjoy Baroque performances everywhere. And now, one festival is even bringing old music to the youngest audience — kids from 4 to 14 — and their parents. “Our aim is to maintain the high-quality musical heritage we have, and the only way to do that is to educate the audience,” says Monika Nováková. ' She’s one of…

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The Commitments, Part 6: Nine Questions about Bassoon

. In this part of our first-person, Opus Osm series, Prague Conservatory student Martin Jirásek reveals what kind of commitment it takes to play the bassoon. And why it’s worth it. Česká verze je dole. Martin Jirasek, Liberec Bassoon, Second Year 1 What is a bassoon? The bassoon is a woodwind musical instrument, made from wood and iron. It is a very big instrument. So it is hard to hold…

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The Commitments, Part 5: Michaela’s ‘One of the Best’

In this part of Opus Osm’s first-person series, Conservatory flute student Michaela Blažková describes how a classical music ‘star’ is a role model for her, influencing her commitment to the study of music. Česká verze je dole. Michaela Blažková, Prague Flute, Second Year I met Philippe Bernold at his concerts which were last September in Prague and Plzeň. He was playing wonderfully, like always. My professor, Jan Ostrý, was a student of…

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Backstage with the French Horn

This is the beginning of the full article about French horn laureate Kateřina Javůrková. You can find the full article in our “Magazine” section — click on the black tab at the top of the page. This is a different kind of Rudolfinum than you know from its glittering concert hall. We’re passing through the employees’ entrance of the Czech Philharmonic orchestra … Kateřina Javůrková guides me through the corridors,…

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