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The Ondřej Havelka-Gluck-Greek Orpheus

This is the story behind the story behind the story: Czech jazz/swing musician/director Havelka directs Glück’s Baroque version of a classic Greek myth … on film. –Got that? Ondřej Havelka, in addition to his music, also directs films. He had the opportunity to produce and film Glück’s Baroque opera Orpheo ed Eurydice (1762) in the classicly preserved Baroque theatre in Český Krumlov. During last month’s Opera Festival 2015, the film…

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What to See, Hear, Watch: Your April Calendar

Dozens of spectacular performances await you in concert halls and on ballet stages throughout the month of April. You can find out what, when, and where they are by checking our Events Calendar at the top right of every Opus Osm page. Here are just a few highlights: Of course, it wouldn’t be spring without the glorious music of Easter, whether in church services or concerts. A true Czech and…

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Collegium 1704′s ‘Great’ Performance

Baroque orchestra Collegium 1704’s last concert sold out every seat. The timing couldn’t have been better. The Feb 24 concert marked the beginning of Lent. Their featured opus, Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor, is labeled “Great” mainly due to the impressive scope of Mozart’s composition. Yet it is a piece very much conducive to a period of self-reflection and restraint. Composing works as profound and moving as the words…

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Ballettissimo, Contrasts in Choreography

The Czech National Ballet’s newest work offers starkly contrasting choreography and Czech, Italian, and German influences. The Czech National Ballet’s Artistic Director Petr Zuska opened the Mar 6 premiere on a classical note. He presented selected movements from his Symphony No. 1 in D Major by Gustav Mahler. The dancers flowed from the wings in a constant stream of pairs and groups. The ladies curved in soft C-shapes to the…

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Italian Cultural Institute Shares Its Treasures in Prague

When you think of impressive concert halls in Prague, don’t overlook the Baroque Chapel tucked away on Šporkova street in Malá Strana. The Baroque Chapel of the Italian Cultural Institute in Prague is a treasure trove of artistic beauty, offering music, art exhibitions, and more. The Italian Cultural Institute has a long history of hosting classical music concerts, usually featuring an Italian guest, often performing with Czech accompanists. For example,…

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The Soldier & the Dancer Tickles Audiences

Martinů’s production of the 1927 opera The Soldier and the Dancer (Voják a Tanečnice) uses visual gags, high-energy dance numbers, and plenty of adolescent humor. Opera is usually associated with sophistication – booming Italian baritones playing out soap opera drama on a stage for educated audiences. But Martinů’s The Soldier and the Dancer is an opera for a wider and sillier audience, which seems fitting as a part of Prague’s…

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Come on Out! Your March 2015 Calendar

Are you still hiding from winter? Come on out and play! This inter-season lull between winter and spring is the perfect time to divert yourself while waiting for warm weather, with a full calendar of fresh, live performances. As with every month, we’ve been scouring the performance schedules of the best and brightest local stars who bring you top-quality classical music, opera, and ballet. Here are just a few suggestions…

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Ballettissimo — Taste It!

The National Theatre Ballet presents Ballettissimo, its second premiere of the season, Mar 5 and 6. Ballettissimo is designed to replace Americana III, three pieces by American choreographers which enjoyed a successful run. This new production looks at how to apply conventional ballet techniques of today, in both traditional and very non-conforming, ultramodern senses of the word, according to the dance company. The performance begins with Symphony No. 1 in…

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Passionate Thrill/Icy Chill: Srnka, Maisky, & Hrůša

The audience leaps to its feet after hearing Latvian-born Israeli cellist Mischa Maisky perform Dvořák with the PKF – Prague Philharmonia. The energetic baton of the PKF’s long-valued conductor Jakub Hrůša starts up this Jan 18 evening with the metaphysical drama Manfred, Opus 115, which Schumann finished just two years before his suicide attempt in 1854. Byron’s drama about a noble tortured by mysterious guilt had touched the composer deeply…

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Moving Cities Prague, Dance in the City Streets

The Prague metro, tram stops, and city streets provide a gritty stage for the latest addition to a package of dance films set in major world cities. You may recognize well-known performers from the Czech National Ballet, 420People, VerteDance and more in Moving Cities Prague. It’s the fifth in a series of short films that “capture international dancers in real settings.” Previous film locations include Paris, London, Brussels, and Yerevan…

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‘At Home’ with PKF’s Worldwide Chamber Series

Martina Cechová, musicologist for the PKF – Prague Philharmonia, invites listeners to learn a few tidbits and to hear composers’ works in a close-to-home atmosphere. An audience small enough to be classified “intimate” yet large enough to comfortably fill the space at the Czech Museum of Music gathers on a chilly December evening. The concert tonight is “From Bohemian Fields and Groves-The Czech Tradition of the Wind Quintet” and features…

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420People’s Love & Loss: Phrasing the Pain

Belgian choreographer Anne Van den Broek creates Phrasing the Pain for the Czech dance company that was born at Nederlands Dans Theatre. The spotlights target the people in the audience and the performers are hidden on the stage behind this curtain of light. First come Nataša Novotná and Václav Kuneš. She painfully touches and hugs him, trying to bring life into the body of her partner. All her touches are…

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Beat the Blahs: Your February Calendar

‘The February Blahs,’ ‘Cabin Fever’ are just two illnesses affecting us during the grey-sky month of February. The best antidote: go to a concert, opera, or dance performance you’ve never experienced before. Here’s our advice on where to take the cure. Why not go where many have not dared venture before, and try out an opera? If the idea makes you tremble, just think of it like this: before there…

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Fibich: Romance Scored, Sealed, & Delivered

A composer who enjoys writing letters can express himself twice. Such was the case with Czech composer Zdeněk Fibich (1850-1900), as a recent performance at The Atrium gorgeously demonstrated. Fibich’s music, played by pianist Miroslav Sekera, violinist Markéta Janoušková, and sung by soprano Lucie Silkenová, combined with Fibich’s romantic correspondence read by actor Ondřej Kepka. Their performance inspired a meditation on the similarities between musical score and letter — and…

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A Better Kind of White Power

Music has the power to unite and to inspire, as the Čhavorenge Choir of Romany children, dressed in gleaming white, proved recently. What does nationalism and power mean in 2015 – in the Czech Republic or Ukraine or anywhere? The various answers came at a Nov 17 Students’ Day concert. It was held in the Rudolfinum and featured the Czech Philharmonic Students’ Orchestra and several student choirs from several parts…

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Jakub Hrůša: How to Listen to Classical Music

Confused about classical music? Or maybe ‘apprehensive’ is a better word? Chief conductor Jakub Hrůša explains what to listen for in classical music, in this heart-to-heart interview with Opus Osm. We’re sitting in front of Jakub Hrůša’s massive desk in a sunny, spacious office at the headquarters of the PKF – Prague Philharmonia in the center of Prague. Chief conductor and music director Hrůša, an energetic, vibrant 30-something, sits comfortably…

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