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The Prague Spring Festival’s Big Numbers

Prague Spring’s official 70th birthday celebrates big numbers: the 700th birthday of Charles IV (1355-1378) – the 11th Czech king, and Holy Roman emperor. The Prague Spring International Music Festival May 12-June 4 offers you music in a huge number of genres. You’ll hear motets, Marian song forms, Chinese music drama, 17th and 18th century Spanish musical gems — to sonatas, symphonies, operas — even flamenco, rock, jazz, and shakuhachi!…

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OpusOsm Minutka: FOK’s ‘Ring’ Classics

Some music tells a story with notes alone. Other music remains connected to onscreen images burned into our memories. The Prague Symphony Orchestra’s Lord of the Rings performance allowed fans to appreciate both versions of famous ‘Ring’ music. OpusOsm Minutka (Little Minute): Five Fast Facts about FOK’s “Pán Prstenů (Lord of the Rings)” 1. The Prague Symphony Orchestra’s abbreviation “FOK” stands for “Film-Opera-Koncert” — FOK got its start in 1934…

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Hába: Familiar Name/Forgotten Music?

If you’ve taken music classes, you may know the name Alois Hába (1893-1973). Yet his music is rarely performed. That’s why the high attendance at a recent concert surprised everyone. Hana Dohnálková, dramaturgist of the PKF’s series, “Krása Dneška” (The Beauty of Today), was really surprised by the number of the people who came to the March concert at Roxy’s NoD Theatre. “There are so many of you today. Maybe…

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DKP, A Path to Professionalism

Pavel Šmok. Jiři Kylian. Nikola Márová. Many of the Czech dance names that we know and love have one thing in common: they are proud alumni of the DKP – Dance Conservatory of Prague (Taneční Konzervatoř Hlavního Města Prahy). The Dance Conservatory of Prague was founded shortly after the end of WWII, on October 11, 1945. Students study the normal academic curriculum while dipping their toes into these dance classrooms…

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Jac & Jan & FOK

Conductor Jac van Steen returns to lead the Prague Symphony Orchestra (FOK) in concert with the award-winning young violinist Jan Mráček, Apr 13-14. This is the beginning of the full Re:Source article which you can read by clicking on the Re:Source tab at the top of this page. The principal guest conductor of the 81st season of the Prague Symphony Orchestra, Jac van Steen, likes monumental pieces. One of them…

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Your Opus Osm April 2016 Calendar

Sure, recordings are a great invention. Still, nothing beats a live performance. We were reminded of this by seeing the plump feather comforters and puffy big Czech feather pillows airing on balconies and windowsills Easter weekend. Yes, you can still see this in little Czech villages (and some apartment towers in the cities), even in this polyester age. Preserving historic culture – and its effect on contemporary world arts –…

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Secret Life of the Czech Philharmonic

The Czech Philharmonic strips down to jeans and trainers, to reveal top (musical!) secrets to a curious audience. Renowned conductor Jiří Bělohlávek, popular presenter Marek Eben, and leading scriptwriter/filmmaker Alice Nellis – together with the Czech Philharmonic – took the stage in February. But not for a normal concert. They were there to disclose the behind-the-scenes work of Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier and Janáček’s Příhody lišky Bystroušky (The Cunning Little Vixen),…

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Juliette, Martinů’s World without Memory

Martinů’s surrealist opera Juliette – The Key To Dreams (Snář) premieres Mar 24-25 on The National Theatre stage, playing there for only the fourth time since its original Prague premiere in 1938. Bohuslav Martinů’s rush of inspiration derived from Georges Neveux’s original play which premiered in Paris in 1930. Out of the blue in 1936, Neveux receives a letter from Martinů: “…I have just finished reading your Julietta – I…

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The FOK & Dvořák’s Stabat Mater

Many believe that Dvořák’s immortal Stabat Mater oratorio was written in memory of his young children. But the Czech composer was a religious man in any case. Learn the story of this work, an Easter tradition for The Prague Symphony Orchestra (FOK). The Story Behind The Prague Symphony Orchestra’s Easter Concert Tradition This is the beginning of a longer, “Re:Source” article by The Prague Symphony Orchestra (FOK). Click here to…

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Winter’s Last Stand: An Enduring Snow Queen

The Czech National Ballet bids a final farewell to winter with a glittery, fantasy-filled production of The Snow Queen. Guest choreographer Michael Corder of the English National Ballet explains the background for this Czech production, which premiered Mar 3-4 at the State Opera: “I only choreograph, really, because I love the music,” he began, when asked about his motivation. “The entire inspiration for the ballet was Prokofiev’s music.” Corder was…

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Opus Osm Minutka: Kaprálová Quartet

When this women’s quartet was founded in 1995 as the Venus Quartet Prague, no similar group existed here; it was something the audience hadn’t seen before. Now, first violinist Veronika Panochová brings the story up to date. Opus Osm Minutka (Little Minute): Five Quick Questions for the Kaprálová Quartet 1 What are the Quartet’s goals as a “non-traditional” (all female) quartet? What kinds of reactions have you encountered? The reaction…

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Your Opus Osm March 2016 Calendar

With March, we’re facing uncertain weather, uncertain politics, even uncertain vacation plans. But one thing is certain: there’s plenty of Czech classical music, opera, and ballet to keep you going til our real spring arrives. The month of exceptional performances starts off with The Czech National Ballet’s premiere Thurs and Fri, Mar 3-4 of The Snow Queen. It may just leave you speechless – if not breathless – with all…

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The Making of a Snow Queen

This is the beginning of a background article (in English and in Czech) by The Czech National Ballet, which can be found in our “Re:Source” section. The Snow Queen: A Gleaming Spectacle First premiere performance: 3 March 2016 Second premiere performance: 4 March 2016 Further performances: 6, 18, 19, and 22 March; 7 and 14 May, 2016 This is the story – which needs no introduction – of the cruel…

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Stardust Cinderella

We all know Cinderella … don’t we? A surprising answer comes in the National Theatre’s performance of Rossini´s La Cenerentola (Popelka/Cinderella). The last time La Cenerentola was staged by The National Theatre was 1926. Since and even before then, there have been multiple stagings and interpretations: Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená arriving for the ball in a veteran blue car, performed in London; a Baroque setting in Vienna; a 1960′s setting…

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BHF: Ouch! Toe Shoes Hurt!

>This is the beginning of the full article, including video excerpts, that you can read in our Magazine section. That’s what the all-male dance troupe Ballet Hommes Fatals is finding out as they prepare for their Feb 28 premiere. (And yes, they are rehearsing the ‘dying swan.’) It says something about a dancer’s versatility: One minute you can see him in the studio confidently, gracefully lifting a ballerina. That’s under…

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Opus Osm Minutka: 420…Fashion!

Partnering with local Czech designer Josefina Bakošová, the dance company 420People launches a collection of active wear, and not just for dancers. Opus Osm Minutka: 5 Fast Facts about Josefina Bakošová for 420People 420People branches out beyond the movement of their bodies into the materials that cover them. The Czech dancers and designer launch a collection of active wear designed for dancers, also available to their audiences. We viewed the…

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