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Clubbing with The Berg

The latest Berg Orchestra concert of contemporary classical music took place in the basement of the Roxy Club Nov 4. It only left us wanting more. The main instruments of the evening were strings, backed by an occasional keyboard, and percussion instruments, whose layered textures made tonal collages that thrilled and excited. The highlight of the evening was the premiere of Miloš Orsoň Štědroň’s Rock for Guitar and Strings. The…

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Making Words and Making Music

Anyone who listens to classical music knows that some pieces are good – and some are brilliant. Lucie Rohanová describes how pianist Michal Mašek also uses words to achieve this difference for a live audience. We who do not have any musical education — but only the love and enthusiasm for classical music — are in a difficult position when we want to talk about the music we’ve just heard….

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Christmas Comes to Prague: December Events

The Christmas season is rapidly approaching, so it’s never too early to take a look at the concerts and other events awaiting you in Prague in December. Whether you’re visiting for a few days and want to enjoy some culture, looking for refreshing Christmasy activities to get you into the spirit, or you’d just like to chill with an excellent performance during your break from the hassles of everyday work…

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Powered by Two: Music for Saxophone and Accordion

Think you know the saxophone and the accordion? As a duo, maybe not! Six German and Czech composers brought an innovative and novel approach to this unusual combination of instruments at the 6th Czech-German festival ‘New Music Powered by Two’ at Pálffy Palace Oct 23. The work was assigned by Ladislav Horák, the festival’s founder, accordionist, promoter of contemporary music, and professor at Prague Conservatory. He played all the accordion…

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‘La Bayadere’ Brings Indian Influence to Prague’s National Theater

Choreographer Javier Torres returns to the Czech National Ballet to present La Bayadére (The Temple Dancer), an old, old love story set in exotic India. La Bayadére’s original Petipa choreography, set to a Minkus score, premiered in St Petersburg in 1877, but “The traditional story is a little bit more superficial than what I’m doing,” Javier Torres began, clearly tired but still energized and friendly after an evening rehearsal. He…

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Choreographer Javier Torres’ Letter to His Audience

This is the beginning of a backgrounder article provided as a service to Opus Osm readers by The Czech National Ballet. You can read the entire ‘letter’ (in English and in Czech versions) by clicking the “Re:Source” tab at the top of any page. Chcete-li pokračovat ve čtení, klikněte na “Re:Source” záložku v horní části kterékoli stránky. . Dear Audience, It is my pleasure to share with you my latest…

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Meet Old & New Czech Cello Works at Festival Brikcius

Festival Brikcius’ third chamber music concert series opens Nov 6 and spotlights Czech and other cello composers in five upcoming concerts. The Festival commemorates several anniversaries of the birth and deaths of these composers well-known and not-so-well-known outside the Czech Republic. So test your musical knowledge: How many of these Czech composers on the Festival Brikcius concert program do you recognize? · The headliners: Bohuslav Martinů, Antonín Dvořák, Iša Krejčí,…

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Unlikely Combination: Czech, Spanish, Quechuan … Glass

Czech Baroque music found in Bolivia, Spanish Baroque music published in Prague, a Jesuit hymn in Bolivia’s Quechuan language … and Philip Glass? All in Ensemble Inégal’s unique ‘Americano’ concert Nov 3. As part of its “Music Visions” series, Ensemble Inégal links 18th-century Baroque music from the Czech lands and Spain, with South American cultures and Philip Glass’ Symphony No 3, at Prague’s Divadlo Archa at 8 pm Nov 3….

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Dancers Shine at Golden Prague Awards

For dance fans, five dance companies provided the real show at Czech Television’s ‘Golden Prague’ awards night. From classical to contemporary, solo performances to synchronized ballet, the live dance performances in between the awards and speeches showed the diversity of the Czech dance scene. In particular, a few promising young artists demonstrated that audiences will continue to be delighted for years to come. The annual Czech Television awards evening came…

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A Hundred Reasons to Go Out! Your Nov 2014 Calendar

You’ll wish November had 60 days instead of just 30 when you see how many great performances await you this month. History, tradition, and nature are strong themes running through Czech classical works, and you can savor some of these influences in several memorable performances in Prague this November. There is renewed interest in two Czech composers rather unknown outside the country. The JB Foerster Society presents Foerster’s work (1859-1951)…

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Beethoven’s Vibrant Ninth

It must be nice to be a member of the chorus during a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony – even if you have to wait 45 minutes to sing … Otherwise known as “the Choral,” the symphony which is now generally acknowledged as Beethoven’s finest was also the first by a major composer to use a chorus. But that chorus doesn’t stand up to sing until the fourth and final…

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Prague Chamber Ballet and 4! Quartets

This year the Prague Chamber Ballet marks 50 years since its original founding. They open the season by dancing to three classical Czech quartets, played live on stage by a fourth Czech classic, the Zemlinsky Quartet. Antonín Dvořák’s optimistic Slavonic Quartet started off the Oct 5 premiere of 3 Czech Quartets (3 Ceské Kvartety) at the Theatre of the Estates. Four male and four female dancers perform the cheerful, skillful…

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Hell in Heels: 420People’s ‘Inferno’

‘Hell on wheels’ is the idiom describing someone who behaves in a difficult way – which certainly applies to the movement in 420People’s new production. 420People’s latest show, Inferno, Dante’s Variations (Peklo, Dantovské Variace) lives up to its billing as an experimental performance. Peklo was inspired by Dante’s Inferno and his observations of hell. And the company describes the piece as “A tragicomic parable on a human fight with sorrow,…

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Where to Go: Your Oct 2014 Calendar

Classic autumn days are a trademark of the beauty of the Czech Republic. Why not visit some historic Czech sites before enjoying a classic Czech live performance? And there are so many high-quality performances to enjoy! The PKF-Prague Philharmonia teams up with the Prague Philharmonic Choir for a classic performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony Oct 5. The Czech Philharmonic invites you to enjoy their “Open Day” Oct 18, and they’re…

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Berg’s Soundwalk: The Music of the City

For the first part of the latest Berg Orchestra concert, the audience in little groups followed behind city guides with orange balloons, to listen to the sounds of the streets. The leaders for the “Open Air – Soundwalk” pre-concert city tour Sept 1 took different routes and different approaches. One was very earnest and showed his group a map with all the places they would go. Another serenely tied his…

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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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