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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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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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