Opus Osm: Your Feb 2016 Calendar
While some orchestras and dance companies are on international tours in February, most are starting to “wake up” again after the frantic holiday season. Here we present just a few of the many things to do and places to see excellent Czech classical music, opera, and ballet in Prague this February 2016.
The Municipal Library of Prague (Central Library or Městská knihovna v Praze)
continues to offer services that shouldn’t be overlooked. At beginning of this month, the library’s main branch hosts a showing of The Ustřední Hudba AČR’s (Czech army band) free concert, Feb 4 at 5 pm. And at the end of month, the Prague Chamber Ballet presents an educational program, “Dance Contrasts,” for school children, Feb 25 at 9 and 11 am.
The State Opera premieres an all-new Madama Butterfly.. Weep with her again as her ship never does quite come in. The State Opera, Feb 4, 9, 27, 7 pm.
Then comes your chance to dust off the black tie and (attention, ladies!) floor-length-only gown for The Opera Ball, the traditional, annual event allowing you to dress up, dance, watch performance excerpts, and sample gourmet treats. The State Opera, Feb 6, 8 pm.
If you’d rather spend the afternoon at a spine-chilling performance, The Czech National Ballet reprises its Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Čarodějův Učeň), the memorably spooky ballet about love vs the Dark Side. The National Theatre, Feb 6, 2 and 6 pm.
It’s an all-Czech, all-star evening as the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra (SOČR), conducted by Marek Šedivý, brings you works by Jiří Teml, Juraj Filas, Hanuš Bartoň, and Jiří Gemrot, an enjoyable introduction (or review) of works by four contemporary Czech composers, all on one ticket. The Rudolfinum, Feb 8, 7:30 pm.
Harmonia Praga, a “pick-up group” of some top local musicians, gathers together to present “Vivat Vivaldi,” which promises (at last!) a non-Four Seasons program of the Italian Baroque composer who spent significant time in Prague. Novoměstské Radnice, Feb 11, 7:30 pm.
Sure, we know the biographies of the famous composers and musicians. But have you ever wondered if the musicians would secretly want to murder the conductor? And whether the conductor would like to strangle the composer? … And how, miraculously, they’re all friends by the time the concert begins? Popular moderator Marek Eben joins film-maker Alice Nellis and Czech Philharmonic conductor Jiří Bělohlávek for a bit of fun, explaining how all the relationships work so they can all create beautiful music together. The Rudolfinum, Feb 11-12, 7:30 pm.
First there was Beethoven’s Sonata for Violin and Piano No 9 in A Major, Op 47, “The Kreutzer Sonata.” Then, based on that, Tolstoy wrote the novella of the same name. And finally came Janacek’s String Quartet No 1, the “Kreuzter Sonata.” You can experience all three in one program when Nikola Pádivá shares an artistic recital of readings from the novella; and The Dvořák Trio performs Beethoven’s piece that started it all, and then play Janáček’s piano trio too. The Czech Museum of Music, Feb 22, 7:30 pm.
The story of a wrongly-convicted and tortured Czech priest, Josef Toufar, has been set to the short opera Toufar, which premiered (and constantly sold out) a few years ago. Now it’s back, and here’s your chance to see it. The New Stage, Feb 23, 24, 8 pm.
Sometimes you just need a lovely evening of classics, and the Prague Philharmonic Choir, accompanied by harpsichord and piano, provide just that. Church of St Simon & St Jude, Feb 24, 7:30 pm.
British choreographer Michael Corder premieres his Snow Queen at The Czech National Ballet Mar 3-4; here’s your chance to listen to him explain (in English) his moves and motivations, and maybe even ask him a question in his live, public interview at The New Stage, Feb 25, 3:30 pm.
A new ballet troupe is just underway, founded with some members from the Czech National Ballet.
Ballet Hommes Fatals draws on the choreographic and dancing talents of its all-male company, including Michal Štípa and several others.
Debut performance, The Hybernia Theatre, Feb 28, 6 pm. – oo
Photo Credits: Top: Zuzana Pernicová; Czech National Ballet; Oldsoft, Wikipedia; Ballet Hommes Fatals