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Man Walks into a Barre: Sam Beckwith Tries Ballet

Another in the Opus Osm series “Man Walks into a Barre,” in which an ordinary, untrained, and thoroughly unsuspecting person agrees to take a one-hour lesson in classical music or dance. Sam Beckwith Tries Ballet I am not, it has to be said, an obvious candidate for ballet class. Beyond leisurely walks, a weekly swim, and the occasional tennis match, I live a basically sedentary life, commuting from one computer…

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Dress Rehearsal!

What Happens at a Dress Rehearsal? And Why Should You Go? Ever wonder what happens during a symphony orchestra rehearsal? The Prague Symphony Orchestra (FOK), Czech Philharmonic, and other leading Prague orchestras give you the opportunity to find out. Regularly, before an orchestra’s first performance of a big symphonic concert, the audience is invited in to watch the General, or Dress, Rehearsal (both terms are used). The General Rehearsal is…

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Friday, December 16, 2011: You Take a Cloud

Other Side of the Curtain: What Really Goes On Before the Curtain Goes Up? Jiří Kylián and Making a Dance: It’s Like You Take a Cloud Nataša Novotná, executive director of the 420People dance group, perches on the edge of a sofa at The New Stage Café. She’s just come from a long Workshop session with 21 young student dancers. They’ve gathered from professional dance schools and conservatories for extra…

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Other Side of the Curtain

What Really Goes On Behind the Curtain When a Former Opera Singer Takes the Stage — as a Castle Concert Organizer? Enchanted Evenings By Elizabeth Haas The connection between setting and repertoire can be powerful: La Traviata at the amphitheater in Verona. Tosca lakeside at Bregenz. Don Giovanni at Průhonice Zámek? Indeed, the recent gala opera concert at Průhonice’s medieval castle complex, a stone’s toss from Prague, joins the Continental…

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Becoming Cinderella

Opus Osm goes behind the curtain to find out how a ballerina prepares for her starring role By Mary Matz Almost every girl secretly wishes to be Cinderella, with her own Prince. But Zuzana Šimáková will actually become Cinderella on April 14-15 when she premieres the role with the National Theatre Ballet. So what does a dancer have to do to transform herself into such a mythical creature? It starts…

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Pulling Strings

The latest in our series of let-me-try-it! articles, in which Fred Rooks, a proper English gentleman, submits to all kinds of horrors and punishment when he tries to play a musical instrument for the first (and usually last) time. Czechs and Czech (i.e. the language) may seem to be rather complicated, but they do have a sense of the aesthetic. For example, while English-speaking dogs say woof, Czech dogs say…

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What Really Goes on …?

Before the Curtain Goes Up: a Lot of Digging, Pounding, Painting … Where do you go when your conservatory of music runs out of space? The Prague Conservatory of Music went down and out. Down: construction crews dug down 4 meters, under an old cellar. (They found ceramics, a golden ring, and other objects from the Middle Ages; for a while everything stopped for the archeologists.) And out: across the…

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What Really Goes on Before the Curtain Goes Up? (December issue)

Major Players: Good People to Know in Czech Music Miriam Němcová, Conductor, Prague Conservatory Symphony Orchestra The French horn player is wearing running shoes and a hoodie. The harpist is in jeans. And the conductor is on her mobile. Welcome to Tuesday morning at the Prague Conservatory Symphony Orchestra. Conductor Miriam Němcová raises her hands and the music flows. “Pozor! Dva … čtyři, jo? (Pay attention! Two … four, right?)”…

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What Really Goes on Before the Curtain Goes Up? (November Issue)

Opera singing isn’t usually classified as an extreme sport. But maybe it should be. After all, opera does involve a high level of physical exertion (energy), highly specialized gear (the voice), and spectacular stunts (those roulades, quicksilver runs of notes, and trills). And what greater sort of extreme height and depth can you find than a lyric soprano and a bass baritone — performing the same piece together? Michiyo Keiko…

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What Really Goes on …? (October issue)

Think “Dvořák,” and “Korea” probably does not spring to mind in the same moment. But there are several surprising connections between the Czech Republic and Korea, Korean and Czech music, and the increasing number of enthusiastic students and visitors hopping halfway across the globe to learn about both musical cultures. Director Choi Young Chul, co-founder of the International Antonín Dvořák Composition Competition, held in Prague, and founder of Seouloratorio Choir…

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