Tag: Hana Blažková

OpusOsm Minutka: The Little Mermaid (Malá mořská víla)

Five Fast Facts About the Czech National Ballet’s Classic Fairy Tale . . . . . Foto Pavel Hejný . 1 The Czech National Ballet (CNB)’s take on The Little Mermaid is far closer to the Hans Christian Andersen book than the Disney film. Parents may even want to prepare little ones who come in expecting a happy ever after between Ariel and Prince Eric for a slightly different story….

Husa: An Overlooked Musical Great

Karel Husa, at 95, is internationally known but, despite his devotion, still overlooked here at home. The Czech composer sent a personal letter to a recent concert so that you can get to know him better. It was for the Prague Philharmonia-PKF’s May 3 ‘Czech 20th Century’ in the ‘Beauty of Today’ series that Mr Husa sent a warm greeting and written notes on his childhood memories. Mr Husa jumped…

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!…

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),…

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…

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…

Meet Mr Schulhoff

American Jazz, Czech Heart: Prague Philharmonia´s second performance in its ‘Beauty of Today’ series introduces a neglected, talented musician and composer, Ervín Schulhoff (1894-1942). The experimental space NoD above the legendary Roxy Club supports the alternative art scene, but on Dec 8 it welcomed different kinds of artists. They were the music director/director of the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre Jiří Nekvasil; the Prague Philharmonia-PKF string quartet; and PKF dramaturgist/musicologist Hana Dohnálková….

Christ’s Cross at Prague’s Crossroads

Audiences coming to hear Collegium 1704′s presentation of the St Helen Oratorio last month began with a kind of pilgrimage themselves. The decommissioned St. Anne´s church at Prague’s Crossroads, with artefacts from Václav Havel´s possession, is hidden from its seekers in a winding labyrinth of narrow streets near the Old Town Square. This night (Nov 19), the way is also bordered by flickering candles marking access to the concert and…

Six Costumes of a Diva

An element of the sparkling Czech soprano Jarmila Novotná (1907-1994) returns to the respected Prague concert venue, The Municipal House, where this diva sang after WWII. Six of her costumes are on exhibit here through Jan 4. It’s due to the effort of the non-profit Association of Chateau Liteň in central Bohemia, where this star lived with her life partner, the intellectual, aristocrat, and businessman Jiří Daubek. The Liteň organization…

When 420People ‘Plug and Play’

Contemporary dance group 420People fused with vibrant, savage band Please The Trees One for a one-night-only performance called Plug and Play. What was it like? The exciting, evening-long event celebrated 20 years of the unique international project ″4+4 Days in Motion.″ An impressive number of exceptional Czech and Slovak dance and theatre groups gathered on one stage at Divadlo Archa Oct 10 for this special occasion. Among others, VerteDance performed…

Hansel & Gretel’s Miraculous Road Show

Matěj Forman imaginatively links art with a circus feeling to keep audiences spellbound in The State Opera’s Hansel and Gretel (Jeniček a Mařenka). The performance differs from what we know and expect from the fairy tale or the original opera by Engelbert Humperdinck and his sister librettist Adelheid Wette. But this is an unconventional approach by stage director, co-author of the libretto adaptation, and experienced co-author of the set design,…

70th Prague Spring & World War II

The 70th edition of the world-famous Prague Spring International Music Festival May 12-June 3 brings a delicate, healing musical touch to the theme of World War II. Roman Bělor, the Festival director, explains that orchestras from some cities that suffered devastation during the war – Hamburg, Saint Petersburg (Leningrad), and Liverpool – will give guest performances. And, “We will be commemorating Dmitri Shostakovich as figure who exemplifies the struggle of…

Opus Osm Minutka: Berg’s Nuberg Sampler

The Berg Orchestra observes its 20th anniversary this year, and also continues with its Nuberg Awards supporting young composers of contemporary music. Watch a sampling of it here. . . . . . . Opus Osm’s ‘Little Minute’ (Minutka) Series: The Berg Orchestra’s Nuberg Winners 5 Fast Facts about The Berg Orchestra’s Nuberg Winners 2014 1 Watch this slideshow (below) featuring music clips and photos from the Nuberg Awards concert…

The Ondřej Havelka-Gluck-Greek Orpheus

This is the story behind the story behind the story: Czech jazz/swing musician/director Havelka directs Gluck’s Baroque version of a classic Greek myth … on film. –Got that? Ondřej Havelka, in addition to his music, also directs films. He had the opportunity to produce and film Gluck’s Baroque opera Orpheo ed Eurydice (1762) in the classicly preserved Baroque theatre in Český Krumlov. During last month’s Opera Festival 2015, the film…

Ondřej Havelka’s Modern Baroque Love Story

This is the story behind the story behind the story: Czech jazz/swing musician/director Havelka directs Gluck’s Baroque version of a classic Greek myth … on film. Got that? Ondřej Havelka, in addition to his music, also directs films. He had the opportunity to produce and film Gluck’s Baroque opera Orpheo ed Eurydice (1762) in the classicly preserved Baroque theatre in Český Krumlov. During last month’s Opera Festival 2015, the film…

Passionate Thrill/Icy Chill: Srnka, Maisky, & Hrůša

The audience leaps to its feet after hearing Latvian-born Israeli cellist Mischa Maisky perform Dvořák with the PKF – Prague Philharmonia. The energetic baton of the PKF’s long-valued conductor Jakub Hrůša starts up this Jan 18 evening with the metaphysical drama Manfred, Opus 115, which Schumann finished just two years before his suicide attempt in 1854. Byron’s drama about a noble tortured by mysterious guilt had touched the composer deeply…