Leading representatives of the Czech cultural scene gathered at the
National Theatre in Prague on Monday to attend an official farewell
ceremony for actress and Charter 77 signatory Vlasta Chramostová, who died
this month at the age of 92. The event, which featured a number of speakers
including her former colleagues from the National Theatre, culminated with
a symbolic funeral procession exiting the building.
Mrs. Chramostová was an accomplished actress before her refusal to accept the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 led to her losing the opportunity to perform in film, television and radio. During the normalisation era she was active in the country’s dissent and signed the Charter 77 protest document. For her activities in the service of human rights and democracy, Ms. Chramostová was awarded the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk by President Václav Havel in 1998.
National Theatre artists, mainly opera singers, are threatening to strike if the newly appointed culture minister rejects their demand to open selection process to replace their current bosses and increase “transparency” at the institution. With some artistic licence – and apologies to Andrew Lloyd Webber – one could call this Act II of ‘The Phantom of the Czech Opera’.
The renowned Czech baritone Adam Plachetka launched his new CD on Wednesday. Called Winter Journey, the album contains his renditions of 24 poems set to music by Schubert. The opera singer also performed music from Don Giovanni to fully dressed people in bathtubs at the launch’s unusual venue – the rooftop of Prague’s Lucerna Palace. He explained all by phone.
Twelve young opera singers have advanced to the finals round of Plácido
Domingo's annual Operalia competition, now underway at the Czech
National Theatre in Prague.
The finalists, selected from 40 young singers from across the globe, will compete for prizes of up to USD 30,000 each in the final-round concert on Friday evening.
The general competition awards first, second and third prizes for male and female singers, while just two prizes are bestowed to a man and a woman in the zarzuela division.
Friday’s final-round concert will be live-streamed on medici.tv as well as via Operalia’s Facebook page, and will feature the finalists performing alongside an orchestra conducted by Domingo himself.
The current director of Prague’s National Theatre, Jan Burian, is to get
a contract extension that will keep him in the post until 2025. The
minister of culture, Antonín Staněk, announced that Mr. Burian would
remain in the post for a second term at the launch of the National
Theatre’s new season on Monday.
Mr. Staněk said that the institution had made positive progress in the last five years, both in artistic terms and in carrying out strategic projects. Mr. Burian’s current contract runs out in 12 months’ time.
Prague police were called out to Prague’s National Theatre on Friday
evening following a suicide threat, the Czech News Agency reported. A woman
had phoned a helpline saying that she intended to kill herself during a
performance of the opera Carmen at the historic venue.
The woman later called again saying she was no longer planning to take her life. The opera was not cancelled but the presence of numerous uniformed police officers drew a great deal of attention from audience members. A police spokesperson described it as an “unusual and complicated situation”.
The opera singer Gabriela Beňačková has been inducted into a new Hall of
Fame at the National Theatre in Prague on Thursday.
Beňačková, who is 70 years old, is the third person honoured in this way. She was preceeded by actor Vlasta Charmostová and ballet dancer Vlastimil Harapes.
Beňačková specializes in the music of her compatriots, notably Bedřich Smetana and Leoš Janáček and is considered to be one of the greatest 'Jenůfa's' in Janáček's opera of the same name.
Speaking at Thursday’s induction ceremony, the head of the national Theathre Jan Burian highlighted Beňačková’s succesfull international career.
The management of Prague’s National Theatre this week symbolically launched planned renovation of the State Opera, located not far from Wenceslas Square. The project is set to cost 858 million crowns and will take more than two years, during which time the State Opera will put on productions at other venues. It is the first major renovation job on a large state-owned theatre since 1989.
The management of Prague’s National Theatre have symbolically launched renovation work on the city’s State Opera. The project is set to cost over CZK 850 million and take 27 months, during which time the State Opera will put on productions at other venues. It is the first major renovation job on a large state-owned theatre since 1989. The National Theatre and the State Opera were merged in 2012.