In this edition of Czech Books we look at the work of Richard Weiner, a Czech writer of the first half of the twentieth century, who was immensely influential on his own and later generations of writers and yet today is little read and little known outside the Czech Republic. Even within the country, among the writers of the period of the First Republic, he is far from being a household name. This neglect is very much undeserved, and one person who has been trying to draw attention to Richard Weiner and his legacy is the translator and literary
Coming up in this week’s Arts – a new opera that’s just premiered in Prague based on Communist Czechoslovakia's most notorious show trial. On June 27th, 1950 Milada Horáková - a democratic MP and campaigner for women's rights - was hanged on trumped-up charges of treason and espionage, despite appeals for clemency from world figures including Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein. This is the first attempt to bring one of the darkest periods of Czechoslovakia’s past to the stage.
Rehearsals for Václav Havel’s new play Leaving kicked off at Prague’s Archa Theatre last week, with the world premiere slated for May 22. The work is Mr Havel’s play in 18 years after an amazing career in politics, so it’s not surprising it is being greeted with excitement. Now it has also been announced that the Orange Tree Theatre in London will stage the English-language premiere of Leaving this autumn.
Dudy is the Czech word for the bagpipes and Call of Dudy is the title of a documentary film focused on the Bohemian piping tradition. Featuring lots of great music and interesting interviews, it takes viewers to the instrument’s traditional strongholds in south and west Bohemia, and over the border into Bavaria.
It’s not everyday you are given a budget of 10 million crowns (624,000 USD) and told to spend it all. But that’s exactly what a group of Czech art experts were ordered to do by the government on Tuesday, in a bid to bring home some of the Czech Republic’s lost art treasures. Christie’s auction house in Amsterdam was putting more than 400 items from the Liechtenstein family’s art collection under the hammer. Many of these items had once hung on the walls of Czech chateaux. And following the sale, that’s where many of them will be finding themselves
This sort of music may not make for the easiest of listening, and the title of the song ‘pal vodsud’ hajzle’ (something like ‘piss off, jerk’), might not sound the most welcoming upon first read. But, it is a good example of Czech new wave rock of the 1980s. The band? Jasná Páka – one of the best known proponents of the new wave in this country, and one of the communist regime’s biggest thorns in the side. Jasná Páka reunited this week for a one-off concert to open a new exhibition at Prague’s Pop Museum called ‘Nová vlna se starým obsahem’ (‘New Wave
Thursday night sees the opening of the Febiofest film festival. Between now and next Thursday audiences in Prague will be able to choose from nearly three hundred films from all over the world. The festival will then travel outside Prague to eight other Czech and Moravian towns. Febiofest takes place at Prague’s Village cinemas at Anděl and when people have had enough of watching films they can enjoy a number of accompanying music programmes. Earlier today, I met the festival’s spokesman Pavel Sladký and asked him to tell me about the history of
Art lovers have good reason to visit Amsterdam next week. On Tuesday, the Dutch branch of Christies auction house will be putting some very interesting artefacts under the hammer – approximately 400 items from the famous Liechtenstein art collection, one of the largest private art collections in the world. Some of these items once graced a number of Liechtenstein chateaux in the Czech lands and their administrators are now holding their breath: a team of Czech civil servants is heading for Amsterdam to try and buy some of them back.
On Tuesday, seven Czech artists who hacked into a Czech TV broadcast as an artistic prank last year were acquitted of criminal wrongdoing. In June 2007 members of the group known as Ztohoven tampered with Czech TV equipment in a piece aimed at showing the impact of the media. Members hacked into a live feed on Czech TV’s weather programme Panorama and in a flash superimposed a doctored image of a mushroom cloud rising on the horizon.
Prague’s Divadlo na Zábradlí may be famous for staging former President Václav Havel’s plays, but over the next couple of months, it will be playing host to something rather different. ‘Láska je love, love is láska’ is a performance in two languages - about what happens when an American boy meets a Czech girl. The play is set to be performed for only the second time ever on Wednesday night, but in the run up to the show, I went along to find out more: