The city of Prague has been at the forefront of classical music at least since Mozart uttered the famous words "Meine Prager verstehen mich" ("My Praguers understand me") and premiered his works here. The Czech metropolis continues to celebrate its lofty music heritage today with the annual Prague Spring festival, one of the largest and best known classical music festivals in Central Europe, which commences on Tuesday, as every year with a performance of Bedřich Smetana’s My Country.
The Romany pop group Gipsy.cz are the Czech Republic’s entry in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. After Czech Television itself selected the band to represent the country in Moscow, the station’s viewers picked the song they are going to perform, Aven Romale. Gipsy.cz are currently in the Russian capital preparing for the first semi-final on Tuesday, but shortly before they left I spoke to the group’s leader Gipsy (real name Radoslav Banga). My first question: what does representing the Czech Republic at Eurovision mean to you?
A celebrity cast of top Czech writers and actors has taken a high profile public stand against the practices of the Czech tabloid press. Around a dozen top names have signed a petition denouncing what they describe as the publications’ dirty practices. And they have called on counterparts in the arts world to join their star boycott.
This week Czech Books met with a relatively new, but highly praised writer of prose and poetry, Josef Straka. The way in which Straka describes his experience of modern life, particularly city life, could be considered to be very postmodern in its fascination with the peripheral and the fragmentary. Originally from Jablonec nad Nisou in the north he is now based in Prague, though likes nothing better than to make long walks around the margins of other European cities, seeking out fragments of real life, what he calls ‘small miracles’, and living
In this week’s edition of Panorama, we report from the latest edition of Anifest. Now in its eighth year, this international showcase of animated film has become a major cultural event in the Czech Republic. It screens several hundred films and attracts tens of thousands of festivalgoers and scores of international guests. In fact, Anifest has now got so big that part of the event this year will be held in the spa city of Teplice in addition to the charming town of Třeboň in south Bohemia, which is its traditional base but which no longer has the
My guest for One on One this week is British director and singer Michael Sarne, who is perhaps best known for his number one hit in the early 1960s “Come Outside” featuring the late Eastenders actor Wendy Richards. Since then Sarne, has also worked extensively as a film director. His most notable pictures include the swinging-sixties romp Joanna, which was nominated for a Golden Globe, and the highly controversial, sexually explicit adaptation of the Gore Vidal novel Myra Breckenridge. As an actor, Sarne has also made numerous appearances on hit
In the Czech Republic an incredibly high number of children – over 20,000 – are living in institutional care. Very often they are from poor families, with an extremely high percentage coming from the country’s Roma minority. This serious and disturbing social issue is the focus of a new art exhibition in Prague.
One of the highlights of the Czech cultural calendar, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, gets underway in the west Bohemian spa town on July 3. While the list of special guests this year has not been completed, some names were revealed – along with the programme highlights – at a news conference in Prague on Tuesday morning. I spoke there to KVIFF’s programme director Julietta Sichel.
In this week’s edition of One on One we talk to the artist, sculptor, painter, musician and actor Jaroslav Róna. In the 1980s, he was one of the founders of the art group Tvrdohlaví, or The Stubborn but today, he is perhaps best known as the author of the Franz Kafka Monument in Prague’s Old Town. I talked to Jaroslav Róna in his studio and asked him was why he decided to base the highly acclaimed Kafka memorial on his short story, Description of One Struggle.
Less than six months ago, a disastrous fire reduced an entire wing of Prague’s historic Industrial Exhibition Hall to a pile of twisted metal and masonry, but the building has made a remarkable recovery. In a few days’ time it will be housing the Czech Republic’s biggest annual book fair, Svět knihy or Bookworld, which will be taking place for the fifteenth year running, and seems remarkably unscathed either by the fire or the rages of the world economic crisis. To find out more, I managed to steal a few minutes with the busy and energetic Bookworld