There are many festivals in and around Prague celebrating all the wonderful facets of this city imaginable. But until this weekend, there was never a festival that feted the city itself. Now the “Oslavy Prahy”, or Celebrations of Prague, festival is going to do just that. The three-day festival aims to turn Prague into what its organisers describe as “a paradise of music, film, theatre, art, sport, science, fashion, adrenalin and dance.”
One of the biggest cultural events of the season in the Czech Republic, the annual Shakespeare Summer Festival, has just begun at the Supreme Burgrave’s House at Prague Castle. Opening the festival on Thursday night was a new production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, starring the great Czech comic actor Bolek Polívka as Falstaff and directed by the Oscar-winning filmmaker Jiří Menzel.
The Lusatian Sorbs are a small Slavic minority who can mostly be found in the East of Germany. But they have their history, and their friends, in the Czech Republic too. Petr Kaleta is in charge of the Friends of Lusatia Society – in Czech, the ‘Společnost přátel Lužice’ – I’ll let him introduce himself to you in Sorbian:
In a week and a half’s time the red carpet will be rolled out at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. There are no Czech pictures in the main competition this year, though visitors can look forward to a whopping 65 world, international and European premieres. But many will be just as interested in who they can see on that red carpet. So, who are the big stars this year? That’s a question I put to Karel Och of Karlovy Vary’s programming department.
Part of a large art collection that once belonged to the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler is dispersed in several Czech museums – often without their curators being aware of it. That’s what researcher Jiří Kuchař discovered after three years of investigation. Following last week’s TV report on the case, a gallery in south Bohemia even removed three statues from public display, citing security reasons.
If you are a writer from one of the smaller countries of Europe, writing in a language spoken by a few million or perhaps just a few hundred thousand people, your chances of finding an international readership are almost non-existent. The organization Literature Across Frontiers has been working to redress the balance, helping to draw attention to writers from all corners of the continent, and above all struggling to get their work published and translated internationally. At the recent Bookworld book fair in Prague, the driving force behind the
Tens of bands and dozens of djs performed around Prague on Thursday evening to open this year’s United Islands Festival. The event, which is in its fifth year, is promising over 150 hours of free music to those who find themselves down by the banks of the Vltava River between Thursday evening and Saturday night. This year, the festival ties in with the Czech Republic’s EU presidency, which comes to an end in less than two weeks. David Gaydečka is the event’s organizer:
The East Bohemian town of Litomyšl has a lot to boast of, from its UNESCO World Heritage status to its lively year-round atmosphere. Nonetheless, what this town of 10,000 most frequently boasts of is that it is the birthplace of the composer Bedřich Smetana, and since 1949 it has been the home of a major music festival that bears his name. Now in its 60th year, Smetana's Litomyšl Festival continues to draw some of the biggest personages in classical music.
The world-renowned jazz guitar player Rudy Linka was born in Prague but moved to Sweden at a young age. After half a decade there he left for the US, and has been living in New York for nearly a quarter of a century. In recent years, however, Rudy has been home in the Czech Republic every summer, organising the Bohemia Jazz Fest, a great free event which brings world class jazz musicians to a number of Czech towns and cities. We met at Café Slavia, one of the haunts of his teenage years.
This edition of Music Profile is dedicated to the great Czech rock guitarist Radim Hladík. Hladík was a founder member of two of the leading Czechoslovak bands of the late 1960s, The Matadors and Blue Effect (later known as Modrý Effect) and over the years has played with a host of musicians, including folk singer Jaroslav Hutka.