In keeping with tradition, the annual Prague Spring classical music festival kicked off on Sunday with a rendition of Bedřich Smetana’s epic cycle Má vlast, or My Country, which portrays the history, legends and landscape of the composer’s homeland. What makes this performance particularly poignant is that it was performed by a German orchestra formed by musicians expelled from Czechoslovakia after WWII.
How did the working poor live in Prague during the Austro-Hungarian Empire? In the days of the democratic First Czechoslovak Republic? Under Communism? And what about the homeless of today? Two separate yet complementary exhibitions now at the City of Prague Museum take a novel approach to presenting the capital’s often forgotten, overlooked or unknown history of poverty and homelessness.
The Cannes film festival, which begins next week, is set to pay tribute to the late Miloš Forman, screening a restored version of the late director’s 1965 classic Loves of a Blonde as well as presenting the world premiere of the new documentary Forman vs. Forman. I spoke to the head of the Czech Film Center, Marketa Šantrochová, about the country’s involvement in the 2019 Cannes – starting with the presentation of Loves of a Blonde.
Michael Havas grew up in New Zealand but came to communist Czechoslovakia – the country his parents had escaped from – to study film. He has made over 50 documentaries in a career that has seen him work with director Jan Švankmajer and many more noteworthy figures. Indeed, I first came across him in connection with a letter protesting Brexit that he wrote to the UK prime minister and circulated to friends, including Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin of Monty Python and musician Peter Gabriel. But when we met I first asked Michael Havas about his family
The well-known Czech musician Ivan Hlas is celebrating his 65th birthday. The singer, songwriter and guitarist has been a fixture on the domestic music scene for over five decades. He started performing in the late 1960s with his friends from the Prague neighbourhood of Hanspaulka and enjoyed the biggest popularity in the 1990s, after receiving the Czech Lion for Best Original Score for Jan Hřebejk`s film The Big Beat or Šakalí Léta.
The Prague based Berg orchestra, known for its unique approach to contemporary music, has come up with a new project, called ‘Hudba k siréně’ or ‘Music for the Siren.’ The series of micro-concerts, performed live every first Wednesday of the month, incorporate Prague’s regular testing of sirens in the music.
The winner of the prestigious 2018 Magnesia Litera Award for Prose went to journalist, translator and writer Pavla Horáková for her novel A Theory of Strangeness. Pavla, who is a former Radio Prague reporter, now has several books under her belt, including a popular trilogy for children and a book on soldiers serving in WWI. However, her first big novel, A Theory of Strangeness, which was an overnight success, is the most difficult to define. So when I met up with Pavla to talk about her new book my first question was how she herself would define
The legendary runner Emil Zátopek and his wife Dana, a javelin thrower, made history at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, when they won altogether four gold medals for Czechoslovakia. The story of one of the world’s most famous sporting couples is the focus of a new film by David Ondříček, which has just started shooting.
Metronome, Prague’s biggest music festival, will bring the likes of Liam Gallagher and Kraftwerk to the Výstaviště exhibition grounds for its fourth edition on June 21 and 22. A few weeks prior to that, the city will host the free festival United Islands of Prague, which first took place exactly 15 years ago, when the Czech Republic was celebrating accession to the EU. Both of these events are the brainchild of promoter David Gaydečka. When we spoke at his company’s bustling offices, I first asked Gaydečka how he had got into music promotion.