Waldemar Matuška, without question one of the most gifted Czech popular singers of the modern era, passed away 10 years ago this month, on May 30, 2009. Born Vladimír Matuška in Košice, Slovakia, he grew up in Prague and started out as an actor with the legendary theatre company Semafor, before making an impact in movies such as If a Thousand Clarinets and All My Good Countrymen.
With three books published just last year, Marek Toman is currently one of the most prolific Czech authors. He last spoke to Radio Prague almost three years ago after he published a novel narrated by a building – Černín Palace, seat of the Czech Foreign Ministry. Since then, he has written two other novels closely connected to historical Prague. When we met up I asked him what it was about Prague and its particular districts that inspired him to write whole books about them.
The 18th edition of the annual Prague Fringe festival is set to start on Friday. Theatres, cafes and many other spaces in the Czech capital’s picturesque Malá Strana district will host a weeklong programme packed with events ranging from theatre to music. The festival is the brainchild of Scotsman Steve Gove, who has been based in the Czech capital since the 1990s. He says the relatively small size of the Prague Fringe is actually an advantage.
The eleventh edition of the Night of Open Churches gets underway across the Czech Republic on Friday. This year, more than 1,600 churches and other religious sites will remain open to the public until the late night hours. Visitors will be also able to attend concerts, exhibitions, workshop and other programmes:
The annual nationwide Festival of Museum Nights, during which museums and cultural institutions around the country organize special events and late-night opening hours for visitors, is traditionally preceded by a gala ceremony at which the Czech Association of Museums and Galleries hands out Gloria Musaealis awards in different categories. The award ceremony took place in Prague’s Municipal House on Thursday night and carried a special significance for the winners.
Czech Television, the country’s national public broadcaster, has reason to be proud: it will have a strong representation at the 59th Monte Carlo Television Festival. Its two-part real-life mining drama Dukla 61, directed by David Ondříček picked up two nominations and its popular comedy series Dubbing Street received three nominations for Golden Nymph Awards.
The Czech Centres in London and New York are getting new directors this spring, with Přemysl Pela assuming control in the UK capital and Miroslav Konvalina taking the helm in the Big Apple. We spoke to both before their departure for the key branches of the Czech Republic’s cultural diplomacy network in the English-speaking world.
This May marks the centenary of the birth of Ladislav Sitenský, among the most celebrated Czech photographers of the 20th century. He’s perhaps best known today for his iconic World War II work documenting the Nazi occupation of his homeland and lives of his fellow servicemen in the RAF’s Czechoslovak 312th squadron. But for over seven decades, Sitenský – who was also an accomplished sportsman, essayist and novelist – lovingly turned his lens to the people and architecture of Prague and other European capitals.