Hello and welcome to Radio Prague with me, Ruth Fraňková. July 5 is a public holiday in the Czech Republic and on the occasion we are bringing you a special programme, featuring in-depth interviews with two of the recipients of this year’s Gratias Agit awards for promoting the good name of the Czech Republic abroad.
Conductors Petr Altrichter, Jakub Hrůša, and Tomáš Netopil will fill in for the late Jiří Bělohlávek at the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, both abroad and on the domestic scene, the philharmonic confirmed. The world-renowned chief conductor died on May 31 after a long illness. The orchestra is determining whether agreed programs will go ahead unchanged, the Czech News Agency said.
The Czech Foreign Ministry on Friday handed out Gratias Agit awards to fifteen Czech expatriates and foreigners for promoting the good name of the Czech Republic abroad. This year’s recipients included Jiří Bělohlávek, the late conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, or speed skater Martina Sáblíková.
Members of the public will be able to pay their last respects to conductor Jiří Bělohlávek on June 7, at Prague’s Rudolfinum between 2pm and 5pm. The funeral will be a private affair. The family has requested that condolences be sent to the Czech Philharmonic. Jiří Bělohlávek died this week at the age of 71 after a serious illness.
The world-renowned Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek has died at the age of 71. Bělohlávek was one of the bright lights on the Czech cultural scene and an ambassador for Czech classical music the world over. He raised the prestige of the Czech Philharmonic, of which he was currently Music Director and Artistic Director, taking the classic music ensemble to the world’s leading stages. Bělohlávek served as Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, of which he is now a Conductor Laureate. He has collaborated with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, and the Vienna State Opera, among others. The head of the Prague Spring Music Festival Roman Beloř, said the news was a bad blow for the Czech music scene and would throw a damper on the festival which Bělohlávek traditionally opened. Czech politicians, cultural figures and members of the public are mourning the loss of a great musician. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said Bělohlávek’s demise was a huge loss not just for Czech but for world culture.
Antonín Dvořák’s most famous opera Rusalka is back on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The highly anticipated production of the “lyric fairy tale” about a water nymph, who wishes to become a human in order to be loved by a young prince, is only the second in the history of the Metropolitan Opera. RF has more in today’s edition of In Focus.
On the occasion of the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka, which premieres on February 2, the Czech Centre in New York has prepared a unique exhibition, featuring the original score of the famous opera. It is the first time in history that the rare manuscript has left the territory of the Czech Republic.
The chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and the ensemble’ s artistic director Jiří Bělohlávek has signed another six-year contract with the orchestra’s management. The world-renowned conductor has served in the post for four seasons. The head of the Czech Philharmonic, David Mareček, said Bělohlávek had raised the profile of the orchestra and won it greater international recognition and respect.
The daily bread of Brussels officials is often associated with bureaucracy and senseless regulations. But a group of Czechs working in European institutions in Brussels decided to challenge this notion and show that there is more to life in the European capital. They teamed up with professional singers to stage a performance of Rusalka, perhaps the best-known opera by Antonín Dvořák.