A little bit of music history will be made on Saturday when Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka will become the first Czech opera to be broadcast live from New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The story of a water nymph who falls for a human has long been a favourite amongst Czech audiences, but this ‘Live in HD’ performance will be beamed to cinemas, concert halls and town squares around the world.
The Apollo music award for the best album of 2013 will be presented at an awards ceremony in Prague on Wednesday night. The annual award, which is perhaps analogous to the Mercury Prize in the UK, is voted on by a panel of music critics and is this year being presented for the third time. Among the contenders this time out are Dan Bárta & Illustratosphere, Never Sol and Prago Union.
Markéta Irglová is a Moravian-born, internationally known singer, songwriter and pianist who records exclusively in English. The modest musician was not yet 20 when she became the only Czech woman ever to win an Oscar, for Falling Slowly with Glen Hansard. After the pair went their separate ways romantically and professionally, Irglová – now based in Iceland – struck out on her own in 2011 with the poetic, piano-driven LP Anar.
This week’s Sunday music show profiles the album Crazy Classic by a refreshing young group called Two Voices. Since they first appeared on Radio Prague the two voices have expanded to four –three female and one male voice – but the basic idea is the same, presenting well know classics in an irreverent manner thanks to the witty and outrageous lyrics by chanson singer Jana Rychterova. So stay with us for some Bach, Strauss and Tchaikovsky in a refreshing new rendition.
A new festival merging electronica music, contemporary theatre and dance with multimedia and visual arts is being held in the Czech capital this and next week. Entitled Spectaculare, the event brings some leading artists of these genres to Prague including Jon Hopkins from the UK and Nils Frahm from Germany. But the event also features several Czech artists and ensembles such as Clarinet Factory and Tantehorse.
A new multi-genre arts festival entitled Spectaculare gets underway in Prague on Monday. Featuring theatre, contemporary dance, alternative music and visual arts, it will run at venues such as DOX and Palace Akropolis until January 31. The opening event at the New Stage of the National Theatre will feature the Belgian dance troupe Mossoux-Bonté and Czech musicians Clarinet Factory, who will be celebrating 20 years of existence. Another highlight should be a performance by UK electronic musician Jon Hopkins on January 30.
The Plastic People of the Universe performed a concert in Prague on Friday night in honour of late member Milan “Mejla” Hlavsa, a singer, bassist and group co-founder who would have turned 63 recently. The one-time underground band, some of whose members were imprisoned during the Communist era, play tribute shows to Hlavsa at this time every year. He died in 2001 at the age of 50.
Dol Dauber was the central figure in one of the leading Czech dance or jazz band groups of the interwar years. Between Europe wide appearances, Dauber often headed the bill during the summer season at Mariánské Lázně’s plush hotels with the spa providing inspiration for many of his compositions. Dauber’s band also featured in several Czech film hits.
For many lovers of classical music, the Czech Republic is the land of Dvořák and Smetana. Fans of more modern music may know Leoš Janáček or Bohuslav Martinů. It may seem, though, that for the past fifty or so years, creation of and even interest in orchestral music has all but died out in this country.
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