Over 80,000 people attended an open-air concert by the Czech rock band Kabát in Prague’s Vypich district on Saturday night. It was the biggest concert ever played in the capital by a Czech group. The show marked the 25th anniversary of the foundation of Kabát, who in recent years have become one of the most popular bands in the country. Their previous koncert at Vypich five years ago was attended by 60.000 people.
The music ensemble GINEVRA specializes in early music, drawing on Irish and Scottish melodies and composing their own songs inspired by local legends. The group’s name harks back to the days of King Arthur, Queen Ginevra and the Knights of the Round Table and their performances at Czech castles and chateaus bring history to life for hundreds of appreciative visitors.
Some 17,000 people saw an open-air performance of the opera The Devil and Kate by Antonín Dvořák’s in Prague on Saturday. Performed by the ensemble of the National Theatre and Prague Chamber ballet, the opera was staged at an amphitheatre in Divoká Šárka, a nature reserve in the capital north-western outskirts. Operas were first performed there in the early 20th century, and the tradition was revived in 2005.
A one-of-a-kind instrument called raketon made its first public appearance three years ago in a museum exhibit, but this week it had its debut in a contemporary classical music concert, together with Prague’s Berg Orchestra. I had a chance to speak to Raketon’s inventor Michal Cimala and to composer Jakub Rataj who mastered this simple and elegant instrument and wrote the first orchestral piece that includes it. Both of them perform on the raketon as well by plucking, striking and touching its two strings with bows, mallets and even milk
In the late 1980s, the city of Brno boasted a vibrant rock scene with one of its major fixtures being the band Dunaj. The group formed in 1987 by the singer Iva Bittová, drummer Pavel Fajt and other renowned musicians, and went on to release four studio albums before their eventual break-up a decade later. Dunaj, whose music style has been described as intense and challenging, had a lasting influence on the Czech indie scene of the 1990s.
The 21st international bagpipe festival opened in the south Bohemian town of Strakonice on Friday with a procession of the ensembles taking part winding its way through the city centre. Over 1200 musicians from 17 countries the world over are taking part in the festival this year. In the course of the next three days soloists and over 40 ensembles will be performing at various cultural venues around the city, including the courtyard of Strakonice Castle. The bagpipe festival which first took place in 1967 is one of the cultural highlights of the year and annually attracts thousands of visitors.
The Czech Republic on Wednesday commemorates the 46th anniversary of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. A series of events held to mark the anniversary include a chain hunger strike and a gathering outside the Czech Radio building which saw clashes between civilian protesters and the occupying forces. The invasion of five Warsaw Pact armies quashed efforts by Czechoslovakia’s Communist Party to reform the regime in a period known as the Prague Spring, ushering in an era of renewed repression lasting until the late 1980s.
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