One of Prague's most venerable theatres is celebrating its 90th birthday this week. From playing host to such stars as Jan Werich and Jiri Voskovec in the 1930s to Helena Vondrackova and Marta Kubisova in the 1960s, the Rokoko theatre has always had a reputation for providing top-quality entertainment for Prague audiences. Nevertheless, despite the festive atmosphere surrounding its anniversary celebrations, the curtain seems set to fall in this theatre for the last time.
Latest figures show that record sales by Czech artists this year have dropped by nearly 25% to 116 million CZK or 4.7 million USD. Given that this figure covers all revenues for scores of well established artists working in the Czech music industry, it is unlikely that any local musicians are going to make it big financially in this country regardless of how famous they are. In fact many feel such relatively poor sales pose a threat to the future viability of the music industry in the Czech Republic.
Many Radio Prague listeners will already be familiar with the work of Czech-born illustrator Peter Sis, the author of acclaimed children's books that include "The Three Golden Keys" and "The Tree of Life". Last week, Peter Sis was in Prague, this time to launch the Czech edition of "Tibet - Through the Red Box" - based on his father's experiences in 1950s Tibet.
In the Arts we'll be looking at experimental vision in both music and architecture. First, we look at the Czech band known as SOIL, and second, we'll be looking at a new exhibition titled Futura Pragensis, where students of architecture foresee and propose how Prague might look in two hundred years.
A memorial concert was held last Saturday in the Merkin Concert Hall of the Kaufman Center in New York City in honour of composer Andrew Yin Svoboda, who passed away at the young age of 27, just a few months into his doctoral studies at the prestigious Columbia University. The event was sponsored by the university's Department of Music and a student-run organization called Columbia Composers organized the memorial along with the tireless efforts of the Svoboda family.
Some thirteen years ago the Czech National Library first started a pioneering project in which it turns rare documents into digital form. Its experts even devised a special format for the digitisation which was later adopted as a UNESCO standard. For its preservation efforts, the library was given a UNESCO award earlier this year. In this edition of Czech Science, we take you to the historic building of the Czech National Library in Prague where the oldest manuscripts meet with the most advanced technology.
Even in his youth, Vitezslav Jandak was a character actor, resigned to playing second fiddle to the leading man. In the immensely popular film "Tri Orisky Pro Popelku" (1973) - the Czechs' take on Cinderella -- Jandak plays a bumbling fool attending the handsome prince on a hunting trip. Thirty years later and just shy of 100 days into his role as Culture Minister, Jandak -- with his bulbous nose, protruding belly and receding hairline -- has become the nation's most popular politician.
"The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War" is the episodic tale of a Czech soldier in the Austro-Hungarian Army whose own apparent stupidity is used to critique the absurdities of war. Translated into 60 languages, it is perhaps the best known Czech work of fiction of all time. Now, over 80 years after its publication, its author Jaroslav Hasek and illustrator Josef Lada have been reunited in a new collection.
British agent 007 is on his way to the Czech Republic - the 21st film in the Bond series - Casino Royale - will be filmed in and around Prague next year. It is the latest in a long line of big budget movies to be produced in this country over the last decade or so. For a deep insight into the Czech film industry's talent for attracting the big budget projects, Radio Prague spoke to Theo Schwinke, the editorial director of Monitor CE, which publishes the Prague Daily Monitor, publisher of the online Daily Monitor.