The Czech Republic's best known ballet dancer, Daria Klimentova, has been in Prague recently hosting, as she does every summer, a ballet master class. Born here in the Czech capital, for the last decade she has been a prima ballerina at the prestigious English National Ballet in London. During a break in the master class, Daria Klimentova told me how her career as a dancer began.
This week sees the return of the Letni Letna circus festival to Prague's Letna park, a festival attracting top-notch and avant garde theatre and circus ensembles from both the Czech Republic and abroad. American performer Daniel Gulko - of the Cahin-Caha Company - is one of the more well-known performers who will be premiering a solo work-in-progress inspired by Herman Melville's "Moby Dick". It's titled Moby Locked Up, about an oil tanker captain who unhappily sinks his ship. Jan spoke with Daniel recently about the show, but began by asking how
The Jewish Museum in Prague is one of the oldest of its kind in Europe - this year it's celebrating it's centennial. Behind its foundation was the inspiration to preserve and present Judaism in all its past glory, as well as to prevent important works and unique artefacts from disappearing forever. Now, in line with the year-long celebration of Jewish culture in Prague, the museum has opened a new exhibition focused on the its original pre-war collection: the first four decades from 1906 to 1940.
The National Gallery in Prague received almost half a million visitors last year, and a new proposal by the gallery's director to open doors for free could see that number go through the roof. He wants a budget increase to make that possible - though the Culture Ministry is not in favour. But could a change of government increase chances of free admission at the National Gallery?
Edith Templeton is a writer who defies categorization. Born in Prague in 1916 and still alive at the age of 90, she has had an adventurous life. Her work is every bit as adventurous. Here is a description by a Los Angeles Times reviewer: "Imagine Jane Austen and D.H. Lawrence sharing an engrossed conversation about social snobbery and the wolfish pursuit of obsessive sex and you have something of Templeton's atmosphere." Bernie Higgins has become fascinated by Edith Templeton's work and life and tells us more.
Today we enjoy a CD of works by Jaroslav Jezek. He was a Czech composer of the inter-war period who made a huge impression on Czech musical culture, and this recording features his own piano, still in place in Jezek's famous "Blue Room". We also engage in some "Philosophical Dialogues" with contemporary composer, Oldrich Korte, whose works confront some of the basic questions of our existence.
This year's Summer School of Slavonic studies is in full swing at Prague's Charles University. Almost 250 people are immersed in the study of Czech language, culture, and life. Students from all over the world - around 40 countries in all - and all degrees of education come together to brave the difficulties of learning Czech.
One of the most precious works of art to be seen in the Czech Republic is no doubt "The Feast of the Rose Garlands" by the German painter Albrecht Duerer. Exactly 500 years have passed since the masterpiece was painted in Venice and to mark the anniversary, Prague's National Gallery is holding an exhibition this summer, displaying the painting, along with other works by Duerer and many tributes to the original masterpiece.
Petr Novak's unmistakeable, delicate tenor voice is synonymous with Czechoslovak society of the late 1960s. This talented musician shot to fame in this country at the time of the Prague Spring, when his gentle love songs influenced by Western pop groups like The Beatles were hugely popular among young Czechs. His success during this era, however, proved to be short-lived and his career subsequently stagnated under the influence of communist repression and his own problems with alcohol.