Last-minute rehearsals before the long-awaited world premiere of Václav Havel’s latest play at Prague’s Archa Theatre on Thursday night. Leaving or Odcházení, is the first play the former Czech president has written in more than two decades. It tells the story of a high-ranking politician who leaves his post and sees his world fall apart. The play is inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear and Chekhov’s Cherry Orchard and is about the passage of power from one generation to the next. The former dissident insists that it is not based on his own experiences,
Jaroslav Marvan was one of the most prolific Czech actors of all times with more than 150 film roles and many more theatre acts. He appeared in his first – silent – movie in 1926, and he made his last film in 1973, a year before he died. In this edition of Czechs in History we look at the extraordinary career of Jaroslav Marvan, a theatre and film star before the war as well as in communist Czechoslovakia.
The Czech and American governments have reached a deal under which a US radar base would be based in central Bohemia. With most Czechs opposed to the project, Prague’s American Center, part of the U.S. Embassy, has launched a photo exhibition entitled “Life with the Radar”. It documents life on the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, which hosts the radar facility that could one day be moved to the Czech Republic. Radio Prague talked to Miroslav Konvalina, the head of the American Center and a former Czech Radio correspondent in the United
In 1996, Mission: Impossible put the Czech Republic on the international map of film-making locations. It wasn’t just that the city provided a backdrop to much of the action in the film; it was also the fact that a major Hollywood production made use of the crew and facilities of the city’s Barrandov film studios –something that had been done with great effect in 1984 with Miloš Forman’s Amadeus. In the years that followed, Prague became an “A-list” location with everything from James Bond to Oliver Twist coming to the city. But today, a weak dollar
Meda Mládková is a Czech art collector who spent more than half of her life in exile, mostly in the United States. In 1968 she established a collection of Czech art which she brought to the US from behind the Iron Curtain. After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, Meda Mládková returned to Czechoslovakia and donated her entire collection to the country. I met Mrs Mládková in her museum on Prague’s Kampa Island and started by asking how she became involved in art collecting in the first place:
Anifest, a weeklong festival dedicated to animated film has fast become a firm fixture on the Czech cultural calendar since it was established seven years ago. This year’s event, which was held in the picturesque South Bohemian town of Třeboň, screened 320 films in various competitive categories as well as several animated works out of competition from all over the world.
It is exactly 50 years since Czechoslovakia’s great triumph at the world Expo exhibition in Brussels, at which the country won the best pavilion award and many Czech and Slovak artists received special prizes. To recall the Czechoslovak success at Expo 1958, the City Gallery of Prague this week opened an exhibition entitled “Brussels Dream”. It aims to recreate the famous Czechoslovak exhibition with authentic objects from Expo 58. It also reflects the lifestyle of the early 1960s, marked by the rise of popular culture and affected by the so-called
As every year, on May 12th the sound of Má vlast or My Country by Bedřich Smetana will launch the Prague Spring international music festival - a renowned festival of classical music and one of the biggest events of its kind in Europe, bringing together top orchestras, ensembles and soloists from around the world. I caught up with the festival’s director Roman Bělor to ask what is on the menu of Prague Spring’s 63rd year:
Václav Havel led Czechoslovakia to democracy and remains perhaps the best known Czech political figure of modern times. But before spearheading the Velvet Revolution, he was of course a world-renowned playwright. History interrupted Havel’s original career for two decades, but now the former president has returned to drama, with the long-awaited premiere of his new play Leaving taking place in Prague later this month. To discuss the work of Václav Havel, I recently went to New York University to meet academic Carol Rocamora, author of the 2005 book
Argippo, an opera by the famous Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi, was last heard in the early 1730s. It disappeared just a couple of years after its premiere and was believed to have been lost forever. Until, that is, a determined Czech musician discovered the piece in a sheaf of anonymous scores in a collection in the Bavarian town of Regensburg. Last Saturday the lost Vivaldi opera was performed for the first time in over 270 years in the grand setting of the Spanish Hall at Prague Castle. The man who found it - conductor and harpsichordist Ondřej