'Little Otik' is topping the bill at the National Theatre of Scotland this season. The play is an adaptation of Czech animator Jan Švankmajer’s film ‘Otesánek’, which is in turn an adaptation of a Czech fairytale. The story? A childless couple carve a baby out of a tree stump, only to look on in horror as it starts to develop an appetite for human flesh. The Scottish theatre’s choice sparked controversy when it was unveiled earlier in the year. On the eve of the play’s final performance, I asked director Matthew Lenton what had attracted him to
Wednesday sees the opening of the 50th Smetana’s Litomyšl International Opera Festival. During the annual event, composer Bedřich Smetana’s home town in east Bohemia is transformed into a paradise for music lovers, and not only opera buffs – Smetana’s Litomyšl also takes in various other musical forms.
Hello and welcome to this month’s edition of Music Profile. Today we are going to look at the work of Jaromír Nohavica, one of the country’s most respected singer songwriters. He released his first album Darmoděj in 1988. By that time, however, his songs were already well-known, as fans circulated amateur recordings from his concerts. He now has numerous albums to his name and sells-out concerts without having to put up a single poster.
Theatres and other state-subsidised arts institutions were celebrating victory over Prague’s City Council this week after councillors scrapped a controversial new system of awarding subsidies. The system – under which Prague’s theatres were subsidised according to the number of tickets sold – sparked a wave of protest by arts organisations and even led to angry artists disrupting a meeting of the city council.
Milena Jelinek teaches screenwriting at Columbia University. Half a century ago she herself studied at Prague’s FAMU film school, and was surrounded by many of the people who later created the Czech New Wave. She herself had a hit film while still a student, though her life soon became complicated – after getting engaged to a “foreigner”, JFK no less intervened to help her get married and leave Czechoslovakia. In recent years Milena Jelinek has enjoyed success in her home country with the film Forgotten Light and a theatre play about Adina
You may not be familiar with the name Josef Koudelka, but there is a very good chance you will know his work. And we’re all sure to see a lot more of it as the August anniversary of the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia draws nearer. Koudelka’s striking black-and-white shots of tanks in the centre of Prague and other images from that turbulent period are regarded as some of the most important works of photojournalism of the 20th century.
Věra Chase has had six books published. They include poetry and prose - both short stories and a novel with the intriguing title, “Passion for Peaches”. Věra hails from a Prague literary family and says that she identifies closely with her home city, although she has travelled widely and lived for some time in London. Her grandfather was one of the many journalists thrown out of Czechoslovak Radio after the Soviet invasion of 1968 and the family was deeply mistrusted by the communist regime. Refusing to succumb to stereotype and convention, Věra
The great Czech composer Antonín Dvořák lived in New York for three years in the 1890s, after being invited to teach at America’s national conservatory. Dvořák’s stay in the city made a tangible impact on his work, and it was there that he was to write the wonderful New World Symphony. Today his legacy in New York is kept alive by the Dvořák American Heritage Association.