Throughout June, the Czech capital Prague is playing host to the ninth annual Nine Gates festival of Czech-German-Jewish culture. Nine Gates is a combination of music, theatre and literature of the period before the Second World War, when Prague was a multiethnic, multicultural city, most of whose inhabitants were comfortable speaking both Czech and German.
In today’s edition of the Arts we meet American scholar Kathi Diamant, who has spent years researching and writing about her namesake – Dora Diamant. Dora was a Polish émigré living in Berlin when she met Czech writer Franz Kafka for the first time in 1923. She became the great novelist’s last lover – spending the final eleven months of his life with him in a shared Berlin flat. Kathi Diamant has just written a book about Dora, titled ‘Kafka’s Last Love’. She spoke to Radio Prague’s Anna Kubišta about how she originally became interested in the
'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.