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
It is just under a month ago that some of the country’s most prominent artists and art critics sent a letter to the government calling for a change at the top of the National Gallery. Its signatories accused Milan Knížák, who has been the head of the gallery since 1999, of economic mismanagement, and leading the gallery, and by extension the Czech art world, into isolation. On Tuesday, Mr Knížák reacted to the petition calling for his removal.
This year, Český Rozhlas or Czech Radio is celebrating its 85th anniversary. A number of special commemorative events and broadcasts are being planned for the coming months. As an institution, Czech Radio has played its part in, and survived, two revolutions, as many major uprisings, and a world war. But could one of its biggest tests be, quite simply, a change in times and consumers’ tastes? As we are bombarded with information from an ever increasing number of sources, is there still a place for good old radio in the modern world?
April 30 is ‘Čarodějnice’ in the Czech Republic, the day that winter is ceremonially brought to an end. How? By the burning of rag and straw witches on bonfires around the country. The festival offers Czechs the chance to eat, drink and be merry around a roaring fire, and for some, there’s even the chance to dress up.
Our guest for One on One this week is Jakub Cigler, one half of the duo behind Cigler-Marani – an award-winning firm of architects whose elegant designs have helped them become one of the leaders in their field in this country. Cigler-Marani have been in the news of late because their design has been chosen by the city of Prague to revamp the Czech capital’s somewhat jaded main thoroughfare Wenceslas Square.
Welcome to Czech Books - and to Czech slam! Slam poetry first came into being in the United States in the 1980s and is basically a competition between performance poets, who perform their work in front of an audience who then decide who they think did the best job. Slam poetry has become very popular in the Czech Republic in the past few years, with regional competitions in many towns such as Plzeň, the hometown of my guest today, one of the leading Czech slammers - Bohdan Bláhovec. Bohdan is a 23-year-old student at the Prague Film School and
Some critics have already called it the most notable Czech film of the year – Petr Zelenka’s “The Karamazovs”. Inspired by Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel together with a famous long-running adaptation at Prague’s Dejvicke Theatre, the film opened in Prague on Thursday to wide anticipation. Layers within layers is one way of describing it as it focuses on actors performing the Karamazov story in a giant factory but it goes far beyond that, not only focusing on the actors on stage and off but also on one of the viewers. I sat down with the director a
All this week, moviegoers and directors are flocking to the West Bohemian town of Plzeň for one of the biggest film festivals in the country – Finále Plzeň. The festival is dedicated to Czech films, and will feature special screenings, concerts and talks with directors such as Jiří Menzel. One of the guests at the festival’s opening was Jana Černík from the Czech Film Chamber. She talked to Radio Prague’s Philippe Boudoux about the year that Czech film had had: