The Nové divadlo (New Czech Theatre) was established in the Canadian city of Toronto in 1970. Since then it has enjoyed several high points: the great actor Jiří Voskovec appeared in one production, Josef Škvorecký wrote a play for the amateur group and it staged the world premiere of the Czech language version of Václav Havel’s Temptation. In 2010, the New Czech Theatre received an award from the Czech Foreign Ministry for its work in promoting the good name of its founders’ native country. Sadly, Mr Toman passed away in the Czech Republic last
Stephan Delbos is a Prague-based poet. Five years ago, he moved to Prague, where he edits the Prague Review, teaches literary writing at Charles University, works as a business reporter at the English language newspaper The Prague Post and occasionally hosts the Alchemy poetry reading series at the Globe café. I talked to Mr. Delbos about the English language poetry scene here in Prague and what initially drew him to the city.
Our guest in this edition of Sunday Music Show is Jonathan Gaudet, a French-Canadian guitarist, singer and songwriter who travelled the world before he settled in Prague. Collaborating with Czech musicians and singing in French, Spanish and English, Jonathan incorporates various musical influences in his lively blues.
It was apt that one of the participants in this year’s Prague Writers’ Festival was the Egyptian novelist Hamdy el-Gazzar, who played an active part in the dramatic events last spring on Cairo’s Tahrir Square. It is no coincidence that the revolutions across North Africa and the Middle East came to be known as the “Arab Spring”, taking their name from events in Czechoslovakia – the Prague Spring – over forty years earlier. You do not have to look far to find parallels between the atmosphere of then and now, and the events of ’68 are also a warning
In the 1970s the communist authorities tolerated popular music as long as it was insipid, colourless and unoriginal – everything that the Czech psychedelic rock band The Plastic People of the Universe most definitely was not. Their music was inspired by Frank Zappa and The Velvet Underground, their lyrics anarchic, their behaviour unconventional and their hair long. In 1976 four members of the band were sentenced to prison terms for what was described as “organised disturbance of the peace”, and in December of the same year Czechoslovak Radio broadcast
In the Czech Republic and increasingly even abroad, violinist Pavel Šporcl enjoys the kind of name recognition that aspiring rock stars dream of. A natural talent, he became the enfant terrible of the classical music world when first he arrived on the scene, forgoing a tuxedo for a bandana and taking an interactive approach to his concerts. Having toured the world over and recorded roughly a dozen albums, 36-year-old Pavel Šporcl is not only a dominant but a defining force in classical music. I met Pavel as he was preparing for a concert, and asked
Lubomír Dorůžka first began writing about music seven decades ago when, during WWII, he produced a clandestine magazine on his greatest passion, jazz. The quintessential American art form was frowned upon by the Communists after their 1948 takeover of Czechoslovakia. However, in the relatively liberal 1960s Mr. Dorůžka was able to edit music magazines and play a very active role in international jazz organisations. As well as being a music journalist, he is also a renowned translator of American and British writers – and as a young man did many
Prague’s Antonín Dvořák Museum recently reopened after renovation with a new programme dedicated to the life and work of the famous composer. Entitled The journeys of Antonín Dvořák, it offers a new look at the composer’s stays abroad. It also features an exhibition on Dvořák’s Czech-American friend and collaborator, Josef Jan Kovařík, who worked with Dvořák during his stay in New York.