In a tradition going back to 1920, on the eve of October 28, marking the birth of Czechoslovak independence, the Czech Culture Ministry grants annual State Awards to outstanding Czech authors and translators. This year’s recipients are author and literary scholar Daniela Hodrová and translator and university professor Martin Hilský who recently completed his translation of the entire work by William Shakespeare.
This week’s Sunday music show is devoted to a refreshing female duo called Two Voices. At first glance they have little in common - Jana Rychterova is a classic chanson singer, who writes her own lyrics and accompanies herself on the guitar while mezzo-soprano Edita Adlerova studied opera. What brought them together is a sense of humour and a natural talent to entertain the crowd.
Surrounded by railway sidings and industrial estates, it's easy to get the impression that Kolín is simply a town travellers pass through on the way from the Czech capital to the nearby tourist-friendly Kutná Hora. Nevertheless, anyone who gets off the train in Kolín and takes the trouble to walk the short distance past the factories and business parks to the city centre will find that it is a place worth visiting.
Opposed, later persecuted – and finally forgotten. That was the fate of many Czech Catholic writers, who stood outside the literary mainstream. In one of Europe’s most atheist nations, the impact of these authors gradually diminished throughout the 20th century although in their heyday, in the interwar period, they managed to convey many original ideas and intriguing artistic expressions.
“The Great Lady of Chanson”, “Edith Piaf from Prague” or a “Chanteuse with a Slavic Soul” – that’s how critics have described Hana Hegerová, the Czechoslovak singer who turns eighty on Wednesday. After a career spanning almost half a century, Hana Hegerová saddened her fans a couple of months ago by announcing her retirement from the stage and cancelling all her scheduled concerts.
In this week’s Arts, I talk to David Peimer, professor of theatre at University College in the UK, also involved with the Pinter Centre for Performance and Creative Writing in London. In our interview Mr Peimer discusses In Other Rooms - a production in English of lesser-known short plays by the late Nobel Prize laureate Harold Pinter. While not as widely-known as Pinter’s most famous work, the short plays are highly recommended – and Czech audiences will have a chance to see them this weekend when the production, co-directed by Mr Peimer, comes
In this edition of the Sunday Music Show we profile Slovak pop star Miro Žbirka. The Prague-based singer, widely known by his nickname Meky, released his first album in Czechoslovakia in 1979 with the pop group Modus, a band with which he recorded now classic hits like Dievčatá, Drahá and others, before moving on to a successful solo career. Žbirka, whose mother was from Great Britain, also sings in English so we’ll be hearing a variety of material, including one song off from remastered material recorded in English in West Germany in the
In this week’s Arts, I speak to Jaroslav Rudiš, the author of an influential graphic novel (trilogy, actually) that delves into the fog of history and troubled Central European past. The story of Alois Nebel – a slightly mad railwayman working in a remote border region – it has been made into a new film that premiered last week in the Czech Republic after being featured in festivals in Venice and Toronto.
A new documentary that will premiere in Czech cinemas next week depicts the lesser known part of the life of the Czech-born actor Jiří (or George) Voskovec. In his homeland, he is best known as the co-founder and co-star of Prague’s pre-war avant-garde theatre troupe, the Liberated Theatre. Having spent the war in exile in New York, Jiří Voskovec again moved to the US after the 1948 communist takeover of Czechoslovakia. The new film, entitled My Father George Voskovec, follows his daughter Gigi retracing her father’s life, from the difficult beginnings