The Czech Republic will bring back home state-owned artworks that are on loan abroad in an effort to avoid their seizure in a protracted arbitration case. The decision comes after an Austrian court last week upheld the claims of the Swiss firm Diag Human and seized three modernist artworks lent to a gallery in Vienna. The Czech Foreign Ministry considers any seizures of Czech property in breach of international law.
The first two names always given at the top of the pantheon of Czech classical music are Antonín Dvořák and Bedřich Smetana; the third is invariably Leoš Janáček. Probably the most innovative of the three, Janáček likely lags behind the famous duo only because even today, 80 years after his death, musicians, musicologists and music lovers are still reassessing those innovations, which took classical music into uncharted territory.
Last Thursday, Czech Radio lost one of its most esteemed colleagues and the Czech Republic one of the major figures in modern music with the death of Ladislav Simon at the age of 82. His music has been a staple of television, radio and contemporary classical music for more than half a century and he was tirelessly involved in the artistic management of some of the country’s leading cultural institutions, such as the National Theatre, and the founding of Czech Television and the Prague Philharmonia.
What does Allen Ginsberg have in common with the great Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, Turkey’s Nazim Hikmet, and the Czech Nobel Prize winner, Jaroslav Seifert? The answer, rather surprisingly, is Prague. In this week’s Czech Books, David Vaughan tells us more about an irresistibly eclectic new poetry anthology.
Prague is currently hosting the thirteenth annual Khamoro festival – a celebration of Roma culture coupled with serious debate about conditions for the Roma minority. Gypsy musicians from as far afield as Hungary, India, France and Norway feature at this year’s festival, which began with a re-enactment of a traditional Romani wedding.
The Rožmberks, a lavish new exhibition, opened on Thursday at the Waldstein (Wallenstein) Riding School, looking back at one of the most prominent and influential Bohemian noble families. The Rožmberk dynasty dates back to the 13th to 16th centuries, with its members holding key positions in the royal and later imperial courts. The castle at Český Krumlov, admired by countless visitors in South Bohemia today, was the family seat for three hundred years.
In this edition of Spotlight we visit Veltrusy Chateau, a gorgeous summer estate found north of the Czech capital. Founded in the 1700s by Czech nobleman Václav Antonín Chotek, Veltrusy is far from an obvious destination, but is well-worth a day-trip. The castle grounds boast a 300 hectare park along the Vltava River, with numerous paths leading among ancient trees to pavilions, a bridge or two and various monuments. Then of course, there is the chateau itself, highly valued as a gem of Baroque architecture.
Currently underway, the Cannes Film Festival is considered one of the most important film competitions worldwide. This year’s closing film, to be shown after the awards ceremony on May 22, was co-produced by a Czech company and features a number of the country’s actors, as well as Oscar-winning director Miloš Forman in one of the main roles.