Last week the Václav Havel Library hosted the second of a series of interviews with people who knew and worked with Havel. This month’s guest was the Canadian Paul Wilson, who has translated much of Havel’s work and lived in Prague from 1967 to 1977. He witnessed the Soviet-led invasion, and in the years that followed he became part of the Czech underground music scene, until he was ultimately expelled from the country. Few people in the English-speaking world can claim to be as steeped in the life and culture of Czechoslovakia in the last two decades
Almost a decade ago, organisers at the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival launched Dok revue – a journal aimed at promoting increased analysis and discussion of documentary films. The project, both in print and online, is going strong and this week Radio Prague caught up with co-founder Andrea Slováková and editor Tereza Hadravová.
Now in its 13th year, the Prague Fringe Festival brings dozens of productions from around the globe to the city for nine days of alternative drama, comedy, music, dance and more. Ahead of Friday’s opening of the colourful festival, which is centred in the historic Malá Strana district, I spoke to director Steve Gove – and began by asking him what the highlights of this year’s Fringe were likely to be.
E-books have been slow to take off in the Czech Republic with taxes, a local penchant for piracy, and caution from some of the traditional print publishers some of the factors in its slow roll-out. But the optimists are still sticking to the script that e-books can elbow themselves a much greater share of the market.
Two exhibitions opening in Prague on Friday will turn the spotlight on a writer closely associated with the city, Franz Kafka. One will focus on his classic novel The Trial, giving visitors a rare chance to see pages from the original manuscript, while the other will present Kafka and his work through the eyes of cartoonists. Ian Willoughby reports.
The Czech Republic has lost one of its most respected artists: Adriena Šimotová, who passed away on Monday at the age of 87. Šimotová, who was banned from exhibiting in Communist Czechoslovakia during the so-called ‘Normalisation period’, went from a classic painter’s approach early in her career to a more abstract but also figurative style, often working with images in fabric or paper.
Director Tomáš Pilař is regarded as a coming man in the world of Czech opera. And the 25-year-old is already incredibly busy; this season he is working on more than a dozen different projects at opera houses in various corners of the country. When we met recently, we discussed the craft of opera direction, the state of the art form in the Czech Republic and his own ambitions. But I first asked Pilař – who is also a stage designer – whether he came from a musical family.
In this week’s show, we will listen to some music by a young singer named Debbi. She’s put out two albums before turning 20, and captured the attention of Czech, and even some international audiences with her husky voice and bubbly personality. Her music has given the Czech pop scene a bit more depth, a few more good songs in English and even a slightly retro dimension.