Puppet theater in Czechia and Slovakia is a way of conveying a vision of the world. That is one of the main reasons why UNESCO inscribed the art on its List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity three years ago. In the Christmas season, many a theater and community hall across the country is filled with young audiences out to enjoy holiday performances by professional as well as amateur companies.
In the first episode of this two-part series we got to know Barbara Day, who first came from England to Prague in 1965 and whose life has been closely connected to this country ever since. She talked about her interest in Czechoslovak theatre, and her involvement with some notable Czech theatres over the last five decades. Azadeh Kangarani continues the story.
This week marks 60 years since the foundation of the legendary Semafor theatre in Prague, established by the song-writing duo Jiří Suchý and Jiří Šlitr. The theatre, which saw its heyday in the 1960s, produced some of the biggest Czech pop hits ever and helped to launch the careers of many Czech singers and actors, including Waldemar Matuška, Eva Pilarová and Karel Gott.
Leading representatives of the Czech cultural scene gathered at the
National Theatre in Prague on Monday to attend an official farewell
ceremony for actress and Charter 77 signatory Vlasta Chramostová, who died
this month at the age of 92. The event, which featured a number of speakers
including her former colleagues from the National Theatre, culminated with
a symbolic funeral procession exiting the building.
Mrs. Chramostová was an accomplished actress before her refusal to accept the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 led to her losing the opportunity to perform in film, television and radio. During the normalisation era she was active in the country’s dissent and signed the Charter 77 protest document. For her activities in the service of human rights and democracy, Ms. Chramostová was awarded the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk by President Václav Havel in 1998.
Actor Ladislav Mrkvička and opera singer Gabriela Beňačková received
lifetime achievement awards at the Thálie theatre awards in Prague on
The Czech Theatre Academy also presented a new prize, for extraordinary contribution to the art of theatre, to Zdeněk Svěrák, who is also very famous for his screen roles. Both he and Mrkvička received standing ovations during the ceremony at the National Theatre.
Prizes were also awarded in many other categories during the annual event.
National Theatre artists, mainly opera singers, are threatening to strike if the newly appointed culture minister rejects their demand to open selection process to replace their current bosses and increase “transparency” at the institution. With some artistic licence – and apologies to Andrew Lloyd Webber – one could call this Act II of ‘The Phantom of the Czech Opera’.
The renowned Czech baritone Adam Plachetka launched his new CD on Wednesday. Called Winter Journey, the album contains his renditions of 24 poems set to music by Schubert. The opera singer also performed music from Don Giovanni to fully dressed people in bathtubs at the launch’s unusual venue – the rooftop of Prague’s Lucerna Palace. He explained all by phone.
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“Einstein in Bohemia” – Part II: how alienation in ‘half-barbaric’ Prague led him to a new theory of gravity, eventual love of a free Czechoslovakia
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery