A Taste of Prague Music Festival

Feb 26th, 2007, 06:56 AM
  #1  
cheryl8
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A Taste of Prague Music Festival

My husband, myself and 20-year old daughter will be in Prague for 4 days in May. We are based in the NYC area. We see plays, concerts (classical and pop) quite a few times/year within NYC area. Most appreciate it very much if someone can recommend a good concert, theater or show we can see to appreciate the fact that we're in Prague. FYI, we'll be Vienna after a few days and are planning to see a Mozart concert there also. Thank you.
 
Feb 26th, 2007, 12:33 PM
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I'm not clear on your title, what does that mean? There is an annual, very wellknown, Prague International Music Festival every year in May, but it isn't called that, to my knowledge. This year is is May 12 to June 3rd. They have a program onlinerly, so it would be hard to recommend something without knowing what was on the program when you intended to go.

In general, though, I would think you should book something done by the Czech Philharmonic or Prague Symphony Orchestra, perhaps including Central European composers, particular Dvorak. I like Janacek also, who is Czech, but someone who doesn't listen to classical music very much might not. Dvorak is a safer bet, as well as Suk. It is unlikely you would get an entire evening of solely Czech composers at that festival, though.

Other than that, if the Prague ballet is doing something by Jiri Kylian, I would def. go to that if you like ballet (a local choreographer of innovative modern works). As for the opera, go to one that they do better than anyone, which would be perhaps Rusalka by Dvorak. That is often playing there sometime. If all else fails, at least the opera Don Giovanni by Mozart was premiered and written in Prague.

I wouldn't know about theater, as you wouldn't understand it if it were in Czech, I presume, and if it is in English, it is most likely some English or international piece, not Czech.

It's hard to give you any specific advice as you haven't given the dates you are there, and ballet, opera, etc. are all going to depend on that, as well as any theatre piece. If you want tickets to anything in the Spring music festival, you have to reserve them early as they are quite popular. THis is the URL
http://www.festival.cz
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Feb 26th, 2007, 04:18 PM
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cheryl8
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Thanks for clarifying, Christina. We'll be in Prague May 10-14.
 
Feb 28th, 2007, 09:10 AM
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I couldn't post yesterday, but today seems okay.

So, are you referring to the regular main Prague Spring Festival? I thought maybe there was something somewhere called "a taste of Prague" as those are usually restaurant sample street fairs. That's the very beginning of the Festival (it starts 5/12), and the main performances are all sold out already for the first two days. You might not have liked them much, anyway, they always do Smetana's "My Country" by tradition. Well, it would certainly be special to Prague and the festival, as it's tradition (They do it opening night in the Municipal House). There is an opening ceremony on Saturday at 3:30 in the Old Town Hall. I only found one performance available, and that is Monday and really nothing special to Prague (some romantic composer string quartets).

There is a Czech opera (Greek Passion by Martinu, I do really like him, also) in the National Theatre on 5/11. That would def. by specific to Prague, both the performance and the venue. It is a lovely theater, if you think you can stand to sit through that and opera tickets in Prague are dirt cheap compared to many cities. Opera can be very long and is an acquired taste (I don't like attending it much myself). It's sort of a combination of some Greek chant and Czech folk tunes in spots, but Martinu is more accessible than many Czech composers, I think. It's gotten good reviews, here is one:
http://www.radio.cz/en/article/77938

There are some regular Italian operas elsewhere.

Frankly, if I were you, I'd attend some of those cheaper concerts in the churches or national museum there, and you don't have to plan ahead for that. You should find flyers for those in the tourist office on arrival (it's right on Old Town Square). In particular, I'd suggest one in St Nicholas' church in Mala Strana as that church is just beautiful, or the Klementinum Hall of Mirrors which is just off the Charles Bridge, you will probably see it and posters as to their concerts if you walk down that street (Karlova). That room has wonderful acoustics and is very beautiful and special, and that is one way to see it. They have chamber music concerts there several days a week most of the time. These kinds of concerts are relatively cheap and usually two hours or less. There are often concerts in the other St Nicholas church, also, the one right on Old Town Square, and you can find flyers right there.

The Prague String Orchestra is doing someting in St Nicholas church on Old Town Sq pm on 5/11-5/12, but it's not Czech. It's sort of funny how those type of concerts aimed at tourists often play the same things in every city, which have nothing to do with local music or composers (Ave Maria, Vivaldi, etc.). I'd really recommend the Klementinum to you, check that out and see what's there.
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Feb 28th, 2007, 10:24 AM
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cheryl8
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Thanks again, Cristina. We'll try to look for church concerts when we're in Prague although I just finished reading Fodor's (or is it Frommer's) mentioning that church concerts are not really the best;they are actually labeled as tourist traps. Will just play it by ear then. Anybody has comment on the Black Theater, is it a must in Prague?
 
Feb 28th, 2007, 11:20 AM
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The highlight event during your stay will be the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra playing Bedøich Smetana: My Country
Zdenìk Mácal conductor

I would go on Sunday, May 13. OPening night is Saturday May 12, but tickets will be 50% more (and probably will sell out quicker - even at the higher price).

http://tinyurl.com/27s2je

Get tickets NOW!! This concert will sell out quickly.
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Feb 28th, 2007, 11:28 AM
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cheryl8
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Thanks Bardo1, just went to the site, all tickets on May 13 were SOLD OUT! Any other suggestion?
 
Feb 28th, 2007, 11:35 AM
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Try May 12. You'll still be getting a NY Philharminic quality concert at about half the price you would pay in NYC.
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Feb 28th, 2007, 11:41 AM
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You might also consider telephoning your Prague hotel and see if they have any connections/tickets - it can't hurt to ask and it's certainly worth the trouble.
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Feb 28th, 2007, 11:52 AM
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Also, here is a very Prague experience. Very touristy but we LOVED it. You can just get tickets when your there in town - no need to buy them in advance.

http://www.mozart.cz/gb/giovanni_gb.html
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Feb 28th, 2007, 12:10 PM
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I told you tickets were sold out those two days.

Some concerts in churches are mainly for tourists, as I said (the ones on Old Town Sq in particular that do Ave Maria and Vivaldi). I would not say the ones in the Klementinum follow that model as while many tourists may go there because they will see the flyers, they don't do that kind of lightweight repertoire, it is more a regular chamber music concert.

The main problem with church concerts is the repertoire. I don't go to those kind of things because I'm not interested in the program. Aside from that, believe me, Prague has many competent musicians and music students and I'm sure the quality of playing will be adequate. The ones in the national museum are quite good and can be fairly wellknown groups, actually. In short, if the program and music appeals to you, that is really the issue.

I forgot they have some over in Bertramka where Mozart lived for a while when he stayed in Prague, but it's more convoluted to get over there.
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Feb 28th, 2007, 12:26 PM
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Christina,

I missed that - I apologize. FWIW, here in the US (Wash. DC anyway) Smetana's "My Country" is rarely played so it would have been a treat. Too bad it's sold out though...
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