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Czech News in English » Life » Do it » Spring symphonies

Spring symphonies

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Prague is in full bloom. The beer gardens are open and perfect weather beckons all outside. What more can you ask for, except maybe some excellent music?

Ask no more. Set amongst the gorgeous backdrop of the vibrant city, the Prague Spring International Music Festival returns for its 64th year, opening with its first performance on 12 May and continuing until 3 June. Across the three week period, the program will weave together a collection of seventy different events ranging from orchestral series, chamber music and recitals to theater productions and operas when musicians from across the globe will flock to Prague’s stages to perform for music aficionados and amateurs alike at the world-renowned festival.

Beginning in 1946, the Prague Spring International Music Festival was child of the first anniversary of the end of World War II and fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Czech Philharmonic. Edvard Beneš, Czechoslovakia’s president became patron of the festival, and claimed “I welcome the idea of organizing an international music festival, which, after the difficult years of war, will bring to Prague the best composers and performers from the countries of our allies and friends, and I wish this important artistic event much success.” Since its founding, The Prague Spring International Music Festival has continued every year under the auspices of top state institutions.

Among the must-see events includes the Prague Spring International Music Festival’s opening night festivities. Beginning at 8:00pm at the Municipal House, the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Estonian conductor Neeme Järvi, performs Bedřich Smetana’s Má vlast. Má vlast, or My Country in English, is Smetana’s most famous work and is a collection of six symphonic poems composed over a five year period. Traditionally, Má vlast has been the opening performance of every the music festivals. Tickets begin at 500ck per person.

Another top event will be Matina Jankova, a world famous soprano. Her recital aims to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Joseph Haydn’s death with a compilation of songs by the composer. Providing musical accompaniment for Jankova is Gérard Wyss on the piano, and later in the performance Adéla Štajnochrová with violin and Petr Nouzovský on the cello. You can here Jankova’s performance at the Rudolfinum on Sunday May 17 at 8:00pm. Tickets begin at 200 ck per person.

If one singer is not enough to satisfy your musical cravings, definitely check out the performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello. The performance is a revived production, based off the New German Theatre´s first production in December 1911 and later revived by the Smetana theater in 199 to much acclaim. Otello will be held at the State Opera on Thursday, May 28 at 7:00pm. Tickets begin at 100 ck.

But the Prague Spring International Music Festival does not only support established artists, and has a tradition of young musicians. Over the years, musicians such as virtuoso violinist David Oistrakh and cellist Mstislav Rostropovich have gotten their start at the festival. The festival even boasts a competition for entrants under 30 years to perform with the chance to win a 200,000 ck prize.

This year, there is a competition for both flute and bassoon. Judged by an international panel of jurists, the final rounds for the flute and bassoon competition will begin at 4:00pm on Wednesday, May 13 and 8:00pm on Thursday May 14, respectively. Both competitions will be held at the Rudolfinum and tickets begin at 100ck.

Tickets to all of the events can be purchased online or at the box office. Students and seniors receive a discount at the box office as well. All of the events will be held at the Prague Spring International Music Festival’s traditional venues of the Rudolfinum and the Municipal House, but in other various locales across the city as well.

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