The festival of French and francophone culture this year celebrates its 25th birthday. During the month of April Bonjour Brno will be presenting Brno with artistic productions directly from France and events inspired by the culture of the francophone countries. The programme includes concerts, films, plays, exhibitions, literary events, gastronomy and street art. There will also be the traditional Le Rendez-vous, a pétanque tournament and a children’s programme. This year’s motto is Tradition in the Move.
Vojenský umělecký soubor Ondráš (the Ondráš Military Art Ensemble) is preparing a new project in which both professional parts of the ensemble will perform and together celebrate the 65th anniversary of their founding. Krajinou času (Through the Landscape of Time) offers a mosaic of folk dance and music from selected regions of Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia and Slovakia.
After two years the Symposium: Art | Music | Management is returning to Brno’s JAMU (Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts). Three days in April will be given over to debate, new ideas and exchanging of contacts between professionals, teachers and students. The 7th Symposium promises more than thirty lecturers from four countries and an accompanying programme. This time the symposium focuses on the education of artistic, and primarily music managers.
The Tourist Information Centre recently published the second part of its Authentic Guide THIS IS BRNO II. The city of Brno is presented in it by prominent local personalities from the ranks of artists, publicists, photographers and Brno patriots, plus one Prague writer. One separate chapter in the guide is dedicated to musical Brno; it was written by a performer who calls himself burning.
Prokofiev's ballet drama Romeo and Juliet had its world première at the National Theatre Brno on 30 December 1938 (at the today’s Mahen Theatre, at that time called Na hradbách Theatre) with choreography by Ivo Váňa Psota. The current performance will be its seventh premiere production since 1938. The National Theatre Brno ballet ensemble will present a production directed by Martin Glaser with choreography by Mário Radačovský. Musical production has been undertaken by Pavel Šnajdr.
The ballet company of the National Theatre in Brno is performing Swan Lake in a renewed premiere to mark the centenary of the first performance in the National Theatre in Brno. The production is the work of choreographer and director Robert Strajner. After twenty years the Brno Swan Lake is returning to the repertoire in an entirely new artistic conception. Roman Šolc is taking care of the costumes, the stage sets were designed by the British artist Peter Horne, who already did the same for the ballet The Nutcracker Louskáček. The orchestra is being conducted by Robert Kružík.
In the course of four days the Brno Music Marathon offered some 150 concerts with more than 500 participants. The festival brought together local artists and guests from abroad. The Jazz Evening in the Sono Centre opened with Brno’s Marek Kotača Trio, followed by Yaron Herman from Israel and Kenny Garrett from the USA, while on the stage at Špilberk Castle the local hip-hop legends Chaozz and the crossover and world music Dog Eat Dog got the audience moving. The Adicts from England together with the Prague group The Fialky took care of the rock evening at Fléda, while in the Sono Centre it was the Dutch Physical Graffiti paying tribute to Led Zeppelin. Brno was full of rock, with the British alt-J also performing on Sunday evening.
Brno is a city full of contrasts. A short walk through its centre reveals curious contrasts: the Rozkvět passage next to the House of the Lords of Lipá or the Omega department store inserted into the historic centre are clear examples. The Brno Philharmonic also bases its musical production on the contrast of old with new. More than once I have praised the fresh programmes of the concerts, which go for contrasting musical works and present combinations of compositions which are rarely heard alongside each other. In the case of the concert entitled Romantic Fairy Tales of 24 January however the programme was down to earth. There were no sudden dissonances or odd instrumental combinations and the musical language did not depart from the moderately conventional. However we do not have only the contrasts of old and new, known and unknown, but unfortunately also between quality and its absence and not last between interesting and dull.
For what is already the sixth time the National Theatre Brno has presented promising choreographers from among its own ranks. Yesterday in the Reduta Theatre there was the premiere of another year of the unusual project entitled Choreographic Studio. Nine mini productions were performed by soloists and members of the company to their own choreography.
An interview between Kateřina Bajo, the main coordinator for the membership of Prague as a city of literature in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and David Dittrich, main coordinator for the membership of Brno as a city of music in the same network. The UNESCO Creative Cities Network was set up in 2004 and its main aim is to support cooperation and international cooperation and creativity. Now it brings together 180 member cities from 72 countries from around the world. The cities fall into 7 creative areas – literature, music, design, film, gastronomy, traditional crafts and media. A city applying for membership in the network has to fulfil very strict criteria, and it must be supported not only by the commission of experts but also by all the member cities.
Yesterday the biggest hall of the Brno Exhibition Centre – Pavilion P – was filled with an audience of a thousand. The premiere of the ballet West Side Story was completely sold out. The performance was given by the National Theatre Brno, the author of the original concept and also the original choreography is Jerome Robbins, the libretto is by Arthur Laurents, the music from Leonard Bernstein and the song lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The Brno performance of this world-famous musical was directed by Mário Radačovský, who also created the choreography for this new production. The sets were designed by Marek Hollý and the costumes by Alexandra Grusková. The lighting design was by Tomáš Morávek while the projection was directed by Jan Fuksa and Martin Svobodník.
Brno is now one of the 180 cities from around the world that belongs to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Only some three dozen of these are focused on music. After Prague it is the second city in the Czech Republic to be accepted into this network. The awarded title recognises the work of artists, people working in culture, the diversity of genres and cooperation with the surrounding region.
The unique event ZUŠ Open will present on Tuesday May 30 up to a thousand musical, dance, theatre and artistic performances in 280 Bohemian, Moravian and Silesian towns and cities. Brno also will have an exceptionally rich programme tomorrow, culminating in a joint vocal performance of children with Magdalena Kožená on Moravian Square and a celebratory concert of the Mozart’s Children Festival in Besední dům together with the Brno Philharmonic. The Brno event is part of Brno’s candidacy for the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the field of music.
Artists from the Brno national Theatre enjoyed the first applause of the new season in the open air. Just like last year, the largest Moravian theatre opened in the sun-warmed piazzetta in front of Janáček Theatre. The large temporary stage on the outdoor staircase of the opera house was dominated by soloists of the opera and ballet, as well as the opera orchestra and chorus. The large space in front of Janáček Theatre was again filled with hundreds of standing spectators. According to the data available to the theatre, the number of visitors, who stopped by to see the more than two-hour-long tasting of existing and planned productions of the opera and ballet at the Brno National Theatre exceeded 1,000. The weather and the mood of future visitors corresponded to the programme in all aspects: the remarks by the theatre director Martin Glaser and all three artistic leaders (Mário Radačovský for balet, Jiří Heřman for opera and Martin Františák for theatre) were concise and factually informative. The above quartet always introduced individual blocks with examples of productions.