For the first time in its 75-year history the Prague Spring International Music Festival finds itself in a situation where it will be unable to present its concert programme as planned
“It is difficult to foresee which restrictive measures will still be in place at the time this year’s Prague Spring is due to start and, for understandable reasons, we cannot expect a mandatory standpoint from the relevant bodies of the state administration. The Prague Spring has therefore decided to seek an alternative so that music may continue to bring hope to its listeners during this troubling situation,” says festival director Roman Bělor.
The festival is putting together approximately ten concerts for live broadcast, which together will convey the essence of the Prague Spring’s most important characteristics. These concerts will be available free of charge via the Prague Spring website. Selected concerts will also be included in the schedules of Czech Television, the festival’s General Media Partner, and of Czech Radio, which has accompanied the festival since it was founded in 1946. The programme will be supplemented by comprehensive audiovisual documentation mapping the modern history of the festival, which both institutions have at their disposal.
Smetana’s My Country, a pivotal work of the festival, cannot be performed live on the 12th of May; however, the Prague Spring is in discussions with Czech Television regarding the proposal to include in the broadcast a recording of one of the exceptional performances from previous years. The programme for the Closing Concert was originally to have included Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Understandably, this will no longer be possible given the large number of people involved in planning and performing this concert amidst the restrictions in force. “In association with the Czech Philharmonic we are thus considering an alternative closing programme. However, the original idea remains uppermost in our minds: the concert is to be an ʽode to joyʼ,” stresses festival director Roman Bělor. We can now reveal that, presented with this alternative programme, viewers can still look forward to a vocal recital given by bass-baritone Adam Plachetka, who will perform Franz Schubert’s Winterreise. The concert will be broadcast live from the Rudolfinum’s Dvořák Hall, where it was originally to have taken place.
“The Prague Spring is preparing a whole series of other streamed concerts, with a major role being played by young Czech artists and leading Czech chamber musicians. We are endeavouring to retain within the programme the concert by the Brno Contemporary Orchestra, featuring the world premiere of a work by Jan Ryant Dřízal commissioned by the festival. We are currently in negotiations with foreign artists regarding the possibility of streaming planned recitals from abroad for Czech audiences. As in the case of the Czech Philharmonic, we are making efforts to secure a revised or alternative programme for concerts which were scheduled for the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the PKF – Prague Philharmonia and Collegium 1704. We are doing everything in our power to allow Czech artists to be given an opportunity in this alternative version of events, and to ensure that cultural life is not brought to a complete standstill. It is our wish that the Prague Spring remain a celebration of music and life even in these difficult times. In this way we also offer our support to Czech musicians,” maintains Roman Bělor. The alternative programme will be specified in the coming weeks and will be regularly updated in line with the evolving, government-defined conditions for life within society.