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|Richard Wagner: DER RING|
|Prague National Theatre Opera, April to May 2005 - References|
chris argent [mailto:email@example.com]
Ever since returning home from Prague I have been meaning to let you know that everything went according to plan while our party of 4 was in Prague. We were most grateful to you for ensuring the tickets were delivered to the Cloister Inn in good time, and for arranging such good seats for us. The Ring in the National was splendid with some of the beest singing we have heard and Rusalka at the State Theatre was pure magic.
I have yet to play the gifted CD for which many thanks - we look forward to hearing it.
Thank you so much for all you did for us.
From: Richard J. Horner [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, June 13, 2005 6:47 PM
To: Richard Kolár(email@example.com); Vit Kolar
Subject: THANK YOU
Richard & Vit
A belated short note to thank you for the excellent seats you supplied for our recent Ring trip to Prague. We will certainly recommend your efficient service to our friends. We hope to fit in a return to Prague in the next couple of years.
Richard & Susan Horner
NO matter what the people of Salzburg, Vienna or Dresden tell you, it's Prague that seems to have given Mozart his most deserved recognition during his short, sometimes troubled and brilliantly-unmatched creative life.
Prague is a city of survivors, its history defined by invasion, cruelty and revolution. But it is also a music-lovers dream destination.
Not only the kind of music your reporter likes, but also what he would, in his elitist way, describe as ""popular"". Night after night when we were there in May the big squares and main street intersections were as tightly-jammed as Lang Park or the Gabba on big match day, scores of thousands rocking to live bands, big screens, huge amplification and swamping booze. (The Czechs are the biggest beer drinkers in the world, followed by the Irish. Forget Australia.)
But back to W.A. Mozart, hero to millions of the world's music-lovers and to cinema-goers who enjoyed Amadeus, a good deal of which was made here in Prague by the expat Czech Milos Foreman.
His work is everywhere, from nightly marionette performances of Don Giovanni in at least two theatres (of which we enjoyed one, where this great opera was treated as comedy) to music-making of the highest quality in Betramka, a museum in suburban Prague, easily reached by tram.
The house was built in a vineyard around 1700.It features a two-winged staircase. In 1787 it was the summer residence of a Mr and Mrs Dusek and those stairs were climbed by Mozart who has come to Prague to rehearse his new opera. It opened very successfully on October 29 and while still at Bertramka Mozart composed the concert aria ""Bella mi fiamma, addio'' for his hostess.
In1956 permanent exposition devoted to Mozart and the Duseks opened at Betramka. Well worth a visit.
We went for a 5 pm concert on a glorious May evening. by violinist Ivan Zenaty and pianist Katarina Zenata. Blackbirds sang so enthusiastically that Mr Zenaty had to close the doors. I think Mozart might well have agreed with our opinion that the outstanding piece played was Spiegel im Spiegel by the contemporary composer Arvo Paart.
Actually, we were in town for Richard Wagner's monumental Ring cycle, four nights of pretty heavy stuff, done here for the first time in Prague at the Narodni Divadlo, the National Theatre _ and to a very high standard, as good as any we have seen around the weird and wonderful world of Wagnerian opera.
Such is the level of music appreciation in this city that we were also able, at tourist-short notice, to hear Bach's St John Passion with the Prague Virtuosi directed by Peter Schreier at the acoustically and visually superb Rudolfinum and the Dresden Staatskapelle conducted by Yakov Kreizberg in the Smetana Hall of the Municipal building.
In fact there are more concerts in churches and halls than even the most devoted music-lover could possibly have time to hear, some of them no doubt of lesser standards than the above starred events of the Prague Festival.
Among the many things worth seeing is to be found on the first floor above a McDonald's on Na Prikope. Up a carpeted marble staircase, turn not right (to a casino) but left, to the Museum of Communism. Here are the facts and artefacts of daily life, politics, history, sport, economics, education, the arts, media propaganda, the People's militias, the army and the dreaded secret police apparatus, a vivid account of Communism in Czechoslovakia and in Prague in particular.
One more thing: On the walk home from the National Theatre to the Elite hotel on Ostrovni we were able to call in at the Dog's Bollocks. Noisy, smokey, good beer and edible tucker _ e.g. sausages, bread and mustard _ and quiet a useable name.
I think you should know about Becherovka. If you're Czech or have friends from that part of the world you will surely have tried it and almost as surely liked it.
We first encountered it in the Rotisserie restaurant in Prague in May. The Rotisserie turned out to be a pretentious, over-priced dump, but we fell for the multi-lingual conman waiter who presented with this little glass of pale golden liquor even before he produced the menu.
""Very good for the stomach,'' he assured us. ""Made from 27 different herbs.''
And it’s surely very good to the taste, with a touch of honey-sweetness and faint hints of those many herbs, and warming to the mood.
It's apparently a long-standing; favourite of the citizens of the Czech Republic, people who like their liquor.
Next day we bought a decent-sized bottle (at Tesco, such is the influence of the new Europe). The label appears to suggest an alcohol content of 40 percent. It could well be my favourite fire water and if anyone knows where to buy it out here, please tell the editor of this esteemed publication.
From: David and Pamela Bray [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, June 13, 2005 6:28 AM
To: Jindrich Kolár
Thank you for looking after us so well during our stay in wonderful Prague. You did everything you promised, on time and courteously. We will recommend your services to our friends.
Here is something I have had published here.
First Series of theRing:
17.4.2005 (19:00) - Das Rheingold
23.4.2005 (18:00) - Die Walküre
1.5.2005 (17:00) - Siegfried
14.5.2005 (17:00) - Die Götterdämmerung
Second Series of theRing:
16.5.2005 (19:00) - Das Rheingold
18.5.2005 (18:00) - Die Walküre
20.5.2005 (17:00) - Siegfried
22.5.2005 (17:00) - Die Götterdämmerung
We sorry that the Ring Series is over.