After nearly ten years of bringing the best of Czech live performance to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival the Czech Centre in London worked to create a wider program bringing a whole season of exhibitions and live art to two cities in Scotland. I spoke to the director of the Czech Centre in London Tereza Porybná about the events being staged within the Czech Season in Scotland.
A new tender will be held to find a suitable candidate to head the Czech Centre in Paris, the organisation’s spokeswoman Petra Jungwirthová confirmed; additional tenders have also been announced for the heads of the centres in Sofia, Stockholm, Warsaw and Tel Aviv. A new CEO in charge of all the centres is also being sought, after the previous head was recalled from his post by Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek for refusing to name Jean-Gaspard Páleníček head of the centre in Paris. Czech centres in Vienna and Brussels will be headed by Mojmír Jeřábek and Jitka Pánek Jurková, respectively.
Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek has dismissed Jan Závěšický from the post of general director of the country's Czech Centres. According to the ministry’s press department, he made the move due to serious managerial errors. Závěšický came under fire recently when he refused to appoint Jean-Gaspard Páleníček the director of the Czech Centre in Paris, despite the fact that he won the tender for the job. Páleníček was later sacked. The step prompted a protest letter signed by over 200 French intellectuals and academics addressed to the Foreign Minister.
The Czech Ministry of Culture has established a Czech Literary Centre the aim of which is to promote Czech literature abroad. The centre’s director Petr Janyška says his immediate goal will be to establish contacts with partner organizations abroad and raise the country’s profile at international book fairs and literary events. The centre will cooperate closely with translators and experts on Czech literature abroad.
Antonín Dvořák’s most famous opera Rusalka is back on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The highly anticipated production of the “lyric fairy tale” about a water nymph, who wishes to become a human in order to be loved by a young prince, is only the second in the history of the Metropolitan Opera. RF has more in today’s edition of In Focus.
On the occasion of the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka, which premieres on February 2, the Czech Centre in New York has prepared a unique exhibition, featuring the original score of the famous opera. It is the first time in history that the rare manuscript has left the territory of the Czech Republic.
Is the Czech president a populist and demagogue who uses arguments comparable to those of Islamic State? What is the Czech stand on continuing EU sanctions against Russia and what are the Foreign Ministry’s plans for Czech cultural centres abroad? Those are some of the questions addressed in an interview Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek gave to Czech Radio on Wednesday.
The Czech Centres network has launched a travelling exhibition marking the 700th anniversary of the birth of Bohemian king and holy roman emperor Charles IV. The panel exhibition, entitled The Emperor on Four Thrones, will include casts of statues of the ruler and his four wives from Prague’s St. Vitus Cathedral. It will run at the Czech Centre in downtown Prague until the end of April before making more than a dozen more stops in the international network of cultural institutes, including in New York, Paris and Tokyo.
For the last two years, Tereza Porybná has been the director of the Czech Centre in London. Under her leadership, the UK branch of the international network of cultural institutes is working to cultivate a cool, modern image of the Czech Republic via projects in fields such as the performing arts and design. Last week I discussed its work with Porybná in her office at the Czech Centre, which is in the fashionable Covent Garden district.
Zdeněk Lyčka has just been made acting director of the Czech Centres, a network of institutes that promote Czech culture on the international stage. Mr. Lyčka, who is 57, himself headed the Czech Centre in Stockholm at the end of the 1990s and has also served as Czech ambassador to Denmark. When we spoke, I asked him how much independence the 22 Czech Centres around the world enjoy – do they have to coordinate every step with Prague, or do they have a lot of room to do their own thing?