Prague’s musical fame is equal to her historic importance. Although Prague Spring International Music Festival is the most noteworthy concert series in Prague, it is possible to attend classical concerts in various concert halls and churches all year round. There are also ballets and operas running the whole year through, so anytime is a good time for a cultural experience in Prague. The friendly people of Prague Trips & Tickets are ready to assist you in booking your concerts, ballet, or opera.
Prague Spring is an annual music festival ongoing from its inception in 1946 under the auspices of then President Edvard Benes and Czech presidents continue to patron this highlight of Prague’s cultural life. It was founded in the year that the Czech philharmonic orchestra celebrated its 50th anniversary, so the orchestra was given special preference in 1946 with them performing all of the orchestral concert pieces presented. The main concerts are traditionally held in Rudolfinum, but some are played in smaller halls.
Since 1946, many international orchestras and individual artists have been featured, including Karel Ancerl, Leonard Bernstein, and Anne-Sofie Mutter among many others. The festival itself has honored many great composers. For instance, each year since 1952 the festival has opened with music by Bedrich Smetana to commemorate the anniversary of his death – opening night of the annual festival 12 May. The closing piece is played on 2 June. These appointed weeks are graced each year with a multitude of internationally acclaimed and upcoming artists. The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra are featured among many other returning musical troupes each year.
The duration of each festival contains a competition for young artists up to age 30. Some of the talented youth awarded include singer Magda Ianculescu, pianist Ivo Kahánek, and cellist Mstislav Rostropovich. Tickets usually are available from December of the preceding year for the upcoming spring.
Other concerts of classical music range from Mozart, Strauss, Pachelbel or Gershwin to Jazz music. For a taste of more modern era music, enjoy the best blend of Gershwin’s fun and emotion-filled music in the beautiful Spanish Synagogue. Concerts play all throughout the city during the day or evening – some even by candlelight making for a romantic night outing. Because Prague concerts are located in various venues, keep in mind that each venue carries its own persona and ambiance. Concerts in churches are awe-inspiring and have amazing acoustics while those held in a concert hall will be full of strategically planned architecture and interior design giving a festive and grand atmosphere.
One of the most famous concert halls is located within the Municipal House, an Art Nouveau edifice located on Namesti Republiky (Republic square). It is home to the Prague Symphony Orchestra and boasts the grand Smetana Hall. Most days of the week, you will hear some classic music piece wafting through the air. Some concerts are merely music, but others feature a soprano accompaniment or singers and ballet.
Then, there are the wonderful organ concerts! Prague houses some of Europe’s greatest organs, so appropriately there are on offer several concerts featuring this large instrument. St. Giles’ organ is Prague’s largest and intones magnificent sounds for classic pieces by Bach, Vivaldi, and Dvorak to name a few.
Combine dinner and a concert at the Mozart Cafe in Old Town. Located directly across from the Astronomical Clock, the cafe is easy to find and offers a 4 course meal as you unwind to the sounds of Mozart’s famous compositions.
For full operas or ballets, visit the Estates Theatre, which is part of the National Theatre. Mozart loved Prague and personally chose this theatre for the world premiere of Don Giovanni. It continues the tradition of this opera by featuring it at least once a month year round or the highlights of all of Mozart’s operas in Mozartissimo. Ballets are also on offer here and in other venues throughout town. See Carmen or Swan Lake in the Hybernia Theatre. The National Theatre, State Opera, and Laterna Magika work in conglomeration to provide the best quality of cultural experiences. Stop by our office to see what is currently playing and book tickets.
These featured concerts, operas, and ballets are just a hint of all this city has to offer. Take a look at our other specials to get more ideas of what to see while you are in Prague. And, of course, don’t hesitate to ask our friendly staff for recommendations on current concerts that aren’t listed online!
Written by Rebekah Sramkova