Culture shorts

Stoka theatre closes its doors

This picture is history.
photo: SITA

ON THE LAST day of March, after 15 years of existence and over 1,022 performances, Bratislava's alternative Stoka (Sewage) theatre closed the doors on its theatre and pub for good. The premises, which lie near the bank of the Danube, will be torn down for a new city centre.

The theatre has made a unique mark on the poetics and atmosphere of Bratislava life. Apart from being a source of avant-garde, highly improvised plays, it has been a venue for concerts, including its regular Blues Mondays, and a place to share your creativity over a glass of beer in the adjacent pub.

No decision has been reached on a new location yet, but, according to the daily SME, the Malá scéna theatre just opposite the former Stoka premises might be a suitable new home, as the former already has plans to move into the Slovak National Theatre's new building.

Lúčnica dances for Asian audiences

The dancers "heat up" the Taiwanese.
photo: ČTK/AP

FOLK dance and music ensemble Lúčnica embarked on a three-week Asian tour on April 3 to introduce Slovak folklore in Taiwan and serve as the highlight of one of Asia's most prestigious festivals - the Macao Art Festival.

The tour is yet another success for the troupe, which has been called the "Rolling Stones of Folklore", and ranks high on its list of achievements, which includes a ground-breaking performance at London's world-renown Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.

Fifty dancers and musicians from the Golden Violin orchestra, which always accompanies Lúčnica, will also perform their most famous shows, such as the Šarišská polka (Sharish Polka), Vitaj jar (Welcome Spring), Na Detvianskych lazoch and Širákový (Funny Hat Dance), with choreography by Štefan Nosáľ, Lúčnica's founder and long-time artistic director.

Most of the Asian spectators know little about Slovakia, but Lúčnica is courageous and exciting enough to heat up traditionally "cooler" audiences, just as it has done many times during its 58 years of existence and performances in more than 60 countries on five continents. A two-member TV staff accompanies the ensemble to document the atmosphere during the shows and backstage.

After it returns, Lúčnica will give almost 30 performances in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, including large shows in the sports hall in Prešov, the National Tennis Centre in Bratislava, the folk festival in Terchová and Podroháčske folk festivities. In July, its dancers and musicians will perform in the US and Canada and in September, it will please folklore lovers at the tourism fair in Shanghai.

Musicians receive Golden Notes

SLOVAKIA's biggest bank, Slovenská Sporiteľňa, recently gave out its third annual Golden Note awards for young musicians. This year's winners included soprano Alena Pradlovská from the Slovak Philharmonic Choir, contrabass player Robert Vizvári and French horn player Ľubomír Petic from the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, and violinist Martina Karnoková from the Bohdal Warchal Slovak Chamber Orchestra.

The Golden Note awards are given only to musicians under 35 years of age.

"Attendance at concerts in the Slovak Philharmonic is proof that Slovaks have a sense for high-quality music performed by excellent interpreters. Also thanks to our cooperation with Slovenská Sporiteľňa, we can motivate and support young artists and contribute to improving the quality and development of this important field of the arts," said Marián Lapšanský, the general director of the Slovak Philharmonic, at the ceremony on March 30.

Liptovský Mikuláš Days in Bratislava

THE PÁLFFY Palace at Zámocká street has begun hosting a one-month event to introduce Bratislavans to the history and culture of the Liptov region.

The Liptovský Mikuláš Days started on April 4 with an exhibition showcasing works by artists who were born or lived in the Liptov region, such as painters Koloman Sokol, Ester Martinčeková-Šimerová, Jan Hála, Janko Alexy and Miloš Alexander Bazovský. Visitors can also see a copy of the St Barbora sculpture by woodcarver Master Paul from Levoča and black-and-white photos by Martin Martinček.

Organizers have prepared more than a dozen cultural events that will introduce the region's traditional music, drama, poetry, dances and songs.

For example, on April 12, the Bohdan Warchal Slovak Chamber Orchestra and others will perform the Requiem in C Minor by Ján Levoslav Bella, a Liptovský Mikuláš native, at the Slovak Philharmonic Concert Hall. Also, businessmen from Liptovský Mikuláš will introduce their projects at the Business Café.

The programme also includes a cycle tour from Liptovský Mikuláš to Bratislava and meetings with Liptovský Mikuláš natives living in Bratislava.

Representatives from both cities will unveil a table at the address Grosslingova 43 to commemorate Ivan Stodola, the dramatist and Liptovský Mikuláš native who lived and worked there between 1935 and 1951.

A show by the folk dance and music ensemble Váh, accompanied by a cheese and žinčica (a cheese by-product) tasting, will conclude the Liptovský Mikuláš Days at Hviezdoslavovo Square on April 30.

Lipa enchants Italian guitar producer

ITALIAN guitar producer Jim Reed was recently so enthralled by Slovak jazz group The Peter Lipa Band, he gave it a classical guitar and two bass guitars.

In March, the band performed three concerts in the Italian cities of Bassano, Verona and Trevis at the invitation of guitarist Ruggero Robin, who works with Italian stars Zucchero and Andrea Bocelli, the SITA news wire reported.

In Slovakia, Lipa usually sings a repertoire based on lyrics, but his concerts abroad stress other means of expression.

These Italian concerts are not the only recent success for Lipa. Three German radio stations - Radio Multikulti Berlin, Deutsche Welle and Deutschlandfunk - have started to play songs from his latest album Lipa spieva Lasicu (Lipa Sings Lasica), as well as from Live in Hungary and Beatles in Blue(s).

After touring Europe, Lipa plans to give six to eight concerts in Slovakia at clubs and small spaces, which he prefers to sports halls, and will sing songs from Lipa spieva Lasicu in another untraditional venue - theatres. The album is an exceptional mix of Lipa's music and Milan Lasica's lyrics, which earned several Aurel 2005 (Slovak Grammy Awards) for Lipa and its creators.

Prepared by Jana Liptáková

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