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Thousands watch Bojnice festival

MORE than 11,000 domestic and foreign visitors to Bojnice Castle between April 28 and May 1 saw the first part of the 13th annual Festival of Ghosts and Spirits, entitled The Course of Snakes.

Bojnice Museum manager Sylvia Maliariková told TASR news wire that the largest number of visitors (3,722) came on Sunday. This set a new daily record in the festival's 13-year history. Attendance levels were adversely affected by bad weather on other days.

A unique performance, enacted in castle courtyards and individual rooms, featured almost 100 figures from the castle's history, along with characters from fairytales and live snakes.

Visitors who have attended the festival before said that this year's event has ranked among the spookiest and most successful.

Part two of the festival began on May 4, and will last until May 8.

The Lojzos at the Apollo Bridge opening (Kochanský centre) last year.
photo: SITA

Lojzo band founder dead

MARIÁN Kochanský, founder and singer of the Bratislava band Lojzo died on April 28 in Bratislava following a long illness. In early June he would have celebrated his 51st birthday. Kochanský was the author of most songs of the band.

The band Lojzo, whose name is an acronym of Ľudový orchester jednoduchej zábavy (Folk Orchestra of Simple Entertainment), emerged at the beginning of the 1980s. It looked for inspiration in "robust folk bands playing at markets". Satire and recession dominated its songs when its members always played and sang in old- fashioned jogging pants. The band, which has always operated as an amateur band, has sold almost 300,000 copies of five albums.

Mosaic windows in PKO to be preserved

These rare PKO mosaics are the work of Janko Alexy and his wife.
photo: SITA

THE BRATISLAVA city council will preserve works of art in halls of Park Kultúry a Oddychu (Culture and Leisure Park - PKO) on Nábrežie L Svobodu. Its buildings will be torn down to make space for new construction.

The artworks include in particular 28 mosaic windows by Slovak artist Janko Alexy and his wife Šára, which for now embellish the PKO entry hall.

"The capital city knows about them, as well as about precious marble from the quarry in Tuhár close to Lučenec in the interior of the buildings. All these are owned by the city, and the city council should decide their fate by the end of October," the city council's spokesperson Eva Chudinová told Pravda.

The mosaic windows might move to another place or will be incorporated into the new buildings to be erected at the same site.

Art historian Bohumír Bachratý is not able to assess the value of the mosaic windows. He estimates a value of Sk0.5 million (€13,000), but he thinks that it is impossible to set a certain figure since this work of a significant Slovak artist and his wife also has historical and cultural value.

"It is a classical mosaic, which has Alexy's charm and a folksy, poetic appeal," said Bachratý.

Twelve mosaics depict the outlaw Jánošík and his band and another 15 are Slovak castles with coats of arms and names of their owners. "Moreover, these mosaics were created directly for PKO, to fit the architecture, which was built during the 1940s and 1950s," said Bachratý.

"The marble from Tuhár is the most beautiful Slovak marble and it is known for its variety of colours, including grey, pale amber, golden and light brown with red veining," Daniel Pivko from the Natural-Science Faculty of Comenius University told Bratislavské noviny. The floor in the vestibule is a unique colourful collage of marble from Tuhár.

The most precious marble from Tuhár, white, grey, and black striped marble was used to panel the walls of the room. The panels in PKO are considered the most beautiful, with similar panelling found only in a passage at SNP Square 13 and a bit in Comenius University at Šafárikovo square.

Banská Bystrica puppetters tour France

MARIONETTE theatre Bábkové divadlo na Rázcestí returned from a successful tour of France. During almost three weeks 12 artists gave eight performances of Kubo by Jozef Hollý in the French towns of Tours, Thouars, Marseille and Dijon.

"Visitors reacted vigorously, they applauded during the performance and at the end they gave a 10-minute ovation, stamping and crying," Marián Pecko, artistic director and director of the Banská Bystrica-based theatre told SME.

French organizers had selected Kubo themselves. They had enjoyed it in Banská Bystrica as well as at a festival of the theatres of European regions in Czech Hradec Králové.

"French visitors perceived the story of Kubo as a contemporary play and were very surprised when we explained that this is an adaptation of a Slovak classic," said Pecko.

The theatre has brought from France invitations for other tours in Avignon and Paris.

Apollo Bridge does well

The fifth Bratislava bridge makes it onto the world stage.
photo: Jana Liptáková

IN THE END, Bratislava's Apollo Bridge did not win the main OPAL Award, which is civil engineering's equivalent of an Oscar, but even being named among the five finalists is an exceptional success for Slovak civil engineers, experts say.

The 2006 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award, presented by the American Society of Civil Engineers, went to the Saluda Dam Remediation Project (Columbia, South Carolina). The fifth bridge over the Danube in Bratislava was the only European project in the American competition.

Bratislava Deputy Mayor Karol Kolada told Pravda after returning from USA that foreign experts had praised "the unique idea and courage" of the manoeuvre that moved the 5,240-tonne steel arch structure constructed on the left bank to the opposite side. Several barges rotated the 231-metre structure across the Danube into its final position onto a pillar 40 metres from the right bank.

New Drama has 18 competitors

SLOVAK theatres will perform domestic and international works of contemporary drama during the second annual New Drama festival between May 9 and 14. Twenty-four foreign observers from 13 European countries have confirmed their attendance.

Seven Bratislava and eight out-of-Bratislava theatres, including the Slovak professional theatre from Serbia and Montenegro, will compete altogether with 18 performances for the festival's two main prizes. One Grand Prix New Drama will be for the best performance and the other for the best staging of a Slovak play. The plays will also compete for a viewer's prize.

The New Drama festival is organised by the Theatrical Institute Bratislava in cooperation with the Slovak National Theatre (SND) Drama, Astorka Korzo '90, Aréna Theatre and Association of Contemporary Theatre. Its second year opens at 19:00 on May 9 at SND's Malá Scéna (Small Scene).

Compiled by Spectator staff
from press reports

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