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Kállay's Kafka in Vienna

A PHOTO DISPLAY by legendary Slovak photographer Karol Kállay, Franz Kafka and Prague, presented the writer's mystical vision and predictions for the future at the Slovak Institute in Vienna. Kállay originally snapped the pictures for a book, which was published in the mid-1990s. The exhibition then toured the world.

Kállay was inspired by the oeuvre and life of one of the most significant German writers of the 20th century, who is now an inseparable part of Prague's history. The exhibition has already been presented in Bratislava, when it arrived here from the US after two years of touring US branches of the Jewish organization B'nai Brith, the SITA news wire wrote. The exhibition in Vienna was open until March 27.

Burgendland introduced to Slovakia

THE REDUTA on Bratislava's Hviezdoslavovo Square assumed the role of culture embassy for the Austrian state of Burgendland on the evening of March 22 as it hosted Burgenland - the Region of Festivals, an introduction to some of the renowned European festivals that take place there. The event was attended by personalities from both the Slovak and Austrian cultural and social scene. MEP Monika Flašíková-Beňová, actress Zita Furková, and opera singer Ľubica Vargicová represented Slovakia. Provincial Governor of Burgenland Hans Niessl and music festival directors Harald Serafin and Wolfgang Werner came for Austria.

At the event, Gabriella Morigi sang an aria from the opera Nabucco and Igor Morosow performed an aria from La Traviata to lure people to visit the St. Margarethen Opera Festival in Burgendland. Alexandra Reinprecht with Sebastian Reinthaller performed a piece from the operetta Wiener Blut by Johann Strauss. Adela Banášová was the anchor of the gala event.

The St. Margarethen Opera Festival is the biggest open-air classical music and opera festival in Europe. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Robert Herzl will stage Verdi's masterpiece Nabucco on Europe's largest, natural open-air stage. The festival also includes a solo concert and this year's featured world star is opera diva Montserrat Caballe. The festival takes place at the Roman Quarry, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, between July 11 and August 26.

The Austrian Operetta Festival in Mörbisch turns 50 this year, and takes place July 12 to August 26. Its Festival on the Lake concerts are traditionally performed on a grand stage that floats on Lake Neusiedl, offering an impressive view of the surrounding natural scenery. This year, Oscar-winning director Maximilian Schell will stage Wiener Blut (Vienna Blood) by Johann Strauss.

Tickets for both festivals cost between €30 and €100 and, for the first time, can be purchased in Slovakia via www.eventim.sk.

The two festivals and program at the Reduta were presented as part of the new cross-border tourism project nachbarkulturnachbar (neighbourculturneighbour) that's supported by the European Union. As well as the above-mentioned music festivals, the project's partners include Burgendland Tourism and the Croatian Culture and Documentation Centre. The Slovak side is represented by the Bratislava region. The project aims to envigorate culture cooperation between Austria and Slovakia.

SNG to become modern cultural centre

The new design of the SNG's so-called bridge-over according to plans by architects Martin Kusý and Pavol Paňák.
photo: SITA

THE PLANS OF a new, four-phase modernization and reconstruction project to rebuild the premises of the Slovak National Gallery (SNG) in Bratislava into a modern centre of culture that holds collections of modern art, design and architecture have been announced. The Slovak government approved the project on March 21, promising to invest more than Sk1 billion (€3 million) in it by 2013. The Culture Ministry hopes to get some of the costs covered by the EU.

Construction should begin on the SNG building, which is located on L Svoboda Nábrežie, in June.

During the first stage of reconstruction, the so-called bridge-over that connects the wings of the SNG's Water Barracks will be put back into operation. The 30-year-old piece of equipment was shut off in 2001 due to leaks and malfunctions.

In 2005, a panel headed by Austrian architect Gustav Peichl chose the plans by Slovak architects Martin Kusý and Pavol Paňák from the Architekti BKPŠ firm from among 24 proposals submitted as part of a public tender. The project calls for additional storage space for the gallery, a new entrance, exhibition space of about 1,000 square metres and a documentary centre.

During the next phases, the Water Barracks and the administrative building with an amphitheatre will be refurbished, and a new library erected.

Only the adjoining Esterházy Palace has undergone such a thorough reconstruction in recent years. That reconstruction cost Sk32 million and ended in February 2005.

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