Amid the doom and gloom of the pandemic, thereʼs been a silver lining: the explosion of virtual entertainment. As restrictions are loosening, options for getting out are starting to open up. But for now, online is the place to be.
Prague Spring tops the virtual highlights this week. The venerable festival was poised to celebrate its 75th birthday with one of the strongest lineups in recent years, opening with a rare appearance by the Berlin Philharmonic and closing with the Czech Philharmonic performing Beethovenʼs glorious Ninth Symphony. Shut down by the virus crisis, festival organizers rebounded with a tasty set of 11 live and encore performances, which are being streamed for free.
Whether youʼre a classical music devotee or a novice, there is plenty to savor, especially in the live performances. On Monday, Pragueʼs premier Baroque orchestra, Collegium 1704, is serving up three of the greatest names in early music: Bach, Händel and Bohemiaʼs own Jan Dismas Zelenka. On Wednesday the festival relocates to Brno and the other end of the musical spectrum, with the Brno Contemporary Orchestra playing a smart program of modern music that includes the world premiere of Czech composer Jan Ryant Dřízalʼs Wild at Heart. Back on home turf at the Rudolfinum on Saturday, conductor Tomáš Netopil will lead the Czech Philharmonic in a Mozart gala.
If classical music puts you to sleep, a world of entertainment options is just a click or two away. You can jump to the sounds of funk-rock from Lucerna Music Bar. Or sample jazz and roots music from the US. Watch a play at the National Theater in London, or take a virtual tour of Pragueʼs National Gallery, which has assembled the best of its collections in a slick interactive exhibition. If youʼre feeling really ambitious – or just canʼt spend another night sitting at home – venture out to one of the drive-in theaters that have sprung up around Prague, where you can watch movies from the safety and comfort of your car.
Look for all that and more in our lively Events Calendar.
Prague Spring Encore
A reprise of the closing night from last yearʼs BBC Proms, with Sakari Oramo conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra in a light, lyrical program ending with the traditional singalong to Auld Lang Syne. Streaming at 20:00.
National Gallery Virtual Tour
Weekends are made for leisurely strolls through museums, and this one you can do without leaving home. See the best of the National Galleryʼs collections at this interactive exhibit.
Musicians from the Frankfurt Radio Symphony and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band have teamed up for a series of dynamic duets and solo performances. Tonight trumpet player Martin Auer and saxophonist Steffen Weber offer a tribute to Louis Armstrong at 19:00.
Prague Spring Live
If you have never heard contemporary music played by an ensemble that specializes in it, this is an excellent opportunity. Conductor and founder Pavel Šnajdr leads the Brno Contemporary Orchestra in a smart program that includes a world premiere. Streaming at 20:00.
The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC is offering a dazzling array of free programming during the shutdown, including a variety of live music every Wednesday at 22:00 Prague time. But anytime is a good time to explore the archives, which offer performances by the likes of Ben Folds, Queen Esther and John Legend. Check out the offerings at Couch Concerts, Kennedy Center @ Home and Digital Stage.
A Streetcar Named Desire
Gillian Anderson plays Blanche DuBois in this Young Vic production of the Tennessee Williams classic. UKʼs National Theatre offers free streaming starting at 20:00.
Pragueʼs Bohuslav Martinů Institute is offering a series of chamber concerts featuring some of the countryʼs finest instrumentalists. Todayʼs performance features the award-winning violinist Jan Mráček, who at the age of 29 is already an acclaimed world-class talent. The music starts at 19:30.
Prague Spring Live
Bandleader, actor and director Ondřej Havelka hosts an evening of up-and-coming talent on piano, clarinet, violin and percussion. Streaming live from HAMU starting at 20:00.
The funk-rock collective reconvenes on the Lucerna Music Bar stage at 20:00. Get your ticket here.
Prague Spring Live
A gala tribute to Mozart from the city that loves him like no other, with conductor Tomáš Netopil leading the Czech Philharmonic and some of the countryʼs finest singers. Streaming starts at 20:00.
Hereʼs an afternoon warm-up for all-day Mozart binge: The Metropolitan Opera is offering a reprise of its 1978 production of the maestroʼs masterpiece, starring Joan Sutherland. Available free until midnight here.