Monday, October 06, 2014

City of Music

One thing quintessentially Prague for us would be getting all dressed up in suits and ties, then racing across the length of a medieval stone bridge under the austere, almost judgemental gaze of marble saints towards the Gothic church in the Old Town for a chamber music concert. As we raced across the cobblestoned streets, no doubt several gawping tourists must have thought that we were headed to play in the concert ourselves!

Dammit why does the church seem so far away!

Nearby Vienna might lay claim to the term City of Music but Prague is surely a strong contender for that distinction as well. Concerts, musical revivals, ballets, plays etc are staged all over the city, a handful in churches barely a stone's throw away from each other. With so many cultural programmes on offer in Prague, how could we possibly not participate? From a chamber music concert to a pipe organ recital and even to a ballet, we did it all.

Even watched a marionette puppet theatre playing Don Giovanni with its shockingly horrific ending!

So shockingly cultured we were!

Though of course I did struggle to remain awake through several renditions of Mozart, Dvorak and Handel. There's only so much classical music I can take in endless repetition before I require some enlivening intoxicants to counter the inevitable soporific effects. Fortunately the evening concerts were invariably held in breathtakingly beautiful churches with soaring vaulted ceilings painted with delicate frescoes. Really hard to nod off amongst the wooden pews with dozens of plaster saints on their pedestals above glaring down in obvious outrage!

Fortunately I had the ballet to perk me up especially with the more lively Tchaikovsky providing the score to the quintessential ballet Swan Lake. For those who didn't know, Charming Calvin is a closeted devotee of the dance - literally watching everything from the flashy Dancing with the Stars reality series to the more classical ballet movements.

The Swan Lake? 

From the boys above, I would infinitely prefer a lap dance instead but that's something else entirely. Much to Charming Calvin's surprise, I managed to stay somewhat awake throughout the entire ballet - even after consuming a delicious supper of cakes and confits in the art nouveau magnificence that is the Municipal House.

Calvin : At least you're not snoring through the show this time!
Paul : I don't snore!
Calvin : That's what you think. 
Paul : Well, this is far more thrilling. Always preferred Tchaikovsky to the rest. 
Calvin : I'm glad! I like ballets. 
Paul : And don't forget the dancers!
Calvin : The dancers?
Paul : Check out Siegfried's ass. Really pert. 

That unwarranted revelation didn't exactly increase his enjoyment of the show. But really. Male ballet dancers. Hot asses. All those jumps and jet├ęs obviously help.


Of course we saw the more traditional hetero-normative version of Swan Lake - but here's Matthew Bourne's more edgy, alternative reworking for comparison. Thankfully we had the more optimistic happy ending otherwise I would have probably thrown a hissy fit worthy of furious flock of sullen swans.

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