(pictured – Matahari)
(pictured – Jolly Joker)
(pictured – Magna Hotel)
This is part two of a three part series (each part will be published on a weekly basis) about Notes from Vivace’s quest to locate the local music scene in Prague.
Part One can be found here
Classical Music at Dvorak Hall
This is dedicated to the guy wearing the t-shirt and jeans, making me NOT the worst dressed person in the Hall.
In my Internet search of the Prague music scene, I came across a month long event called Prague Spring (held between May 12th and Jun 4th). So on my second day in Prague, it was off to Dvorak Hall to catch the Baborak Ensemble play some Georg Phillip Telemann, Joseph Haydn, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. When buying the ticket (approximately $15), I asked the lady at the counter if I’d be let in wearing jeans. I’d read in a tourist book that the Czech are formal people and I could just imagine that the concert hall would be filled with folks wearing suits. I was told I’d be fine, but it would be wise to wear a button shirt and jacket.
As I walked up towards the doors that led towards my balcony seats, I could have sworn the two female staff members at the doors were saying:
Staff Member #1, laughing: “Look at that guy in the jeans and jacket.”
Staff Member #2, laughing back: “Yes, so under dressed for our event. How uncouth of him.”
Staff Member #1: “He is most definitely a rude American.”
The audience here was no more diverse than at Futurum. Only about 1 percent of the crowd was non-Caucasian. Opposite of Futurum, as might be expected, the crowd was much older with a mean age of around 65 – lowered from 70 by the fact that some grandparents were forcing their grandchildren to experience some culture. And as I suspected, they were mainly well dressed. I was wearing a button down shirt, as advised, which at least put me outside of the 0.1% crowd that was dressed even less formally – a single guy who was in jeans and a t-shirt. He should have known better. I saw him with a sweater that said: 07 Vienna Music Festival. I can only imagine that the Austrians are far more formal than the Czechs. There were perhaps five of us wearing jeans. There was one guy wearing jeans who appeared to be in his 50s. I’ll do the $2 bet that he was a fellow tourist.
Even though 99% of the audience was dressed in a suit and tie, I did start to notice the formalities breaking down just a notch. There was the twenty-something with the tattoo at the nape of her neck. I also noticed a lone guy in his twenties sitting on a bench above/behind the ensemble. He was in a suit and tie. And yet (for practically everyone to see since he was behind the ensemble with the rest of us looking at him) he was well relaxed, legs up on the bench. He was wearing red socks. His arms were folded as he leaned up against the wall. Okay, these last two examples of twenty-somethings reduced the average age from 65 to 64.8.
I like classical music, but I’m not a regular visitor to the various classical venues of Los Angeles. Here are some observations I made while at the Dvorak Hall that may or may not be the same in Los Angeles. The seats were about four inches too narrow. After playing Telemann, the whole ensemble left the stage and came back to great fanfare. We hadn’t even hit intermission and the ensemble was taking a break. There was a whole lot of clapping going on after each piece finished. I’m not sure the same can be said while at the Hollywood Bowl. In fact, there was so much clapping going on I couldn’t help but wonder why they just didn’t give the ensemble a standing ovation at the end of each selection. For Haydn, the French Hornist was cheered wildly and given the chance to perform an encore. There was then a set redesign. Then for the final selection, a Mozart piece, the conductor asked for another redesign – was there some miscommunication regarding where the horn section should be seated because there had just been a redesign? After Mozart the crowds cheered again, but there was still no standing ovation. A large bouquet of flowers was brought on stage. Three brief encores were performed. The conductor then walked around the stage, thanking each member of the ensemble and kissing each of the women. And then finally, there was the standing ovation.
The cheap seats at the Dvorak Hall were $5. And how bad was the view from the $5 seats? If you purchased the $5 seats, you were stuck looking at a pillar over the course of the night. I wasn’t willing to go that cheap. I remember going to a Duke-Carolina game, which was so packed that I could only see ¾ of the court. I shy away from these types of seats due to the traumatizing experience of only getting to watch ¾ of a Duke-Carolina game.-
After the concert, it was off once again in search of the Prague rock music night life. (more…)