Unless you recently awoke from troubled dreams to find yourself transformed into a hideous insect, you may have noted lot of Czech-related stuff going on around town recently. That's because, stemming from Opera Colorado's upcoming production of Dvořák's Rusalka, a handful of Denver arts organizations have jumped on board with the opera for Czech Point Denver, a celebration of Czech culture and artists; the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, for example, recently did a multimedia presentation with Dvořák's From the New World, and the Buntport Theater is bringing back Kafka on Ice, to name a couple of related events. If you haven't jumped on the Czech bandwagon yet, tonight's Czech Insights presentation at the Tattered Cover offers a good gateway.
As a general overview of sorts of some of the most influential works to come from the former Austro-Hungarian empire (Czech is one of the many ethnicities to have been lumped in under that banner), Opera Colorado is rounding up a couple of scholars -- music historian Betsy Schwarm and CU Boulder professor of Jewish Studies Davide Stimilli -- to talk about three big generations of Czech artists around the turn of the century, artists like the aforementioned Dvořák, Franz Kafka and Hans Krása.
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"The goal for the evening is to combine a lot of different sources to give a richer experience of Czech history," says Rex Fuller, Opera Colorado's director of marketing. Which sounds a little dry, but the history there is pretty fascinating. For example, did you know that Krása wrote his most famous piece, a children's opera called Brundibár (maybe you've heard of it) in a concentration camp during World War II? Now you do.
And the presentation will be pretty interesting, too, examining live and recorded music, visual art and literature by incorporating lectures, slide shows and performances from the Opera Colorado Young Artists. And, of course, it's free. It happens tonight at the Tattered Cover LoDo at 7 p.m.
Worst case scenario: It's better than being transformed into a hideous insect.