The Prague Spring International Music Festival edition 2015 will be epic, because the festival celebrates its 70th anniversary. The event will open May 12, 2015, with Má vlast (My Country) set of symphonic poems, by Bedřich Smetana, at the Smetana Hall of the Municipal House. The festival lasts for almost a month, ending on June 6.
Several events will follow, beginning with the Prague Spring International Music Competition on May 13, the flute finals, at the Talich Philharmonia, and the clarinet finals the next day at Prague Philharmonia.
An extraordinary concert featuring the St. Petersburg Philharmonic conducted by Jurij Těmirkanov will take place on May 15, at the Municipal House. In the programme: Dmitrij Šostakovič's Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor Op. 77 and Symphony No. 5 in D minor Op. 47. There are premium tickets for this event, available online at the Prague Spring International Music Festival official website. Another concert featuring the St. Petersburg Philharmonic will take place the next day, at the same location, this time presenting Dmitrij Šostakovič's Symphony No. 7 in C major Op. 60 “Leningrad.”
At the Prague Spring Debut, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra will present Rhapsodic Variations by Klement Slavický; Petr Iljič Čajkovskij's Symphony No. 4 in F minor Op. 36 and the Oboe Concerto Op. 26 by Martin Hybler. The orchestra will be conducted by Marek Šedivý. At oboe, Johannes Grosso, winner of the 2014 Prague Spring International Music Competition.
The Czech Philharmonic will perform for the Concert of the Friends of Prague Spring at the Municipal House on May 22, 2015: Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 3 in D minor. The complete programme of the festival can be downloaded as PDF here.
Other venues hosting concerts during the festival include the Prague Academy of Music, church of St Simon and St Jude, the Rudolfinum, the CNB Hall, the Capitular Hall at the Grand Priory Palace, the Imperial Hall of the Lobkowicz Palace (Prague Castle), the Tuscany Palace, the St Agnes’ convent, the National Theatre, The State Opera, the Old Town Square, the Church of St Luke, the Slavin cemetery, the National House of Vinohrady, and the Old Town Hall, Brožík Hall.
There are special offers for tourists who visit Prague for the festival: 50% discount on train fare on a Czech Railways (České dráhy) train, provided on request (Vlak + Pražské jaro) at any Czech Railways (České dráhy) ticket office or from the train conductor (train guard). The discount applies to any round-trip ticket from any station in the Czech Republic to Prague with the first date of validity on any day between 8 May and 3 June 2015. Discounted tickets can be purchased beginning on 15 March 2015.
Special discounts are also available at your Mamaison hotels in Prague, Mamaison Hotel Riverside and Mamaison Residence Belgicka. Check our special offer, and choose the package that is most convenient for you. We recommend the Lengthy Affair for extended stays at Mamaison Residence Belgicka.
There are many interesting activities in Prague, besides the festival: for instance, you could visit the House of the Black Madonna on Ovocný trh at 569/19. This was the first ever Cubist building erected in Prague, and it is still one of the most celebrated landmarks of the city. Step inside the Grand Café Orient at the first floor, not only to dine, but to immerse yourself in the retro atmosphere created by the original, authentic Cubist interior, one of its kind in the world. To tame your thirst for knowledge, enter the Museum of Czech Cubism, housed inside the same building, to see why Cubism was a way of life for the locals, and to admire outstanding paintings, sculptures, and commercial art.
An extended stay is also an opportunity to explore the lands beyond the city gates of Prague. One possible destination is the romantic Nelahozeves Castle, less than 45 minutes drive from Mamaison Hotel Riverside, or Mamaison Residence Belgicka, towards Nelahozeves, via E55. The countryside makes this beautiful Renaissance landmark a favorite with tourists and local residents alike, but beyond architecture and natural beauty surrounding the palatial edifice, you will discover a world of art and culture inside, curated in the permanent exhibition of the museum, Private Spaces: A Noble Family at Home, which illustrates in extensive detail how an influential noble family lived in the 19th century. A beautiful destination every season, the Nelahozeves Castle shines best the light of spring, when nature comes through with the shiniest greens, and the Spring Pottery Market brings you authentic artisan creations from the region, the perfect souvenirs to remind you of fairy-tale like Prague.
Souvenirs have insinuated themselves among the fruit and vegetables stalls at Havelská Market too, another attraction worthy of attention if you have an extended weekend. This is where the locals like to shop, despite being a favorite of one too many tourists who come here to hunt for souvenirs, or to taste local produce.
Finally, to finish your weekend in style, the Clementinum is an absolute must-see. Once, this was the third largest Jesuit college in the world. Today, its Baroque Library Hall housing the Czech National Library counts among the wonders of Prague. If you believe in legends, God Himself “is in one of the letters of one of the pages of one of the four hundred thousand books of Clementinum.” To visit the famous Astronomical Tower of the Clementinum complex, purchase a tour and concert package, which allows you to attend a concert in the Mirror Chapel. The tours starts one hour before the concert and lasts 50 minutes.
Mihaela Lica-Butler is travel writer and travel public relations consultant by profession, lover of cultures and cuisine. She has built a fun career while chiming in on many topics, from relating the trials and tribulations of the people of Kosovo, to experiencing, first hand, the heroics of the Romanian soldiers serving for the UN. But she thrives in conveying her love for travel and places in written word, and she is happy to be a constant contributor for some of the world's best travel sites.