The Pingtung festival to celebrate Czech arts and culture

Activities celebrating Czech music, literature and cinema will be held in Pingtung next week as part of the “Czech in Pingtung” festival, the first major event organized by a foreign institute in Taiwan.

In cooperation with the Pingtung County Government, the Czech Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei will hold the festival from Wednesday to Sunday next week, sharing the arts and culture of the Czech Republic with people in southern Taiwan.

The week will begin with a virtual university workshop with officials from the Czech office and Taiwanese scientists from the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, followed by a meeting with students from the Pingtung National University of Science and Technology on 2 December, the Pingtung County Government said.

Photo courtesy of Pingtung County Government via CNA

A free classical concert by the Taipei Chamber Players will be held at the Pingtung Performing Arts Center next Friday, featuring music from the operas of pioneering 19th-century Czech composer Bedrich Smetana.

On Saturday next week, the Pingtung County Library plans to inaugurate its Czech Books Zone, which will feature works by renowned Czech writers including Milan Kundera and Franz Kafka.

On the same day, the library will host a book release for Hua Shu Chi (花束 集, “bouquet”), a Chinese translation of Kytice, a collection of ballads by Czech folklorist and poet Karel Jaromir Erben, which have been translated by Lin Shih -hui (林 蒔 慧), Sia Peilun (夏沛倫), Lu Chi-hung (呂齊弘) and Chen Yu-ju (陳 宥 汝).

That evening, the Czech-language film Charlatan 2020, loosely based on the life of Jan Mikolasek, an early 20th-century herbal healer who was imprisoned by the Communist regime of Czechoslovakia, is to be screened on a outdoor place in the library.

The Pingtung County government, in a statement released on Monday, thanked the office for “bringing the Czech Republic to Pingtung”, praising it for giving locals the chance to enjoy Czech culture without having to travel to abroad.

He said that despite COVID-19’s reduction in economic, business and travel activity around the world, “beautiful things like arts and culture are not limited by time and space.”

In March, Patrick Rumlar, head of the Czech Economic and Cultural Office, visited Pingtung and was impressed with the facilities there, including the Performing Arts Center, which houses the third largest pipe organ from Taiwan, the statement said.

Rumlar also praised the award-winning Pingtung Civic Park, also known as HEITO 1909, a 20-hectare urban park carved out of the ruins of a Taiwan Sugar Corp factory, and the VIP Zone, a project of urban renewal in a former military village, It said.

Rumlar was eager to visit Pingtung again as soon as he learned of the Taipei Chamber Players concert, which inspired the five-day “Czech in Pingtung” festival, the statement said.

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