Czech artists boost public morale during quarantine period

Photo: ČTK/René Fluger

Czech artists and people from the cultural sphere have been looking for ways to boost public morale in the face of the coronavirus epidemic. Those artists who saw their concerts cancelled are streaming them from their homes, actors have recorded video spots broadcast on television telling people not to lose faith, while galleries are offering viewings of their exhibitions online to the millions stuck at home for an unspecified period of time.

Jaroslav Uhlíř, Zdeněk Svěrák, photo: ČTK/René Fluger

The famous Czech actor and scriptwriter Zdeněk Svěrák and musician Jaroslav Uhlíř performed the upbeat Czech song "Není nutno" live to the nation on radio and television at midday on Wednesday in a show of gratitude to those fighting the coronavirus epidemic on the front lines and the enormous wave of solidarity among people triggered by the crisis.

Although singers and actors have been hard hit by the quarantine and many smaller theatres fear for their future, people from the cultural world have rallied to help, recoding video slots with an encouraging message to the public, enlisting as volunteers to help the elderly or sewing masks for fellow citizens. Violin virtuoso Pavel Sporcl whose concerts were cancelled and singer Lenka Dusilova who was to launch as new CD both went online for their fans, streaming their concerts from their living rooms for free.

The Czech Philharmonic will play a charity concert for four Prague and Brno hospitals who are most heavily engaged in fighting the coronavirus epidemic which will be broadcast live on Czech television and streamed on social networks to viewers in the Czech Republic and abroad this Saturday.

Rock band Zrní streaming their concert in Lucerna Music Bar, photo: ČTK/Vít Šimánek
The performance will take place at Prague’s Rudolfinum concert hall under strict hygiene conditions. The need to perform with facemasks meant selecting compositions without wind instruments, players will be positioned at a safe distance from each other and the piano keyboard will be disinfected after each performance. People will be able to donate money to the hospitals via a bank account and DMS messages.

The National Gallery is putting its exhibitions online, as is the DOX gallery in Prague, the Moravian Gallery in Brno and a number of others. The One World documentary film festival on human rights, which was interrupted by the quarantine, put the remainder of its films online for the public, the Vaclav Havel Library also scrapped planned meetings and debates, replacing them with online programmes. The actors from the theatre Goose on a String are reading passages from Decameron on their Facebook and Prague’s Vinohrady Theatre has a “talk show” with two actors online.

And from the sphere of cinematography - a unique Czech-made documentary in the pipeline aims to capture how people here and around the world are spending their time in quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic. Czech filmmakers Martin Müller and David Laňka said the idea was inspired by people’s generous and selfless response to the crisis – particularly by the moving video from Italy where people went out onto their balconies and sang. The completed documentary will stream for free online upon completion.