While the biannual Ostrava Days in the Czech Republic features, primarily, a wide array of post-1950 solo and small ensemble pieces, it is, at its heart, a symphonic endeavor--founded and curated by Czech composer/conductor Petr Kotik. Over the course of nine expansive nights in August, running this year from the 21st to the 29th, the festival hosted three different orchestras, and all three together on the first night. The Ostrava-based Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra and resident ensemble Ostravská Banda did plenty of heavy lifting over the course of the fest, with the Miners Band from Stonava (a brass group from that nearby town in coal-mining Moravia) joining them on opening night.
French opera, theater and film director Patrice Chéreau has died of lung cancer, aged 68. One of the most revered, one might even say iconic directors of his era, Chéreau may have finally been defeated by Napoleon--as in his doomed, but repeated efforts to make a movie about the dictator starring Al Pacino--but that experience clearly never put him off working with outsize characters, as opera remained a passion.