Arts & Entertainment

Czech orchestra swaps Bach for shopping bags to survive Covid

Prague, May 18 (EFE).- The Bohemian Symphony Orchestra Prague — one of Czechia’s most prominent musical ensembles — has had to hone its business acumen by delving into the home delivery market to survive the pandemic, which shut concert halls’ doors and left Prague’s tourist sites deserted.

Founded by director Martin Sanda in 2000, the 70-strong orchestra undertakes roughly 250 concerts a year — many abroad — and has toured with the likes of Michael Bublé, José Carreras and Deep Purple.

“We should be well into a European tour of two months going through 60 concerts,” Sanda tells Efe, lamenting the change of plans caused by the continent-wide uncertainty amid persistently high infection rates in countries such as France, The Netherlands and Sweden.

Measures to restrain the spread of Covid continue to frustrate Czech arts managers, as restrictions impacting concert venues will not be eased before June or July.

“Covid had a huge impact. We had to cancel all concerts and activities,” says Sanda of the measures which have dragged out for over a year and that hamper the preparation of events.

The Bohemian Symphony Orchestra Prague performs classical music, but also provides harmonic support for other styles of music.

“We have mastered classical, metal and rock: we can do anything because it is all music and we can adapt to any form of it,” he says.

That is why the ensemble boasts collaborations with Vanessa Mae, Atlantis, Michael Bublé, José Carreras, Deep Purple, Sabaton, and Alice Cooper.

In the past year, collaborations with Ennio Morricone and Carl Orff were thwarted by the pandemic.

The musicians are paid 30-40 euros per concert in the Czech Republic, including recordings and chamber music.

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