Outdoor overtures

The Prague Post

The best place to hear music in Prague this summer is outdoors

Prague’s grand concert halls and theaters may be shuttered for the summer, but the warm weather and daylight hours that linger past 9 p.m. give concert organizers a chance to get creative outdoors. And one of the nicest ways to spend a summer evening in Prague is in one of the charming settings where the concerts are held.

Prague Castle has a new concert series this summer. “We wanted to offer something for both tourists and locals,” says Renata Holatová, cultural marketing manager for the castle. “We wanted to do something innovative that would attract people already visiting the castle, as well as give citizens a reason to come.”

The Summer of Music at Prague Castle series will be held Sundays at 4 p.m. starting July 16. The performances will be in the castle’s southern gardens, either in the Garden on the Ramparts or the Hartig Garden. Castle organizers have assembled quite an eclectic lineup, from a big band orchestra to a quartet that plays both Paganini and the Beatles to a children’s choir. This is something new for Prague Castle, where open-air concerts more typically run to the military orchestra performances given every Saturday at 10 a.m., free of charge, in the Garden on the Ramparts.

Closer to nature, the Botanical Garden is running a “Sunday Walks with Music” series every Sunday through September. A variety of groups will play classical music amid the more than 5,000 plants in the Outdoor Exhibit area. The concerts are free, included in the price of admission to the Botanical Garden.

Be sure to ask where the music will be played; On a recent visit, the concert was slated for the St. Clara Vineyard but was actually held near the entrance to the gardens. A sculpture show is currently on exhibit in that area, and five chairs were arranged under a tree for the musicians. The audience was scattered in groups among the sculptures, usually huddled in whatever shade they could find. Some concerts are scheduled for Fata Morgana, the garden’s tropical greenhouse, which is about 200 meters (656 feet) from the Outdoor Exhibit area.

A day could easily be made out of visiting the area. Nearby Troja Chateau is also hosting concerts in its gardens Sundays at 2 p.m. The chateau is the first Baroque summer palace built in Prague, and its French-styled gardens are beautifully maintained. While there is an admission fee to enter the chateau, a stroll through the gardens is free, which means the concerts are as well.

Another great place to hear music throughout July is Prague Castle’s Ledebour Gardens. The concert ticket price includes admission to the gardens — and if you haven’t seen them yet, they’re well worth a visit. Sculptures, staircases, terraces, fountains and an amazing view of Malá Strana make this perhaps the most beautiful outdoor setting for music in the city.

Most venues offer alternative indoor locations if the weather proves to be unfavorable, so be sure to visit even if clouds are gathering. No matter what your musical tastes, you’ll find something in the air to enjoy this summer.