The Music of the Municipal House
Turning the corner of Prague’s Powder Tower, I could not help but be drawn to the throngs of people pushing their way through the doors of the Art Nouveau building on the corner. Intrigued by both the building and the determination of the entrants, I asked around for the reason behind all the commotion. It turns out that in just a few hours The Four Seasons concert was being performed in the Municipal House.
Ahh, the Municipal House. Finally. I had been looking for you. Already having been to Prague five years earlier, I had been looking to escape many of the typical tourist attractions I had seen on my previous visit and ingrain myself more in the culture and experiences I missed the first time around. While waiting in line two hours for the Saturday night concert along with the incalculable number of people out front was not appealing, Monday night’s The Best of the Classics after all the weekend visitors had dispersed was quite attractive.
Squeezing by the same day ticket buyers (with minimal dirty looks), Max and I were able to purchase advance tickets on the other side of the lobby. The inside of the building was exquisitely decorated and confirmed our need to experience the remainder of the interior, specifically Smetana Hall, Prague’s largest concert hall.
Our excitement leading up to the concert was unparalleled. Stumbling upon the opportunity to hear a chamber orchestra perform the most well-known composers in a famous European concert hall seemed surreal. At one point I found myself tempering my expectations. Was I getting ahead of myself? Was this performance going to disappoint? Well, I can say with certainty that it did not. Sitting in Smetana Hall listening to musicians from the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic play Mozart, Vivaldi, Brahms, Bach and Strauss was dubbed by both Max and I as our favorite experience of our trip. Favorite experience means that it beat out the helicopter ride in Munich and the wine festival in Budapest. Favorite experience means that it was unlike anything else we did in Europe. Favorite experience also means that we bought the souvenir CD on the way out.
Sitting inside this national heritage building and listening to the high quality of the chamber orchestra transported us to a different era. We were in awe of the atmosphere, of the works of art that surrounded us and of the illustrious visitors who had sat in the seats before us.
The music at the Municipal House was the perfect way to escape the hordes of tourists that descend on Prague. The experience was extraordinary, yet still intimate and unique. The Monday night performance was far from full and we left feeling that the orchestra was playing just for us.
The Municipal House / náměstí Republiky 5, 111 21 Prague 1, Czech Republic
Tickets to the Municipal House are offered in four different price brackets and range from 33 EUR to 55 EUR. A range of concerts are offered throughout the week, but if you cannot make it to a concert, the Municipal House is opened for guided tours seven days a week.