Culture and media
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In the first half of the 19th century, a national musical tradition began to develop around Slovakia's impressive folk heritage. Romantic as well as modern Slovak music has drawn from both classical and traditional folk styles. Among romantic composers, the most important are the compositions of Ján Levoslav Bella, Viliam Figuš‑Bystrý who laid the foundations of the first Slovak opera, and those of Mikuláš Schneider‑Trnavský and Mikuláš Moyzes who had merit in lyric songs and ballads creation. Well‑known works from the 20th century include the symphonic compositions of Alexander Moyzes, and the operas of Eugen Suchoň (1st Slovak national opera "Krútňava" (The Whirlpool) and Ján Cikker.
Today, music is one of the most significant aspects of the Slovak culture. Some of the most renowned orchestras are the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra ("Slovenská filharmónia") and the Slovak State Philharmonic, Košice ("Štátna filharmónia"), the Symphonic Orchestra of Slovak Radio ("Symfonický orchester Slovenského rozhlasu"), and the Bohdan Warchal Slovak Chamber Orchestra ("Slovenský komorný orchester Bohdana Warchala").
Musical performances usually begin at 19:00 and whilst tickets can be bought an hour before the beginning, it is advisable to reserve tickets several days before at the ticket office of the respective orchestra. Tickets can be also reserved on‑line.
Traditional folk music
The most impressive ensembles performing traditional dance and music are the Slovak State Traditional Dance Company ("Slovenský ľudový umelecký kolektív" – SĽUK,) and Lúčnica – the Slovak National Folklore Ballet. Most towns have their own folk festivals with dances, local costumes and food. These tend to be held throughout the summer until the end of September. The biggest one takes place in Východná in July every year (more info also at www.nocka.sk/en).
The Music Centre Slovakia ("Hudobné centrum") provides information on classical and modern music. A list of various events all around Slovakia can be found at the website Podujatia (means 'Events' in Slovak). Information on concerts online ticket sale is possible via Ticketportal. If you prefer the club scene with live performances there are many options within different genres.
Cinemas ("kino") can be found in every town. Film clubs are popular and can be found in all university towns. In Bratislava, there are also multiplex cinemas in the Aupark, Eurovea and Polus shopping centres. In shopping centres in Banská Bystrica, Dunajská Streda, Košice, Nitra, Poprad, Prešov, Skalica, Trenčín, Trnava and Žilina you can find multiplex cinema, too. Most films bear the original soundtrack with subtitles; some films have Slovak dubbing (mostly films for children). Cinema programmes are published also on towns' websites (www.kamdomesta.sk) and in newspapers.
Slovak newspaper in English
The Slovak Spectator, an independent English language newspaper, is published every week. It includes information on politics, the economy, business, daily life and cultural events, as well as advertisements.
A news portal TheDaily.SK offers daily Slovak news in English for all foreigners living, working or just visiting Slovakia. There are many varieties of local newspapers and journals. You can also buy or subscribe to foreign newspapers and journals or buy them at newsstands.
Theatre, opera, ballet
The theatre network consists of 4 state funded professional theatres, 22 theatres under the competence of self‑governing regions and municipalities, more than 40 independent theatres established by private owners/legal entities and 4 minority language theatres in Bratislava, Banská Bystrica, Trnava, Nitra, Komárno, Zvolen, Martin, Žilina, Košice, Prešov, Spišská Nová Ves and Rožňava. The list of theatres with addresses can be found at the website of the Theatre Institute.
The oldest professional theatre is the Slovak National Theatre ("Slovenské národné divadlo" – SND) in Bratislava. It comprises drama, opera and ballet sections, each with a permanent professional company, with a central theatrical stockist providing sets for all productions. The SND is a repertory company with a season running from the beginning of September to the end of June. Performances are staged every day except Sunday (opera and ballet) and Monday (drama). In April 2007, a new building on the bank of the Danube River became the home of the SND in addition to the historic building.
Other state institutions are the State Theatre ("Štátne divadlo") in Košice, the State Opera and Ballet ("Štátna opera a balet") in Banská Bystrica and Nová scéna (New Stage) in Bratislava specialising in musical repertory).
Private theatre offering different types of performances is, for example, the Aréna Theatre in Bratislava. Theatre performances usually begin at 19:00 (at 18:00 on Sundays) and whilst tickets can be bought an hour before the beginning, it is advisable to reserve them several days before the performance at the ticket office of the chosen theatre or on‑line. There is also the possibility to buy a season ticket.
Traditional folk art
Folk art and crafts, which include woodcarving, fabric weaving, glass blowing and painting, pottery, ceramics production, blacksmithing, have a long tradition. The tradition of folk art and crafts has been handed down through the generations and is nowadays supported mainly by ÚĽUV – The Centre For Folk Art Production. The Centre sells traditional products but also organises exhibitions, artistic workshops "The ÚĽUV Craft school", both for youth and adults, some of which are officially accredited by the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic.
Slovakia became famous for Majolic pottery ("majolika") already in the 14th century (especially in the town of Modra). Modra's ceramic tradition was heavily influenced by the influx of Haban craftsman in the 16th century. The Habans, also known as Anabaptists, were a religious sect that arose during the Reformation. The pottery is characterised by gentle curves and bright colours, particularly blue and yellow. Contemporary Modra's Majolic factory is a direct descendant of this tradition. You can also order Majolic through the website Majolika R.
Examples of folk architecture, such as wooden churches and brightly painted houses, are to be found throughout the country. Interesting open‑air museums presenting folk architecture can be found in Martin (Museum of the Slovak Village – "Múzeum slovenskej dediny"), Bardejov Spa, Zuberec, Vychylovka in Nová Bystrica and Pribylina. If you are interested in "living museums" (folk architecture reservations), you should visit villages like Čičmany, Vlkolínec, Špania dolina, Ždiar, Podbiel or Sebechleby.
Wooden church architecture is unique, especially by its construction and interior design. All parts had to be made of wood and no nails were allowed. In the north‑east of the country you may find mostly churches of Greek Catholic or Orthodox denomination. Most of them date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. One of the oldest churches at the territory of Slovakia is the Roman‑Catholic wooden church in Hervartov near Bardejov dating back to the 15th century. Wooden churches and towers in the centre of the country were mostly of Roman‑Catholic and Evangelical denominations. More information: www.museum.sk, www.remesla.lawit.sk