Final Word from Friday, February 13, 2004





Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky sang to a full house at Prague's Municipal Building last night in one of the main cultural events of the year. The dashing Siberian, with long silver hair and a powerful presence, sang Russian arias that are seldom heard in Prague. Marina Domashenko, a Russian mezzo-soprano, nearly stole the show with a playful tune from Rimsky-Korsakov's "Snow Maiden," but Hvorostovsky brought down the house with two unaccompanied encores, one of which was a moving Russian folk song. The concert was a reminder of Prague's prominent place as a musical center. It might sound like free advertising, but without Citibank and other commercial sponsors, this event and scores of others like it wouldn't be possible. For better or for worse, the sponsors - mostly foreign companies - are keeping Prague on the cultural map.

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