Thursday, December 11, 2008

Potstickers, Pilsener Urquell and Puccini

My onetime favorite restaurant in Shanghai was a State Owned Enterprise, Yu You (越友), which roughly translates to "Yu [Shaoxing] Opera Friends." It actually started life as a gathering place for fans and performers of this musical form, and I could imagine the strains of "Dream of Red Mansions" filling the air in the main dining room, which was alway full of good cheer due in part to the tall bottles of Shanghai Beer which seemed to adorn every table. Yu You has been gone for years, progress and profit having replaced it with an upscale Japanese restaurant called Ambrosia. According to an article in The Prague Post by Wendy Leung, however, the combination of Chinese food, opera (both Western and Chinese) and beer lives on in the Czech Rebublic at a little restaurant in Vinohrady called "Dobrý den."
Have you ever been at a pub and thought, “If only I could nosh on Chinese food and listen to live opera while enjoying my beer?” Well, someone has. The Dobrý den, a little neighborhood Chinese restaurant in Vinohrady, launched its first “opera pub” night in late November, and will host another Jan. 12.Restaurateur Patty Zhu was an opera singer for four years in Beijing and Hong Kong, before finding her way into the import business in Prague and eventually opening Dobrý den last year. The restaurant soon became a hangout for professional Czech singers in the area, and the idea of pooling their talents germinated.While a pianist accompanies on a portable electric keyboard, Zhu and her friends belt out French, Italian and Chinese opera favorites in front of a jam-packed dining room, while guests drink beer and snack on tapas-style Chinese plates.If you’re looking for a surreal evening, you’ll find one here. For more information, check
According to Dobrý den's website, the musical offerings at the first "opera pub night" was:

Mozart: duet Don Giovanni
Puccini : Kalaf
Samson and Dalila
G. Verdi: Libiano
Dvorak: Rusalka
Dvorak: Princ
Why are the roses red
Weber: Memory (Cats)
Con te partino (Bruschelli)

There's no mention of what "tapas" were served, but the restaurant's website lists the lunch menu. Did you know Sweet and Sour Pork is "Vepřové ve sladkokyselé omáčce" in Czech?

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