Jarmila Novotná The Famous Czech Soprano, Was Born 100 Years Ago

9-10 2007 Kultura English
obálka čísla

(23. 9. 1907 Praha - 9. 2. 1994 New York)

Jarmila Novotna showed great promise at a very young age. At 16 she was invited to sing for another opera star - Ema Destin- who gave her a few lessons. Later she studied with Jan H. Vavra. A age 18 she sang the part of “Marenka” as a guest artist in Smetana’s opera “The Bartered Bride” at the National Theater in Prague. In 1926 she was engaged as a ‘regular” soloist.

And soon she sang other roles in major European opera houses including Warsaw, Verona, Berlin, Vienna and Milano at La Scala. In 1931 she was married to Jiri Daubek with whom she had two children. During the 1930’s she had to flee from the Nazis several times- from Berlin in 1933, from Vienna in 1938 and finally from Prague in 1939. She settled in New York where she was engaged by the Metropolitan Opera. Here she sang in most major operas and lived and worked for 16 years. During the war she took part in various activities promoting Czechoslovak independence. Jarmila Novotna and Jan Masaryk produced an LP record of Czech and Slovak folksongs entitled “Songs of Lidice”. After the war she returned to the National Theater in Prague for several performances in 1946 - 1947. After the communist takeover in 1948, she left her country of birth once again for Austria and eventually returned to New York and the Metropolitan. She decided to end her singing career after 30 operatic seasons. Thereafter she spent many years in Austria and the United States. She was allowed to visit Czechoslovakia after 1983.

Jarmila Novotna also appeared in several films (e.g. Frasquita, The Last Waltz, The Great Caruso, etc.) The Society of Jarmila Novotna re-opened a museum bearing her name located near Beroun.

There is an exhibition honoring the centennial of her birth in the foyer of the National Theater in Prague. It will be open to the public until the end of 2007.

Prazska informacni sluzba
Translated by Marie Dolanska

Vydavatelem Českého dialogu je Mezinárodní český klub

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