Oldřich Kovář

21 February 1907 Prague – 5 April 1967 Prague

Oldřich Kovář sings Dráteník: V tej zemi len miluškej
In RA format

Oldřich Kovář was a typesetter, and he started to sing in a typesetter choir in the late 1920s, which led, a few years later, to his participation in the popular male vocal ensemble Setleři (which existed, with varying members of course, from 1930 to 1986, no less!). They sang pop music, they appeared in films, and even on the operetta stage. Kovář was a chorister at the Švanda Theater in Smichov (a suburb of Prague) at the same time, from 1930 on, and took private voice lessons in Prague and Vienna (with Alfred Piccaver and Hans Duhan, among others). Smichov was also where Kovář made his solo debut as a classical tenor at an open-air performance in 1934; from 1935 to 1937, he was a soloist at the Švanda Theater, then briefly at the Tyl Theater (another Prague operetta stage). He participated in no less than 22 films in the short period from 1932 to 1940, and was also one of the pioneers of Czech film dubbing.

In 1938, conductor Václav Talich hired him for the Prague National Theater; Kovář immediately quit pop music, and soon also the movies. He would stay at the National Theater until his 1967 death; although he sang the occasional main role (Števa Burja, Alfredo), he was essentially a comprimario, and his most famous role by far was Vašek in Prodaná nevěsta.

Reference 1, reference 2

I wish to thank Vladimir Efimenko for the picture and recording.

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