Reminiscences on Jaroslav Gleich|
Tenor Jaroslav Gleich was born on March 19th, 1900. After he finished his pharmaceutical studies in 1922,
he started to study singing with Hilbert Vavra and later with Manlio Bavagnoli in Milan. He was accepted to
the Prague conservatory and graduated in 1928, in the class of Egon Fuchs. He made his debut at the National
Theatre of Prague in 1927 and soon became a member of that company. What is remembered as his biggest achievements are roles
such as Vašek (in Prodaná nevěsta, where he excelled not only with perfect singing technique,
but also with a different conception of the role of the stuttering village boy), Alfredo, Don Carlo, Duca, Rodolfo,
Cavaradossi, Pinkerton, Lohengrin, Tamino, Jaquino, Hoffmann, Oberon etc. Somehow, maybe because he had been
studying in Italy, he preferred the Italian operatic repertoire. But he was nevertheless excellent in Czech roles
such as Jeník, Junoš in Braniboři v Čechách, Lukáš in
Hubička, Jiří in Jakobín, Števa, Kudrjáš in
Káťa Kabanová. Jaroslav Gleich was not only a natural first class tenor,
but also a good actor. On March 16th, 1938, he sang the role of Michel in the premiere of Martin&uring's Julietta
with Ota Horáková in the title role. That performance was hailed by a wide public as the best
contemporary opera performance ever at the National Theatre in Prague. He was a member of National Theatre till 1962. On
March 11th, 1966, Jaroslav Gleich became 'Artist of the People', one of the highest titles one could get in the ČSSR.
When he retired, he concentrated on helping and teaching young aspiring singers to start their careers. He died in Prague on
September 28th, 1976.
(As he always used to say to some of us pupils, not only to me: "Hopeless, but improving fast." Despite
the fact that he was getting older, he was always there, always where we needed him to be, with his soothing talk,
his humor before our school performances. His was like "What is the problem? I prepared you well,
there is nothing that can go wrong, except your voice, and you have it, or not?" And he was laughing.
By then we lost most of our fear.)