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Přemysl Charvát


Přemysl Charvát was a graduate of the Prague Academy of Music and Drama. Even as a student in 1952 he was accepted as repétiteur in the National Theatre. However, he was soon promoted to conductor and he has held the post of conductor in this theatre until his death. He had more than 2000 performances to his credit and he has made musical arrangements of nearly 150 musical dramas in the different styles of all periods. W. A. Mozart especially has pride of place in his repertory. Charvát not only conducted Mozart’s great works but also performed his recitatives. His production of the opera Così fan tutte in the 1970s was presented in a number of important opera houses all over Europe. A great deal of Charvát’s artistic work has been concerned with Czech opera production: all Smetana’s operas, then works especially by Dvořák, Fibich, Janáček, and Martinů and a variety of contemporary operas. He was especially fond of the operas of Richard Wagner (he directed Wagner’s first opera Die Feen in Bayreuth) and Italian opera. Between 1980 and 1990 he was the head of the Prague Conservatory orchestra with which he toured many European countries. He had been guest conductor of all the Czech symphony orchestras and in most Czech opera houses. As a pianist he played at concerts as a soloist, accompanist and chamber-orchestra player. He was also an excellent pedagogue. He has translated many opera librettos: his latest works include for example Britten’s The Flood and Turning of the Screw, one-act operas by P. M. Davies for Kolowrat Theatre, Salieri’s Catilina, Boito’s Mephistopheles, Halevy’s The Jewess, Krapp’s Last Tape by Mihalovici, Monzetuma (La Conquista) by L. Ferrero and so forth. In Kolowrat Theatre he, as a conductor, specialised on presentation of contemporary composers, for example Eight Songs for a Mad King, Miss Donnithorne’s Maggot and The Medium by P. M. Davies, Nyman’s The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, Milhaud’s Le pauvre matelot, comic opera Alexander Bis by B. Martinů and T. Johnson’s The Four note Opera.