Subrtova, Milada

Šubrtová Milada, Czech soprano, b. 1924

 

Biographical notes: (text without Czech accents)

She was born in Lotha. While working as a secretary in the civil service she studied voice with Zdenek Knittl. She was engaged early in 1946 by the “Grand Opera of 5 May” debuting as Giulietta. In 1948 she joined the Prague National Theatre, where she became an admired member of the company. Thanks to her all-round abilities she was the leading soprano there for more than 20 years. In 1954 Subrtova was awarded the Emmy Destinn and Karel Burian prize at the singing competition of the International Prague Spring Festival at which she performed arias including “Depuis le jour” from Charpentier’s Louise.  Her secure technique enabled her to interpret both light coloratura roles as well as dramatic parts. Her vast repertory included more than 80 roles such as Donna Anna, Fiordiligi, Pamina, Konstanze, Ännchen, Agathe, Elsa, Sieglinde, Gilda, Violetta, Trovatore-Leonora, Elisabetta, Abigail, Lady Macbeth, Santuzza, Cio-Cio-San, Musetta, Mimě, Tosca, Turandot, Micaëla, Marguerite, Louise, Tatyana, Lisa, and Glinka’s Lyudmila. She was an ideal interpreter of the leading soprano roles in the operas by Dvorak, Smetana and Janacek. The artist appeared in opera film and television productions (Dalibor and Rusalka), also making excellent radio recordings of roles from various operas in which she did not have the opportunity to perform in the theatre, among them in Orfeo ed Euridice, Iphigénie en Aulide, I Vespri Siciliani, Falstaff, I Pagliacci, Dvorak’s Armida and The Jacobin, Fibich’s The Bride of Messina and Foerster’s Eva. In Les Contes d’Hoffmann she appeared as Olympia as well as Giulietta and Antonia. She gave also performances in a number of operettas by Strauss, Lehár, Zeller, and in particular, Offenbach. Her concert repertoire included works from Bach to Britten and Honegger to Orff. Although Milada Subrotova gave a large number of performances abroad, she sang most frequently in Czechoslovakia, where she enjoyed exceptional popularity and the affection of her audiences.

 

As Lisa

 

Three of her magnificent roles in Czech operas

Hedvika                                 Krasava                                       Rusalka

 

Recordings: (without Czech accents)

Recital (Arias by Dvorak, Smetana, Ryba, Blodek, Foerster, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Offenbach, Charpentier, Verdi)

Supraphon

Dvorak - Armida (Jiracek 1956/Mraz, Otava, Soumar, Zidek, Horacek)

Multisonic

Dvorak - Rusalka (Chalabala 1961/Zidek, Haken, Ovcacikova, Mikova)

Supraphon

Smetana - The Brandenburgers in Bohemia (Tichy 1963/Kalas, Joran, Zidek, Haken, Fidlerova)

Supraphon

Smetana - The Devil’s Wall (Chalabala 1963/Bednar, Zidek, Domaninska, Mraz, Berman)

Supraphon

Orff - Trionfi (Smetacek 1961/Tomanek, Srubar)

Supraphon

 

As Violetta  (her favorite role)

 

As Donna Anna

Comment:

Milada Subrtova was one of the most important figures in Czech singing. From Czechoslovakia emerged a number of lirico spintos such as Drahomira Tikalova, Libuse Domaninska, Lucia Popp, Gabriela Benachkova and Eva Urbanova. In my opinion,  Subrtova has only been equalled by Tikalova and Popp. Because of the former Iron Curtain she never became widely acknoledged in the Western countries.

Subrtova’s voice is of an individual color and she sings with a marvellous flexibility and richness (she had, by the way, a range of three octaves). It is the feminine or at once girlish delicacy of sound, that has such a strong dramatic quality. Her interpretations are always deeply felt and moving.

The following three excerpts are a small selection of her superb recordings. She sings Amelia in Czech, but listen to the recitative! The integral recording of Rusalka sets a standard because of the glorious conducting by Zdenek Chalabala. Subrtova’s singing in Rusalka is unequalled.

 O moon high up in the deep sky in Czech (Title role in Rusalka / Dvorak / Supraphon 1962 / Z. Chalabala)

 

Milada Subrtova and Vaclav Jiracek with whom she recorded Dvorak’s “Armida” in 1956

 

Czech operas on records: (19th and 20th century)

Recordings

Conductor

Dvorak, Antonin (1841 - 1904)

King and Charcoal Burner

Supraphon

Chaloupka

Vanda

Supraphon

Dyk

The Cunning Peasant

Supraphon

Vajnar

Dimitrij

Supraphon

Albrecht

The Jacobin

Supraphon

Pinkas

The Devil and Kate

Supraphon  Cantus-Lin

Pinkas       Chalabala

Rusalka

Supraphon Supraphon Decca

Chalabala   Neumann  Mackerras

Armida

Multisonic Orfeo

Jiracek      Albrecht

Smetana, Bedrich (1824 - 1884)

The Brandenburgers in Bohemia

Supraphon

Tichy

The Bartered Bride

Supraphon  Supraphon BMG          EMI

Chalabala       Kosler      Krombholc (in German) Kempe (in German)

Dalibor

Supraphon Supraphon Praga        BMG

Kosler      Krombholc Krombholc        Krips (in German)

Libuse

Supraphon Supraphon       

Kosler        Dohnanyi       

The Two Widows

Supraphon Praga

Jilek        Krombholc

The Kiss

Supraphon

Vajnar

The Secret / + Viola (fragment)

Supraphon

Kosler

The Devil’s Wall

Supraphon

Chalabala

Janacek, Leos (1854 - 1928)

The Beginning of a Romance

Multisonic

Jilek

Jenufa

Supraphon Supraphon EMI       Decca        BIS

Jilek               Vogel             Gregor     Mackerras     Queler

Fate

Supraphon Orfeo

Jilek          Albrecht

The Excursions of Mr. Broucek

Supraphon Orfeo

Jilek          Keilberth (in German)

Sarka

Multisonic

Bakala

Kat’a Kabanova

Supraphon Supraphon Decca     Orfeo

Krombholc Mackerras Mackerras Cambreling

The Cunning Little Vixen

Supraphon Supraphon EMI

Gregor       Neumann         Rattle (in English)

The Makropulos Affair

Supraphon Decca

Gregor     Mackerras

From the House of the Dead

Supraphon Decca

Neumann  Mackerras

Foerster, Josef Bohuslav (1859 - 1951)

Eva

Supraphon

Vajnar

Blodek, Vilem (1834 - 1874)

In the Well

Supraphon

Stych

Fibich, Zdenek (1850 - 1900)

The Bride of Messina

Supraphon

Jilek

Sarka

Supraphon

Stych

The Fall of Arkona (Ouverture)

Supraphon

Valek

Hippodamia - (Stage Melodrama Trilogy)

Supraphon

Krombholc (Part 1), Jilek (Part 2 and 3)

Skroup, Frantisek Jan (1801 - 1862)

Dratenik - The Tinker (Ouverture) This piece is considered as the first “Czech” opera

Supraphon

Sejna

Haba, Alois (1893 - 1973)

Matka - Mother

Supraphon

Jirous

Martinu, Bohuslav (1890 - 1959)

Ariane (Ariadne)

Supraphon

Neumann

Alexandre bis

Supraphon

Jilek

The Voice of the Forest

Supraphon

Belohavlek

Julietta

Supraphon

Krombholc

The Greek Passion

Supraphon

Mackerras

Les Jeux de Marie (The Miracle of Our Lady)

Supraphon

Belohavlek

The Comedy on the Bridge

Supraphon

Jilek

Les Trois Souhaits (The Three Wishes)

Supraphon

Nosek

The Marriage

Supraphon

Nosek