On 10 June 2022, Supraphon will release the complete studio recordings made between 1939 and 1950 by the celebrated Czech soprano Marie Podvalová, a long-time soloist of Prague’s National Theatre Opera. The double album marks the 30th anniversary of the diva’s death.
Marie Podvalová lived through all the significant periods of 20th-century Czech history. Born in Austria-Hungary, she grew up in Czechoslovakia, matured as an artist in the Nazi-occupied Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, experienced the apex of her career in the Communist-ruled Czechoslovakia, and towards the end of her life witnessed the Velvet Revolution. Regrettably, the totalitarian Nazi and Communist regimes did not allow her to travel freely and pursue an artistic career on an international scale.
“Memories of the soprano Marie Podvalová resonate very powerfully to this day in the minds of older generations of visitors to the National Theatre. Her career came to a conclusion in 1973, and the numbers of those who remember her live performances are rapidly dwindling. All that one can do is bear truthful witness to the times and the society that had a fundamental influence on shaping the personality of this legendary singer,” said Miloš Guth, Podvalová’s distant relative, who is responsible for the digital reconstruction of her archival recordings and owing to whom decades later we can listen to the magnificent voice of one of the greatest Czech singers.
Supraphon is for the first time releasing the complete studio recordings Marie Podvalová made between 1939 and 1950. She dazzled in the part of Bedřich Smetana’s Libuše, which she created in 1938 under the guidance of the conductor Václav Talich, as well as in the roles of Milada in Dalibor and Anežka in Two Widows. She also appeared in Dvořák operas, performing to acclaim the title character in Armida, the Foreign Princess in Rusalka and Julie in The Jacobin, and in Janáček works, primarily excelling as Kostelnička in Jenůfa. The present double album includes three songs from the collection Věnec ze zpěvů vlasteneckých (A Garland of Patriotic Songs, 1835–1844), which she performs accompanied on the piano by the composer J. B. Foerster. Moreover, it contains Marie Podvalová’s final, previously unreleased, studio recording, with the soprano singing Beatrice in a scene from Zdeněk Fibich’s opera The Bride of Messina. The album also captures the voices of Jan Konstantin, Jindřich Blažíček, Marta Krásová, Ivo Žídek, Jaroslav Gleich, Zdeněk Otava, Štěpánka Jelínková, Jaroslav Jaroš, Josef Otakar Masák, Maria Tauberová, Luděk Mandaus, Stanislav Muž, and other singers. The Prague Symphony Orchestra and the National Theatre Orchestra are conducted by Rudolf Vašata, Zdeněk Chalabala, Jaroslav Krombholc, František Škvor, Zdeněk Folprecht, Otakar Jeremiáš and Karel Nedbal.
Supraphon will release Marie Podvalová’s complete studio recordings on Friday 10 June 2022 on two CDs accompanied by an exquisite booklet featuring numerous period photographs, some of which have never been published previously. The double album will also be available for download and on streaming platforms.