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Karel BERMAN

(*14.4.1919, Jindřichův Hradec - ✝11.8.1995, Prague)

Czech opera singer - bass, opera director, pedagogue, translater of librettos

Czech bass singer, opera director, pedagogue, translater of liberttos. He studied singing at the Prague Conservatory with Egon Fuchs and Hilbert Vávra, direction with Ferdinand Pujman, conducting with Pavel Dědeček, and composition with Rudolf Karel and Viktor Ullmann. In 1943/44, he was deported to the Theresiendstadt Ghetto for the racial reasons. He survived the concentration camps in Osvetim, Kaufering and Allach near Dachau (1944–45). In 1946, graduated from the Conservatory and became a soloist and the director of the Opera in Opava. From 1948, he was engaged in Pilsen, and between 1953 and 1991 at the National Theatre in Prague. From 1961 to 1971 he taught at the Conservatory and from 1964 to 1987 at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. He had a sonour and agile bass voice and oustanding dramatic talent. His repertoire was based on the roles of Czech operas composed by B. Smetana (Kecal from The Bartered Bride, Bonifác from The Secret, Paloucký from The Kiss), by A. Dvořák (Water Sprite in Rusalka, Burgrave in Jakobin), by L. Janáček (Game Warden in The Cunning Little Vixen, Dikoj in Káťa Kabanová) and by B. Martinů (The Greek Passion). The role of Leporello from Mozart´s Don Giovanni was his must famous role. His other important roles included i.e. Filip II. in Verdi´s Don Carlos, Bartolo in Rossini´s Barber of Seville, Mefisto in Gounod´s Faust, Rocco in Beethoven´s Fidelio, Boris Godunov in Musorgski ´s Boris Godunov as well as other roles in opera composed by R. Wagner. He performed approximately 3500 stages. He became known also as a concert singer. He arranged several operatic librettos, in 1978 he wrote a libretto to Ivo Jirásek´s opera The Bear (1978) based on the short play by Chekhov.

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