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Vilém Zítek

(1890—1956)


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(b Prague, 9 Sept 1890; d Prague, 11 Aug 1956). Czech bass. He was apprenticed and worked as a mechanic; at 18 he joined a choral society, then entered František Pivoda's School of Singing as a pupil of Alois Vávra (1909–11). In 1912 he joined the Prague National Theatre, at first in small parts; he also performed in plays and ballets. In the 1920s and 30s he was the company's leading member and was given many opportunities by Otakar Ostrčil, then head of opera, with whom Zítek maintained a close friendship and who greatly valued him as an artist. Zítek studied with Giovanni Binetti in Milan in 1925 and then took short engagements in Turin, Copenhagen, Milan, Stockholm, Paris, Berlin, Florence, Yugoslavia and the USSR. He was the first Czech singer to be made National Artist (1946); his career was cut short by a heart attack in 1947.

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From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.


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