|Jan Ludevit Lukes was a Czech tenor, born on November 22nd 1824 at Usti nad Orlici [Wildenschwerdt in Mahren]. Jan was from a poor family and his original name was Jan Evangelista Lukesle. After studying at the gymnasium in Brno, he went to Vienna as an apprentice shoemaker. But his love for singing was stronger and he got enrolled at the Akademie der Tonkunst, where he also studied Italian besides singing. After his studies and stints in different country theatres, Jan Ludevit Lukes (he changed his middle name 'Evangelista' to 'Ludevit') became in 1867 a member of the Opera in Prague, where the conductor was Bedrich Smetana. Smetana engaged him for such roles as Dalibor, Jenik and Warneman in his new opera Branibori v Cechach (The Brandenburger in Bohmen). He was also involved in establishing the well known Czech choir 'Prazsky Hlahol' and was the one, who sang for the first time the Czech National Anthem on the stage of that theater. His voice was warm, soft and had a beautiful color. He died on Februray 24th 1906 in Prague and was burried at the cemetery in Usti nad Orlici.|
I wish to thank Lynn Samohel for the picture.