Reminiscences on Jaroslav Gleich|
Tenor Jaroslav Gleich was born 19 March 1900. After he finished his studies in 1922 (pharmaceutical),
he started to study singing with Hilbert Vavra and later with Manlio Bavagnoli in Milan. He was accepted to
Pragues Conservatory and graduated in 1928, in the class of Egon Fuchs. He made his debut at the National
Theatre in Prague in 1927 and soon became member of that company. His biggest achievements will be
remembered with roles as Vasek (Bartered Bride, where he excceled not only with perfect singing technique,
with different conception of the role of Vasek, stuttering village boy), then as Alfredo (La Traviata), Don
Carlo, Duke (Rigoletto), Rodolfo (La Bohème), Cavaradossi (Tosca), Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly),
Lohengrin, Tamino, Jaquino, Hoffmann (Les Contes d'Hoffmann), Oberon etc. Somehow, maybe because he was
studying in Italy, he preferred more Italian opera repertoire. But he was nevertheless excellent in roles from
Czech operas such as Jenik, Junos, Lukas, Jiri, Steva, Kudrjas. Jaroslav Gleich was not only a natural first
but also a good actor. On March 16th 1938, he sang in the premiere of Martinu's "Julietta" the role of Michel
with Otta Horakova in the title role. That performance was accepted by a wide public as the best
new contemporary opera performance ever in the National
Theatre. He was a member of National Theatre in Prague till 1962. On March 11th. 1966, Jaroslav Gleich became
'Artist of the People', one of the highest titles, one can get in the Czech Republic. When he retired, he was
concentrating on helping and teaching young aspiring singers to start their careers. He died in Prague on September 28th 1976.
(As he always uses to say to some of us, his pupils, not only to me .... 'Hopeless, but improving fast'... Despite
the fact, he was getting older, he was always there, always where we needed him to be, with his soothing talk,
his humor before our school performances. His motto was ... 'what is the problem? I prepared you well,
there is nothing what can go wrong, except your voice, and you have it, or not?'.... And he was laughing.
By then we lost most of our fear).