Jarmila Novotná was a Czech opera singer who was also known in America as the leading soprano for the Metropolitan Opera from 1940 to 1956, and a movie star. Her voice is powerful yet graceful and when she sings, the presence in her voice sounds like she really feels the music… It is warm and melodic.
At her first performance at the Prague Opera House, she was an immediate hit playing only six days later in Verdi’s La Traviata as Violetta. She then went on to play even more major roles in classic operas like Madame Butterfly and La Boheme. She sang for and met the first Czech president, Vaclav Havel, at the beautiful Municipal House where she continued to sing until she moved to Berlin.
In Germany, she played many German classics before she was forced to leave by the Nazi regime. Her career progressed as she moved about Europe, performing a few seasons in Vienna.
After coming to America and having a full career singing at the Met, the silver screen took one look at her and, just like that, she became one of the most famous singing actresses of that time, playing leading roles in films alongside names like Montgomery Clift in The Search and Mario Lanza in The Great Caruso. She also performed in Sherlock Holmes on Broadway.
Altogether this is an interesting Czech woman who had amazing talent and irresistible charm, she was adored by almost all nationalities having played not only in American theaters, television shows and films, but also in roles across the entire world.
Isn’t she just grand?
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