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Beno Blachut (1913 - 1985)

Beno Blachut wasa born into an impoverished mining family and obtained his initial musical training through singing from an early age at his local church. When he was fourteen he began working in an iron foundry, but later joined the chorus of the opera company of Ostrava-Vítkovice. As a result of this experience, in 1935 he gained a place at the Prague Conservatory, where he studied with Luis Kadeřábek for four years. His operatic début came in 1939 with Jeník/The Bartered Bride at the Olomouc Opera. Here he learnt eighteen parts, including Lača/Jenůfa and the Prince/Rusalka, under the company’s musical director Karel Nedbal.

In 1941 Blachut joined the Czech National Opera, based at the Prague National Theatre, once again making his début as Jeník. Gradually he extended his repertoire, moving from lyric parts to more dramatic rôles, notably in the operas of Smetana, Dvořák and Janáček. He took the title part in the first performance (by Czech Radio in 1942) of František Škroup’s Columbus, composed in 1855; and fully established himself as the Czech National Opera’s leading tenor in 1945 with his interpretation of another title part, Smetana’s Dalibor.




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