Gabriela Benackova, soprano
For the 50 years of her unique artistic career, the soprano's biografy , Gabriela Beňačková, would have to be written on countless pages, so at least the most important.
Gabriela Beňačková is an opera and concert singer of the world format. She was born in Bratislava, where she studied at the Conservatoire and the Academy of Music and Drama. She was awarded the title Mgr. Art. In 1969, she became the absolute winner of the 4th year of the A. Dvořák International Singing Competition in Karlovy Vary. In 1970, the talented soprano was engaged in the National Theater in Prague by director Přemysl Kočí, where she worked for 11 years and performed some wonderful opera characters - Natalya (Natasha) Rostova (S. Prokofiev - War and Peace), Mařenka (B. Smetana - The Bartered Bride), Hedvika (B. Smetana – The Devil’s wall), Marguerite (Ch. Gounod - Faust), Mimi (G. Puccini - La Boheme), Manon Lescaut (G. Puccini – Manon Lescaut), Leonora (L. v. Beethoven - Fidelio), Rusalka (A. Dvořák - Rusalka), Káťa Kabanová and Jenůfa by Leoš Janáček. In 1983 she sang the title of Libuše by Bedřich Smetana in the National Theater in Prague while re-opening, and at the same time took over Czech citizenship. She has lived in Prague for almost 47 years, but she has spent most of her life in the world's leading opera stages as a permanent guest at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich (20 years), the Vienna State Opera (22 years), Stuttgart, Bonn, Hamburg , in Covent Garden in London, Italy (Milan - La Scala, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Parma, Bologna, Rome, Venice, Genoa), Spain (Madrid - Teatro Real, Barcelona - Grand TheatredelLiceu, Granada, Valencia, Sevilla) . She also sang in Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Paris, Moscow (Bolsojteatr), Buenos Aires (TheatroColon) and very often in Japan. The audience was also able to admire her voice in San Francisco, Toronto, Los Angeles, and the most at the Metropolitan Opera in New York where she worked from 1990-1999 and performed almost 50 performances in the roles of Katerina Kabanova, Jenůfa, Mimi, Leonora and Desdemona. In 1994, for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, Antonín Dvořák's Rusalka was staged, where Gabriela Beňačková, as an unprecedented Rusalka, completely fascinated the audience.
Among her most popular characters are Jenůfa, Káťa Kabanová, Rusalka, Mařenka from the Czech repertoire, Tatyana (P.I. Tchaikovsky - Eugene Onegin), Líza (P.I. Tchaikovsky - The Queen of Spades), Amelie (G. Verdi - Un ballo in maschera) , Desdemona (G. Verdi - Otello), Ariadne (R. Strauss - Ariadne auf Naxos), Margherita and Elena (A. Boito - Mefistofele), Maddalena (U. Giordano - Andrea Chenier). She also loved singing Elizabeth (R. Wagner - Tanhäuser) and Senta (R. Wagner - Fliegenden Holländer). The invitation to the Vatican was a great honor for her where she sang for Pope John Paul II, with whom she had the opportunity to meet personally.
In addition to performing on opera stages around the world, Gabriela Beňačková has performed numerous concerts, oratories and masses with top colleagues, conductors and celebrities of the world. Her favorite and most frequent opera partner on the international stages was tenor Placido Domingo and tenor Ivo Žídek and tenor Peter Dvorský on stage at the National Theater in Prague. She is the holder of the Grammy Award for the recital of Czech song production accompanied by world pianist Rudolf Firkušný, the Paris Art Prize of Arturo Toscanini, the Gold medal by Giuseppe Verdi, the medal of the 200th anniversary of the Bolšogoteatra, the medals of L. Janáček, A. Dvořák, E. Destinnová and Masaryk Academy. Since 1985 she has been the holder of the Austrian and Bavarian title Kammersängerin and the Czech national artist's title. In 2008, Gabriela Beňačková took over from the President of the Czech Republic Václav Klaus State Decor for Merit in the Field of Culture.
In 2013, she had a phenomenal success again in Salzburg, where she sang the role of Countess La Roche in Zimmermann's Die Soldaten. Yet, in the 2014-2015 theater seasons, she repeated triumphantly in Milan's La Scale.
Gabriela Beňačková is currently focusing mainly on concerts. She sings with the piano and the orchestra with tenor Jakub Pustina or guitarist Luboš Brabec. She actively takes care of younger generation singers, improves them and organizes master and interpreting courses.
For many years she has been chairwoman of the jury of the International Singing Competition of Jakub Pustina and a member of the jury of the Antonín Dvořák International Singing Competitions in Karlovy Vary and Mikuláš Schneidr - Trnavsky in Trnava, Slovakia.