Obituary: Prague State Opera star Lenka Šmídová dies at 60

Opera theater

Mezzo-soprano Lenka Šmídová has died aged 60.

The news was announced by the spokesperson of the National Theater in Prague, where Šmídová was a leading artist.

The mezzo studied and graduated from the Prague Conservatory with Helena Tattermuschová and later at the Prague Academy of Music with René Tuček.

She became a soloist with the National Theater Opera Company in Prague in 1990 and would become a leading figure in over 70 productions. Its last performance took place on April 17 in the opera “The Jacobin” by Antonin Dvořák.

Outside of Prague, she continued to perform in Germany, France, Italy and Spain. She then sang at the Verona Arena and at the Monte-Carlo Opera. Her signature roles included Azucena, Santuzza, Carmen, and many Czech roles, including the witch in “Rusalka”, Kate in Dvořák’s “Kate and the Devil”, and many more. Outside of her singing career, she was a highly respected singing teacher.

In honor of the mezzo’s death, the National Theater in Prague flew a huge black flag on Monday, May 30. The mezzo’s family refused to hold an official funeral on the stage of the theater as usual due to their long-standing dispute with opera conductor Per-Boye Hansen, whom they accused of constantly trying to remove the permanent Czech soloists from the theatre.