Obituary: Czech Soprano Libuše Domanínská Dies at 96

By Francisco Salazar

Czech soprano Libuše Domanínská died on Feb. 2, 2021, at the age of 96.

Born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, on July 4, 1924, Domanínská and her family moved to from a Moravian region to Kosice in the Slovakian part. There she gave her first  stage performance at the age of five and at the age of eight she became known and as “the lark of Kosice.”

In 1939 an independent Slovakia was taken by the Nazis and all Czechs were expelled from Slovakia. As a result, her family was forced back to Brno. At the age of 15, she applied to the conservatory but it was not until 1940 that she was accepted, and studied with Hana Pírková and Bohuslaw Sobeský.

In the conservatory, she studied alongside conductor Bretislav Bakala with whom she performed for the Brno radio. She would continue her studies alongside Marie Řezníčková and eventually made her debut at the Brno National Theatre.

She sang Blaženka in Smetana’s “The Secret” for her stage debut in August 1945 and became a leading member at the house, where she would perform for ten seasons

In 1955 she became a member of the Prague National Opera where she would perform 50 roles and would tour with the company to Moscow, the Holland Festival, the Edinburgh Festival. She was also a prominent guest artist at some of the most important opera companies including the Teatro alla Scala, Komische Oper Berlin, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the Teatro di San Carlo di Napoli, and Wiener Volksoper.

Domanínská was well known for her work in the Czech repertoire including composers Smetana, Dvořák, and Janáček. She also sang the works of Mozart, Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Handel, Beethoven, and Verdi and many Russian and Italian repertoire.

The soprano also left a number of recordings including select arias and works by Janáček.