The Czech opera singer and actress Soňa Červená, who gained worldwide fame for her rendition of Carmen in the world’s leading opera houses, has died at the age of 97. Červená started her career in the early 1950s but had to flee the country due to communist persecution, only returning to her home stage after the fall of communism.
Soňa Červená was born in 1925 and started her career in the interwar avant-garde Liberated Theatre, where she starred alongside the legendary actors Jiří Voskovec and Jan Werich. She went on to perform with famous actors such as the comic Vlasta Burian before becoming an opera singer first in Brno and then at the National Theatre in Prague.
However, her promising career was cut short by the communist takeover in February 1948. Her husband, the owner of a chocolate factory, was forced to flee the country, while her mother died under unclear circumstances after police questioning.
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Author: Ruth Fraňková
Soňa Červená also received a Lifetime Achievement Trebbia Award in a ceremony covered by our magazine some time ago. You can see the coverage here.