Baritone Adam Plachetka launches new record – and sings to audience in bathtubs

Adam Plachetka, photo: David Josek, ČTK/AP

The renowned Czech baritone Adam Plachetka launched his new CD on Wednesday. Called Winter Journey, the album contains his renditions of 24 poems set to music by Schubert. The opera singer also performed music from Don Giovanni to fully dressed people in bathtubs at the launch’s unusual venue – the rooftop of Prague’s Lucerna Palace. He explained all by phone.

Adam Plachetka, photo: David Josek, ČTK/AP

“Those were actually two things not directly connected to each other. We christened the album in the morning and the special concert then took place in the evening.

Adam Plachetka, photo: David Josek, ČTK/AP
“The evening show was a performance of Don Giovanni and the setup was a play on words because if you switch the letters D and G in Don Giovani it means ‘Don in the bathtub’ in Czech.

“We actually call the opera that every now and then when we work on it, but I never actually went the whole way to explore what that can mean. I also really liked the idea. It sounded so crazy that it had to work and it did."

Let’s get to the album, Winter Journey. In it you are singing poems by German composer Franz Schubert. Could you tell us a bit more about it?

“It is a record which is very dear to me, because it is very intimate. It is probably not for people who just want to hear arias because it is about someone simply talking to himself accompanied by a piano.

“It is about a lad who experiences unfulfilled love and is also fired by his boss. He just wanders through the woods, away from people, and thinks about things that were, are and will occur.

“It goes really deep and some people say it is depressing actually. Not for me though. Rather, it feels like someone finding a release from depression and, in the end Schubert’s character does succeed in that I believe.”

“It is just an amazing opportunity to span the energy and the whole feel over 24 songs. It is a long album, over 70 minutes if you listen to the whole thing. I am really happy we managed to record it.

Adam Plachetka, photo: David Josek, ČTK/AP
You won the Czech Republic’s Top 100 ambassador award and sing in many languages including French, German and Italian. I was wondering, which is the hardest language to sing in?

“I think that if you find your way to a language, it is no longer hard to sing in it any more. Therefore, overall, I would say that there is no such thing as languages which are better or worse to sing in. It is more of a question of whether or not you are able to use the language to your benefit."

What are your plans now? Where will people be able to hear you?

"My season starts in Chicago now, where I will perform the Barber of Seville. I am going there on Monday.

“Then I will go to New York to sign the count in Figaro’s Marriage. Then in January we will do a big concert in Prague’s O2 arena. That is going to be a big event, a kind of milestone in fact, because we will have a capacity of more than 12,000 listeners, which is a really big venue for a classical event. Then I will go back to New York to do Figaro’s Marriage again.”