Czech opera diva Dagmar Pecková

Dagmar Pecková

Czech opera diva Dagmar Pecková will celebrate 40 years on stage this year, looking back at her stellar career with a book called “Dresses, notes and shoes” in which she shares her passion for music and fashion. 

The mezzo soprano did not have an easy start in her home country – although she loved music and singing from an early age she was initially rejected by the Prague Conservatory only gaining entry after a second application. Upon graduating she was turned away by the opera houses in Prague, Ostrava and Brno. The young singer got her break abroad, at the Dresden Opera which recognized her talent.  In 1988 she was appointed to the Berlin State Opera where she was a principal artist for many years.

Photo: Grada publishing

A workaholic, Pecková was highly active as a guest artist world opera stages appearing at the Opéra National de Paris, the Prague National Theatre, the Royal Opera, London, the San Francisco Opera, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, and the Zurich Opera among others. She recorded a CD of Mozart arias, songs by Mahler and Berio and arias from Janacek, to name just a few.

At 50 the energetic mezzo soprano, who was constantly on the go, juggling the role of opera diva, wife and mother of two suffered a burnout. She later openly spoke about the experience to help others.

After her enforced break for health reasons, the opera singer threw herself into a completely new world – the world of theatre, accepting the role of Maria Callas in a play by Terence McNally performed in the municipal theatre house in Mladá Boleslav. She established a co-organizes a music festival called Zlatá Pecka Chrudim in her home town.

In 1995 the singer had an asteroid named after her and in 1999 she received the prestigious Thalia Award for the lead role in Carmen at the National Opera in Prague. She currently lives in Germany with her husband Klaus Schiesser, a German musician.