Golden Nightingale Gott wows them in Carnegie Hall

Yes, the man once described as the Czech Elvis, Karel Gott. Also known as the Golden Nightingale and the Golden Voice from Prague, Gott returned to Prague on Sunday after a triumphant performance at New York's Carnegie Hall. Pavla Navratilova is here to tell us more:

Karel Gott's medley performance of rock and roll classics, musical numbers, and operatic arias won him a standing ovation from the packed house in Carnegie Hall late Friday evening. Although Gott has recently been involved in a bitter public row with his critics, it's clear by the turnout to both this concert and his Expo 2000 appearance in Hannover, that he still holds the hearts of both the Czech and international audiences in his hands.

His Carnegie Hall performance paralled the success of his forty years in the spotlight. He was accompanied by another famous Czech voice, Helena Vondrackova, and backed by the Pavel Vetrovce Orchestra. The audience numbered over two thousand and it is believed that the majority of those attending were people of Central European descent. Before flying out on Sunday, the king of Czech pop had time for an interview with the New York Times and attended a gospel music session at a local Harlem church.

But Gott, known as "The Golden Voice From Prague", is also a controversial figure. The most recent debate surrounded the Expo 2000 World Fair in Hannover, when he was chosen to represent contemporary Czech culture. In one Czech newspaper he was described as a middle-aged, middle-of-the-road "zombie" who had "ruined the musical taste of generations". There followed a heated debate in the press, but after an unprecedented appeal from Germany, and personal appeals from Czech politicians, Gott agreed to go ahead with the Hannover appearance. His sell-out concert at Carnegie Hall may not have been to everyone's taste, but there's no doubt Karel Gott still enjoys mass appeal.

Author: Pavla Navrátilová
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