Marák, Otakar

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Mařák, Otakar

Mařák, Otakar, Czech tenor; b. Esztergom, Hungary, Jan. 5, 1872; d. Prague, July 2, 1939. He was a student at the Prague Cons, of Paršova-Zike˘ová. After making his operatic debut as Faust in Brünn in 1899, he sang in Prague at the Deutsches Theater (1900–01) and the National Theater (1901–07). Following guest engagements in Vienna (1903), Berlin (1906), London (Covent Garden, 1908), and Chicago (1914), he was a principal member of the National Theater in Prague (1914–34). He lost his financial security in a business venture, and went to the U.S. to seek his fortune. However, he ended up selling newspapers on Chicago streets. After funds were raised for his assistance, he was able to return to Prague to eke out his last days in straitened circumstances. At the zenith of his career, he was dubbed the Czech Caruso. Among his best roles were Turiddu, Canio, and Don José.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire