Renowned opera conductor František Babický died suddenly this afternoon

The respected Czech conductor, František Babický, died unexpectedly this afternoon of organ failure, aged 84.

František Babický (photo Jakub Kabeš)

František Babický was born on 11 December 1938 in Prague and grew up in Brandýs nad Labem. He began his musical career as a pianist. In 1953-1965 he graduated from the Prague Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts in conducting under Bohumír Liška. He was a finalist of one of the first editions of Besançon conducting competition. Although during his studies he had no ambition to conduct opera, after seeing Bizet’s Carmen, which enchanted him directly, he changed his mind.

In 1964 he got his first engagement in the South Bohemian Theatre as a choirmaster and later also as a conductor. Five years later he was appointed by František Vajnar as conductor of the Zdeněk Nejedlý State Theatre in Ústí nad Labem (today the North Bohemian Theatre of Opera and Ballet), where he remained until 1974. In the same year he accepted the position of conductor and head of opera at the F. X. Šalda Liberec. In 1980, he became chief conductor of the Army Art Ensemble in Prague and simultaneously worked with the Hradec Králové Philharmonic. From 14 September 1983 he worked part-time as a conductor at the National Theatre in Prague, and on 1 August 1986 he became a full-time conductor. After the separation of the two Prague opera houses, he became conductor of the Prague State Opera from 1 April 1992. From 1992 to 1998 he also served as head of the opera of the Municipal Theatre Ústí nad Labem and simultaneously conducted in Liberec, where he remained since 2002. Since 2010, he has worked at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Prague as a professor of opera conducting. He has been married four times, his son is the renowned golfer Alan Babický.

He conducted symphony and opera orchestras, both in the Czech Republic and abroad, where he promoted mainly Czech music. At the Prague Spring Festival he repeatedly performed as a pianist and conductor. In 2019, he was awarded the honorary citizenship of the city of Liberec for his outstanding contribution to the development of the city in the arts. He was an expert on Verism and a expert on the works of Antonín Dvořák and Bedřich Smetana. His operatic interpretations were characterized by dramatic gestures and heavy tempi.
He died on 17th April 2023 at the age of 84 from organ failure.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.