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Vondráčková, Helenafree

  • Karel Steinmetz

(b Chrudim, Czechoslovakia, 24 June 1947). Czech pop singer. The daughter of musical parents, she was taught the piano and singing as a child. As a student she was successful in talent competitions in Prague, voted fourth – and two years later, first – in a poll of Czech singers. After completing high school (Gymnasium) at Chrudim (1965) she became a member of the Rokoko Theatre in Prague, and began making recordings for radio and appearing on television. In 1966, together with Marta Kubišová, a colleague at the Rokoko Theatre, she took part in the prestigious Czechoslovak Bratislavská lýra festival, and won the second prize. In 1968, together with Marta Kubišová and Václav Neckář, she set up the Golden Kids, a very successful trio, which was dissolved three years later owing to the politically motivated prohibition of further performances by Marta Kubišová. At that period she became the most successful Czech female singer abroad; she recorded albums for companies in Japan and in the German Federal Republic, and appeared regularly at international festivals and venues in Canada, Brazil, Cuba, and Turkey, achieving her highest success in winning the Grand Prix in 1977 at Sopot in Poland. She also acted in a series of Czech films and television serials. From the early 1990s she was given leading roles in productions of musicals, from both the international and the Czech repertories (including Les miserables, Cats, Hello Dolly!, Mamma Mia!, and Mona Lisa). In 2000 and in 2005 she performed successfully at Carnegie Hall in New York.

Bibliography

  • J. Černý: Zpěváci bez konzervatoře [Singers without conservatoire training] (Prague, 1966), 158–63
  • L. Dorůžka: ‘Supraphonské samplery’, Melodie, vol.7/11 (1969)
  • J. Jehne: ‘Cesta k ostrovu Heleny Vondráčkové’ [The road to Helena Vondráčková’s island], Melodie vol.9/5 (1971)
  • F. Horáček: ‘Vznešená vyrovnanost Heleny Vondráčkové’ [The noble composure of Helena Vondráčková], Melodie, vol.12/3 (1974)
  • J. Fikejzová: ‘S malovaným džbánkem pro sopotskou smetanu’ [With a painted jug for the Sopot cream], Melodie, vol.15/11 (1977)
  • A. Vanderka: ‘Helena je jenom jedna!!’ [Helena is the only one!!], Melodie, vol.23/11 (1985)
  • J. Adam: ‘Sprint’, Melodie, vol.24/4 (1986), 23
  • J. Jehne: ‘Vondráčková, Helena’, Encyklopedie jazzu a moderní populární hudby [Encyclopedia of jazz and modern pop music] (Prague, 1990), 304
  • M. Herzán and V. Budinský: Divadlo Rokoko [The Rokoko Theatre] (Most, 1998), 10–12, 23, 45–7, 74
  • J. Tomeš a kol. Český biografický slovník XX. století, iii (Prague and Litomyšl, 1999), 485–6 <http://www.vondrackova.cz/en/music-3/>
  • M. Třeštík, ed.: Kdo je kdo: osobnosti české současnosti: 5000 životopisů [Who’s who: contemporary Czech personalities – 5,000 biographies] (Prague, 2005), 737