12.1.1870 Rousínov by Rakovník – 25.9.1924 Senomaty, his mother country
In the world known as Carl (Karl) Burrian
I have not become Goetze there on the Rhine, as all virtuosity and stereotypes are irksome to my soul. I was also fed up with all those Troubadours, Lyonels, Raouls. Those secrets of theirs are not unpredictable and their problems – may I laugh! – can be fathomed by three of the good senses (and the tenors usually do not have more anyway). My desire to fight and the dissatisfaction with myself led me to new deeds in a field yet unknown to me.
I think the old Hanover was all too good and crowned by the genius of Hans von Büllow. That giant of a mind, Goliath of esprit in the body of David! Although he did not live in clover with his intendant Mr. Bronsart, I suppose, and he had to fight with force through every inch of his art against his own self-deceit and darkness of His Majesty, Büllow did so much for Hanover that they live off and benefit from it until present, when all that is left are shadows and wraiths.
The intendant of Hanover enjoyed the good grace of the German Emperor for his good jokes and anecdotes, for his reactionary attitudes and opinions on theatrical art, and his “on dit” – origin. The German Emperor was known to have always disliked Wagner, and Strauss all the more. Despite of Strauss’ Kaisermarch!!! Thus it was possible that the intendant of the Royal Opera, which is subordinated to Berlin’s sovereignty, could and was allowed not to show the tetralogy and the Singing Masters for nine years in a city like Hanover. On the other hand the Troubadours, Huguenots, Jessonda, Lucia Bajazzo, the one who laughed (Ridi, Pagliaccio!), prospered once every week…
In order not to die in that desert and dust bowl, there was a fortunate chance for me to recompense for what was withheld from me in Hanover in neighboring Bremen. Matěj Schlaffenberg, their heroic tenor known also in Prague from the German Theatre fell ill in the middle of the season, downright Croesus with his voice, and the director called for me as a substitute…
…My frequent trips to Bremen ended up in a flop – the disfavor of the intendant. If I sang Lyonell, Manrika a tutti quanti, he would not have minded – but Wagner – horribile dictu…
At the end of summer 1898 I left for Hamburg and have not heard of Hanover – it followed its own well-trodden way there. Before I left that truly enchanting town, two things happened: my son was born in the Detmoldská Street n. 1, a peasant in spe in Senomaty for the time being, and the local soubretta married the mayor! Careers!!
On the boat Nieuw Amsterodam, March 1912, photo: Hans von Büllow (left) and K. B. as Canio (I Pagliacci).
Literature: Burian K.: Paměti (Smetana, Praha, ročníky 1911 - 1912); Hradčanský J. V.: Komorní pěvec Karel Burian ve svých veršovaných dopisech (Graf. ústav L. Beneše, Český Brod, 193?); Hradčanský J. V.: Komorní pěvec Karel Burian ve svých veršovaných dopisech (Fr. A. Urbánek a synové, Praha, 1933); Burian E. F.: Karel Burian (Praha 1948); Novotný A.: Pěvecký portrét (Supraphon, Praha 1974); Wenig J.: Ema Destinová - Karel Burian (Supraphon, Praha, 1960); Nejedlý Z.: Dějiny opery Národního divadla I.-II. (Praha, 1949); Rektorys A.: Naši operní pěvci, (Praha 1958); Černý J.: Osmý den (Reflex, Praha, 6. 3. 2003)
Realisation: Boris Klepal, translation: Petra Mutlová