Kovarovic, Karel (1862 - 1920)

Czech conductor and composer, during the years 1900–1920 head of the National Theatre Opera in Prague. He is considered the most important Czech opera conductor of his time. He focused on works by Czech composers, whose scores he sometimes revised himself (undertakings viewed today as controversial). Of Dvorak’s oeuvre he presented the premiere of the opera Rusalka and a stage production of the oratorio Saint Ludmila. He also paid particular attention to the opera Dimitrij, whose individual versions he subjected to a comparative study, which gave rise to the “Kovarovic” version, now used for the majority of productions to date. One of the reasons given for the failure of the premiere of Dvorak’s last opera Armida is Kovarovic’s withdrawal from his commitment to rehearse the work for apparent (?) health reasons. As pianist, Kovarovic also took part in the premiere of Dvorak’s Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 81.