Three Czech music stars have conquered the Kremlin. The greatest Czech pop-star of all time Karel Gott, the best-selling diva Lucie Bila and opera tenor Stefan Margita performed to an enthusiastic Russian audience at the sold-out Kremlin concert hall in Moscow last Friday. As Pavla Horakova reports, fourteen years after the fall of the Soviet Bloc, Russians still love the Czech stars.
Karel Gott is a great Czech institution and heartthrob of generations of Czech women - he has sold 27 million records during his forty-year career, and is hugely popular not only in the Czech Republic, but also in other parts of Europe, including Slovakia, Germany and Russia. He performed many concerts in the former Soviet Union and he has not forgotten his Russian fans even after the political changes in Eastern Europe. In recent years he has performed in Moscow alongside other Czech artists, for example opera singers Eva Urbanova and veteran pop singer Helena Vondrackova. Earlier I spoke to Assia Tchekanova from Radio Prague's Russian section and asked her whether Czech musicians were really so popular in Russia.
"I agree they are very popular and it was again confirmed during the concert of three Czech stars in Moscow, in the Kremlin concert hall. I should say that especially Karel Gott has a lot of fans in Russia and there are lots of fan clubs. The admirers follow Karel Gott all over the world, they visit all his concerts and they meet him and see him off. I know that he told Radio Prague that even in New York he met admirers from Russia who went especially just to see his concert."
"I think the reason is in history. It's been like that since the Soviet times when he went very often to Russia and I think most of his admirers are women of the same age and they just remember those times."
Let's hear now what one of them told Radio Prague.
"We have an informal Karel Gott fan club. It has existed since 1970. There are many of us and we love him very much. We always meet him, we wait for him impatiently and we see him off at the Sheremetyevo Airport - those are the best moments with him apart from his concerts, of course. During the 35 years we have not missed a single concert. We have gone to every one of them and each concert is different from the previous one. They were all different and beautiful."
Another fan said that during the Perestroika years when Karel Gott did not come to Russia very often, it was a great loss for the young generation - and the older fans simply did not know what to do. She described Karel Gott as a wonder of nature and a Mozart of pop music.
The popularity of Karel Gott in Russia helps other Czech musicians to access the Russian market, as appears to have been the case with Lucie Bila and Stefan Margita who both received interesting offers after last Friday's concert. Assia Tchekanova.
"The names of the two other singers, Lucie Bila and Stefan Margita, the Moscow public did not know but now as I have heard they liked their concert very much and I know that Stefan Margita was invited to sing the part of Lenski in the opera Eugene Onegin [by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky] in the Bolshoi Theatre. This I know after the Friday concert. Maybe it is influenced a little bit by the success of Karel Gott, that people came mostly to see their beloved Karel and maybe then they heard these 'new' singers."
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