The famous Czech singer Marta Kubišová is due to make her final public performance on Wednesday in her home town of České Budějovice, the last stop of her goodbye tour. The performance takes place on her 75th birthday, the end of a storied career in which Kubišová went from pop star to a symbol of resistance.
Marta Kubišová is easily one of the most cherished of Czech singers, whose Prayer for Marta, recorded in 1968, became a symbol of resistance to the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Soviet-led troops in August that same year. As a result, Kubišová’s career as a pop singer was cut short: she was banned by the communist authorities and would only return to the stage in the heady days of November 1989, when the Velvet Revolution began and the regime crumbled and then collapsed.
Kubišová performed the song before thousands on Wenceslas Square at that pivotal moment. She continued to perform in the 1990s, reuniting for a time with Golden Kids, a trio with the equally famous Helena Vondráčková and Václav Neckář.
In 1995, the singer received state honours, the Medal of Merit, from former dissident and playwright President Václav Havel and in 1998 received the Honorary Medal of T.G. Masaryk.
When it was announced that the singer would tour the Czech Republic and Slovakia for the last time, tickets at the various venues from city to city sold out quickly. When 100 additional seats were added at České Budějovice, where there will be 800 spectators, those sold out within 72 hours. The first date on the tour was in Košice, Slovakia. Ms. Kubišová’s manager told Czech Radio that when his client set aside the mic it would be for the last time. He said her 20 year forced break meant it would not be difficult for the singer to wrap up her career and that the benefit would be that the singer would have time to rest, travel or write a book.
Her concert in Prague last Friday at Prague’s Lucerna was met with thunderous applause and standing ovations. The concert in her hometown, the very last, featuring some of her best-known songs but also lesser-known material, will certainly be greeted the same way.