Tenor Karel Burian, born 150 years ago, was famous all over the world and is known as one of the greatest singers of all time. Photos from the opera world, personal correspondence, written memories, as well as his own librettos, are all part of the exhibition.


Famous tenor

Burian was well-known throughout Europe and abroad. He used to sing in the National Theatre in Prague, as well as in opera theatres in Berlin, Dresden and Budapest. He was the first Czech person to sing in the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where he sang more than once, under conductors such as the Austrian composer and conductor Gustav Mahler and the Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini. He also sang with the world-famous Czech opera singer Ema Destinnová.

Opera experts consider him to be the best Wagner tenor. Enrico Caruso, Italian opera singer and one of the greatest tenors in history, said “Burian can sing everything; me, I can only sing some things.”


Karel Burian Legends

According to legend, Karel Burian’s competitors attempted to assassinate him. However, this legend has never been confirmed. The fact is that in 1920 he mistakenly drank lye, believing it to be water, an incident which almost led to the loss of his voice. Four years later, he got a skin infection in the barber’s and died shortly after.


Czech Museum of Music

A part of the National Museum dedicated to music and musical instruments is located in the former Baroque church of St. Mary Magdalene in the picturesque Lesser Town of Prague (‘Malá Strana’). An impressive number of 400 historical musical instruments of extraordinary value are housed in the museum.

Apart from permanent exhibitions, the museum also organises short-term exhibitions and regular concerts.


For further information, please visit: https://www.nm.cz/en.