Soňa Červená (1925 - 2023), Czech Republic
Czech mezzo-soprano, contralto and actress Soňa Červená began her artistic career in the field of musical theatre in her native Prague and by a seven-year opera engagement in Brno. In 1958, she became a soloist at the State Opera Unter den Linden in Berlin, where she was awarded the title of Chamber Singer. Herbert von Karajan engaged her for the opera in Salzburg and Vienna, Wieland Wagner for the opera in Bayreuth. She was the first Czech singer after Emma Destinnová to be invited to record the title role in the Carmen gramophone complex. In 1962 she crossed the Berlin Wall and stepped into the free world excelling on prominent European and world stages. She made a significant contribution to the performance of Leoš Janáček’s works in Czech. After her opera career, she accepted the offer from the Thalia Theatre in Hamburg. After returning to Prague, she performed in the National Theatre. She was awarded the title Dame of Czech Culture, the J. F. Kennedy Gold Medal, the Thalia Award, the Alfred Radok Award, the Medal of Merit and other awards. Planet 26897, orbiting between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, is also bearing her name.