You‘ve lived in Ostrava since your childhood. What is your relationship to the Moravian-Silesian region? Aren‘t you tempted by Prague?
I had the opportunity to sing in Hybernia in Prague because I was a guest in a performance there. It was a good experience, but I wouldn‘t change the Ostrava theatre for any other. I am happy here and I have a lot of friends here. Prague as a city doesn‘t attract me at all. It‘s too big, too crowded. The older I get, the more I escape to the quiet.
I have read that in your free time you like to go tramping, sometimes you ride horses, and you have tried rock climbing. Is that right?
I only got a whiff of mountaineering and I climbed difficulty 4 or 4+, those who are familiar with it will understand. That‘s my ultimate peak. I loved it and everything about it. However, that whiff is gone and I don‘t climb anymore.
I don‘t go tramping regularly either, but on the rare occasion I do go. Recently, my daughter took me on a “mini-tramping trip“ and I really enjoyed it. It was wonderful to see the world again from horseback and let my hair flow as I galloped. I love that feeling.
“ I wouldn‘t change the Ostrava theatrefor any other.”
The last time I saw you, you told me that you had recently traveled around the Middle East. How was that?
Yes, that was about five years ago. By an incredible coincidence, I was invited by my colleague and friend, Tereza Kavecká, to join her and her friend on a trip to Israel. They arranged my ticket two days before the departure and I flew with them. It was at the invitation of her relative Mark Halfar, who is a war cameraman. It was an incredibly amazing five days, Mark gave us his full attention, taking us to places where we would normally have waited a long time, or would have found them difficult to find. He knew everything there perfectly and showed us everywhere. For me it was a huge spiritual experience that I will never forget. We also met twice with Jakub Sántó and he took us with him on a war report to the Gaza Strip. That was a huge adrenaline rush, and we even witnessed an Israeli base shooting down a rocket just a short distance from us. That was an incredible experience for me and I didn‘t even realize what was actually happening in that moment. Yet the most powerful experiences were spiritual, the visit to Jerusalem, the holy Jordan River and several other places. I am very grateful to Terka Kavecká for that; I probably would never have gone to Israel on my own.
Your singing is about emotion. You carry that over into your charity projects, I remember a photo of you on your knees in front of Bishop Lobkowicz. What‘s your message to people of goodwill?
That‘s a nice question. I‘m probably going to repeat myself, but I would say that the family is the foundation. I know it sounds archaic, maybe even pathetic, but family really is everything. Family relationships are taught to the child from a young age, and this is then passed on, all the good and bad qualities. We all know that when things don‘t work out in the family, one often carries that on into life. One has to show tremendous courage and will to change it. And then there‘s hope. That is such an incredibly encouraging word. It‘s perhaps even more powerful to me than love or faith. Where there is no hope, there is nothing. Let there be hope everywhere, and may no one ever lose it. I know it‘s often hard, wading through problems and not even having the strength to see it. But when you see it, that‘s what it‘s all for.
Is that what your charity projects are about? Spreading hope?
I think a little bit yes, you need to help with small things or money. Even though you can‘t buy health and life. At least we can do something to show the person that they are not alone, that there is someone who can help. I‘m no Mother Teresa and I don‘t do this regularly. However, if someone approaches me with a good idea, like the Ondrášek mobile hospice, of course I‘m open to it.
You work also as a teacher. What is it like to pass on your experience to the young promising generation that will one day replace us?
I‘ve been teaching for about 11-12 years now, but I feel like it‘s barely been three years. I got into it by chance, a colleague who knew me from Red Hats recommended that I should audition to be a musical theatre voice teacher. I didn‘t think it was a good fit, but I gave it a shot and the director took me on. Along with my students, I started to learn as well. Since I‘d never taught before, I started from scratch. I had, and continue to have, a personal relationship with each of the “kids“ there, although I don‘t know if that‘s right. I think of them as my children, I love them, even if I am sometimes strict. I don‘t praise so much, I criticize more because I feel it motivates them more, as it does me. I‘m happy when I see that a student is spoken about and I see them on a poster and I think to myself “yeah, that‘s my kid“ (laughs).
Is there anything you would like to wish our readers for Christmas and the New Year?
I would like to sincerely wish our readers a peaceful and beautiful Christmas. May they not chase material gifts so much, but rather give their fellow man gifts of the soul. And that they do not lose hope and have it firmly anchored in their hearts and souls.
Hanka, thank you for the interview.