Eva Olmerová
Czech singer
Eva Olmerová
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  • 1993
    Age 59
    Eva Olmerová made her last recording on 26 May 1993.
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  • 1991
    Age 57
    Drahomíra Vihanová made a short documentary film about her in 1991 – Proměny přítelkyně Evy ("Changes of Friend Eva").
    More Details Hide Details It generated some harsh critical responses as "naturalistic" and "coarse". Olmerová wanted to take Vihanová to court, but the Czech director Ivan Vyskočil discouraged her. In her last years, Olmerová performed with the pianist Emil Viklický. During studio rehearsals for her final album, Svíčka a stín ("The Candle and the Shadow") she collapsed, but as soon as she had been treated at hospital she returned to the studio.
  • 1989
    Age 55
    Eva Olmerová welcomed the fall of the communist régime in 1989 and visited Václav Havel at Prague Castle, but her health was ruined.
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    From 1989 she performed with what was to be her last regular ensemble, the S-band.
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  • 1986
    Age 52
    In 1986 she recorded the album Dvojčata ("The Twins") with Jitka Vrbová and Hot Jazz Prague.
    More Details Hide Details Her health was rapidly deteriorating, due her alcoholism and associated lifestyle. She lived in poor domestic conditions on a low rate of invalidity pension, but continued singing.
  • 1984
    Age 50
    In 1984, she received the Luděk Hulan Award.
    More Details Hide Details In the 1980s Olmerová performed with the Metropolitan Jazz Band, the Steamboat Stompers and with the Senior Dixieland, and occasionally sang with folk and country musicians (Wabi Ryvola among others).
  • 1978
    Age 44
    In 1978 she started working with the Prague Big Band and Milan Svoboda.
    More Details Hide Details She recorded her next album, Zahraj i pro mne ("Play Also for Me") with the Jazz Orchestra of the Czechoslovak Radio at the age of 48. It was her first to be sung with Czech lyrics.
  • 1974
    Age 40
    In 1974, she recorded her second album: Eva Olmerová & The Traditional Jazz Studio.
    More Details Hide Details Live performances were increasingly problematic, due to her alcoholism.
  • 1972
    Age 38
    In 1972 Olmerová married for the third time.
    More Details Hide Details This marriage also quickly ended in divorce and in the same year she drunkenly crashed a Wartburg car borrowed from jazz bassist Luděk Hulan, was arrested and sentenced to ten months in jail.
  • 1969
    Age 35
    In 1969 she reunited with Pavel Smetáček and his Traditional Jazz Studio.
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    In 1969 Olmerová may have met the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald after Fitzgerald's Prague concert.
    More Details Hide Details In this version of events, Ella Fitzgerald was impressed by Olmerová's voice and invited her to join the rest of Fitzgerald's European tour. (Some eyewitnesses question the story.) Olmerová is known to have remained in Prague during Fitzgerald's tour.
    In 1969, she released her first studio album – The Jazz Feeling – with S+HQ and Karel Velebný.
    More Details Hide Details It gained wide critical acclaim and Olmerová was invited to perform in Western Europe but the Czechoslovak music agency Pragokoncert, closely tied with the communist authorities, refused her the necessary travel permit due to her "unreliability".
  • 1967
    Age 33
    In the 1960s she performed in several films and in 1967 returned to the Semafor Theatre.
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  • 1965
    Age 31
    In 1965 she married again.
    More Details Hide Details This marriage ended with her husband's emigration after less than a year. Olmerová began to use phenmetrazine in combination with alcohol - she sought psychiatric help but her use of alcohol and drugs would continue to dog her career.
  • 1963
    Age 29
    Towards the end of 1963 the official restrictions imposed on Olmerová's career were eased.
    More Details Hide Details She began a collaboration with the Traditional Jazz Studio, worked occasionally with other music ensembles and was also allowed to perform regularly in the Theatre on the Balustrade, where she met and formed a friendship with Václav Havel, the later Czechoslovak and Czech president.
  • 1962
    Age 28
    In 1962, the composer Karel Mareš offered her an engagement with the Semafor Theatre.
    More Details Hide Details Olmerová agreed, but this promising start was sabotaged when her "criminal past" was revealed in anonymous letters. Her performance of the Mareš song Jsi jako dlouhý most ("You're Like A Bridge So Long") won her the Czechoslovak song competition Hledáme písničku pro všední den ("In search of a song for the weekday"). She was otherwise banned from public performance in Prague.
  • 1958
    Age 24
    Later, in 1958, she attacked and slapped a policeman and was jailed for fourteen months.
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  • 1952
    Age 18
    In 1952, she married for the first time but was soon divorced.
    More Details Hide Details For a while she earned a living as a professional singer in the bars of Prague.
  • 1951
    Age 17
    In 1951, in her seventeen years, she was arrested by the Czechoslovak state security service, in connection with her grandfather's political activities and her uncle Otmar Kučera's wartime service as Commander of 313 Squadron RAF.
    More Details Hide Details At the police station she experienced degrading treatment: she was forced to undress, then interrogated.
  • 1948
    Age 14
    Her parents divorced in 1948, when she was fourteen.
    More Details Hide Details She remained with her father. At his cottage in village Třebsín near Štěchovice she had first-hand experience of the tramping movement and began to sing folk songs with guitar accompaniment. In the early 1950s she became involved in Prague's jazz scene and performed with the Arnošt Kavka Band.
  • 1934
    Age 0
    Eva Olmerová was born in Prague in 1934.
    More Details Hide Details She started piano lessons at the age of 6, as a pupil of Aurelie Káanová-Bubnová. After World War II her grandparents returned from London, where her grandfather had worked with Edvard Beneš, president of the exiled Czechoslovak government.
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