Smetana, Bedrich

BORN 2 Mar 1824, Litomyel, Bohemia - DIED 12 May 1884, Praha
GRAVE LOCATION Praha: Vysehrad Cemetery (C5-40)

Son of a brewer. After he failed to become a concert pianist in 1847, he started a music school in Prague in 1848, supported by Clara Schumann and Franz Liszt. He also gave private lessons and every now and then he played for the former emperor Ferdinand.

In 1849 he married Katerina Kolárová. They had four daughters, but three of them died between 1854 and 1856. In 1859 Katerina died in Dresden. He spent two summers in Götenborg and he married Bettina Ferdinandová.

Back in Praque he was still unsuccessful, until in 1866 his opera "The Brandenburgers in Bohemia" was performed. Also in 1866 was the first performance of his most famous opera, "Prodand Nevesta" ("The Sold Bride"). From 1866 until 1874 he was the major conductor of the Provisional Theatre.

In 1874 he showed signs of syphilis and his health started to detoriate. For the opening of the National Theatre in 1881 he wrote his opera "Libuse". In 1884 he was taken to a mental institution at Katerinky, Prague where he died soon afterwards.

His funeral attracted large crowds and Liszt wrote a letter to the Czech nation in which he expressed his deep regrets.

Related persons
• was supported by Liszt, Franz
• has a connection with Ricci, Lella
• was supported by Schumann, Clara


Bedrich Smetana's tomb at the Vysehrad Cemetery, Prague.
Picture by Androom (16 Aug 2000)


Encyclopedie van de Muziek, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1959
• Soukup, Vladimir, Praag, Van Reemst, Houten, 2000
The Times

Smetham, James

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 25 Apr 2022