She had to face the cruel blows of 20th century history, yet she went on to conquer the world with her talent. Olga Sommerová’s do­cumentary profile focuses on another major Czech figure – the legendary opera singer Soňa Červená, who created a hundred roles on stages scattered across five continents.

Czechia 2017
83 min.

One hundred roles in 5,000 performances on stages scattered across five continents. Such is the professional career of opera singer Soňa Červená, whose life is mapped out in this feature-length documentary by director Olga Sommerová. Soňa Červená was born in 1925, the daughter of Jiří Červený, founder of the Red Seven cabaret. Tragedy struck the family after the Nazi occupation, when her parents ended up in a concentration camp. After the communist takeover Soňa’s mother died in Pankrác prison under mysterious circumstances, and Soňa herself, now a celebrated artist, began to fear for her life. She thus took advantage of an invitation to join the Berlin State Opera and fled to the West. There she found a new career for herself, with engagements at dozens of world-class venues. During this time, however, Soňa Červená was, in fact, not well known in her country of origin, where she returned after thirty years in exile. Cervena is a portrait of a fascinating, unfaltering individual who was reluctant to lay down roots, and it was for her public that she always strove to maintain her integrity.

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Director: Olga Sommerová
Screenplay: Olga Sommerová
Cinematography: Olga Špátová
Sound: Petr Kapeller, Richard Müller
Editing: Jakub Hejna
Producer: Pavel Berčík
Co-production: Zuzana Mistríková
Cast: Soňa Červená, Olga Sommerová, Petr Koura, Jana Kánská, Aleš Březina

Czech Lions

2017 – Olga Sommerová, Pavel Berčík (Best Documentary)