Josef Štágr

* 1950

  • "We went up Vinohradská Street and around the Vinohradská Market and then not far from Jířák, there was a convoy of sidecars and small amphibious transporters, tracked armored personnel carriers and so on, blocking the whole road. I couldn’t even see the end of it. So we set off on foot and it was clear that there was no tram coming. Suddenly we saw this one armored personnel carrier come out of the line. They were standing there, the Russians were sitting on the hoods of the transporters with their guns and they were staring. People were shouting at them, explaining. And we know all this from the programs. And suddenly one of those transporters started to move - ready to go, because they probably needed to break through the barricade down by the radio station. We didn't know that. And we saw some of the dudes holding hands, heroically standing in the way of the transporter. Of course, it didn't stop, so they jumped aside. Suddenly we heard gunfire down there. Oh, man! Let's go there! So we went down there to have a look - and by then it was probably getting a bit rough. We were no heroes, we were just curious. There is Balbín Street above the radio station. The biggest chaos started there later. But at this point, as we were approaching it, the nervous soldiers on the transporters started shooting into the air. And it was like shooting sparrows. That's when we disappeared into the first house on Balbín Street. Then we said it was over. We went home and our parents wouldn’t allow us to go anywhere."

  • "Pragokoncert sent me to various TV shows. So I was filming. I was also on a 14-day tour all over Bulgaria with singers from all the Eastern Bloc countries. I toured the whole of Bulgaria, the twelve biggest Bulgarian cities. I saw the sea for the first time, in Golden Sands, unfortunately it was in January. Or I was shooting for the TV in Katowice, in Warsaw, in Dresden. I even went to Berlin to sing a song in German because of that, and when I arrived in Dresden, I already had letters from my fans in my dressing room. In the beginning it was so interesting, but there was someone missing, a manager. And there were good managers back then, but they already had their own people, who would say, 'Look! This could be something! Let’s make him famous!' And that was for example Honza Obrda, whom I met personally after many years, and František Janeček, what more can I say. The first one was, I think, Mr. Spurný, who helped Karel Gott a lot. Ivan Hope, Hanuš Bunzel, he was a great manager, sensational. These were impeccable guys and they knew how to make someone famous, if they took care of someone, because they had connections. The labels were just few, there was one radio, one television and two record labels."

  • "At that time, the Central Committee of the Socialist Youth Union ensemble called Plameny with soloists Jiří Štědron, Matysová, Vrtichová and a backing brass band, an excellent band, by the way, already existed. When I heard them in 1972, when they were guests at the competition in Jihlava, well, I totally loved them, because of their high level of professionalism. But it used to be looked down on, the Socialist Youth Union. I think that the ensemble was created basically because after 1968, in 1969, a new Youth Union was formed here. And a lot of artists, of course, wanted nothing to do with it. But who organized cultural events in a lot of cities? Well, the youth, the unionists. Or the company club of the local big factory. But gradually the unionists got all these clubs and houses of culture and organized these events. So I think that at first maybe the ensemble should have fulfilled that function, so that they could have somebody at their events. And step by step, all our top artists figured out that the ones who were going to hire them were in many cases those local Youth Union groups."

  • Full recordings
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    Praha, 10.03.2023

    duration: 02:39:00
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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In 1974 he sang pro-communist songs. After the revolution, he shone in Jesus

Josef Štágr as a singer in the second half of the 1960s
Josef Štágr as a singer in the second half of the 1960s
photo: Josef Štágr as singer of a band called Amethyst, ca. 1965

Josef Štágr was born on February 6, 1950 in Prague. His mother Věra worked as a secretary and his father Josef was apprenticed as barber and hairdresser, he had a younger brother. After his parents divorced in 1957 he lived with his father and his brother with his mother. They took turns spending weekends together at each parent’s house. Although he did not receive any musical training in his youth, he and his friends founded a big beat band called Amethyst in the ninth grade. He then pursued singing more in college. In 1969 he got his first theater role as one of the Jets in the musical West Side Story. He participated in various singing talent competitions. In the 1970s and 1980s he was active in several musical groups, performing with Jiří Štědron, Karel Černoch and Věra Martinová, among others. He studied at the University of Economics and Business in Prague, but did not defend his diploma thesis. He graduated from the Prague Conservatory of Music. At the beginning of the 1990s he left the music industry for several years and worked in an exchange office at the main railway station in Prague. In 1992, he returned to the music scene again and began to perform in the musical Les Misérables, then went on to play the role of Judas in the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, the roles of Peron and Che in Evita and many others. At the same time, he began teaching at the Jaroslav Ježek Conservatory of Music. In 2023 he lived in Prague.