The title finally proclaims it together, but it’s not really your first album together, is it?
Zagorová: In 1994, we released Ave I and Ave II at Multisonic. It’s been over twenty-five years, so it’s a long time ago.
When we started preparing our joint concerts last year, it occurred to us that it would be a shame not to record the duets that were supposed to be part of the program on the album.
Margita: Despite the canceled tour, we decided to go to the studio in June, to record the selected songs and send them in the form of a record for the fans. We can promise that if the concert is held in May next year, everyone will hear it.
Was there a consensus among you when choosing songs?
Margita: Mostly yes. Perhaps I was only surprised when Hanka insisted that we film Adieu as a duet. It is a song that is heard at each of her concerts and her interpretation suits her very well. But she wrote it down for two voices so sensitively that I really like the result.
Not all songs on the album are duets. It’s about I’m not afraid, Mom or Like you. Why didn’t you include both voices in them as well?
Zagorová: Part of our plan was for each of us to put some of our recent solo favors on the record. It was an intention.
You yourself wrote the lyrics for two songs. One of them is the emotional confession to love you. Is the text for Štefan Margita?
Zagorová: When I wrote it, of course I thought of Stefan. Whenever I write about love, it is always in the background, so to speak. But I’m usually not in the habit of writing lyrics about someone in particular. An imaginary film strip with a story, which I process in the song lyrics, runs before my eyes. The man who was on it in this case did not have a familiar face to me.
Štefan Margita and Hana Zagorová
Photo: Supraphon / Anna Kovačič
So when you sing about self-service quarrels, doesn’t that mean you’ve experienced them with your partner?
Zagorová: And you see, this is exactly the opposite. Štefan went to the sales office a few times in the supermarket because she did not follow the hygienic measures, and I had to reassure him. It was in this section of the text that he entered the imaginary film strip.
Mr. Margito, you sang the song Mama solo on the album. Why did you choose her?
Margita: I decided for her at a sad time, at a time when my mother was dying. I hoped he could still hear her, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. It was a song for her and it’s a song for her.
When I decided to record this composition by Charles Aznavour with a Czech text by Jiřina Fikejzová, I called Maria Rottrová, who has it in her repertoire. She told me to record it, and she didn’t mind making a new arrangement.
Did the lyricist Jiřina Fikejzová, who died at the beginning of September this year, hear your version?
Margita: She heard her. She then called me herself and said that she did not expect such an arrangement, but that it was beautiful. She was thrilled.
On the album you connect two worlds, pop and opera. Do they agree together?
Zagorová: I must say that I did not feel like connecting distant worlds at all. Neither in the case of the expression of the compositions, nor in the case of their conception. Stefan interprets the songs in a way that is not very common for an opera singer, but he is extremely comfortable with him. Everything went extremely naturally and smoothly.
There are eleven songs on the album. Were there any others in the selection?
Zagorová: We were thinking of one more. It’s called Den je krásný and it was sung by Karel Gott and Jana Petrů. We interpreted it at a concert to celebrate his birthday and we sang it on TV. In the end, however, we decided not to put it on the record. It slipped out of the overall concept in our eyes.
Štefan Margita and Hana Zagorová
Photo: Supraphon / Anna Kovačič
At what stage in the creation of the album did it turn out that you will have to cancel the planned concerts?
Margita: We were already in the recording phase. We shot in Dan Hádel’s studio, where due to a pandemic situation, the deadlines were relaxed, and we were happy that we could work at all. Concerts began to be canceled in March, so every job came in handy.
We had a deal with Supraphon that the album would be released before the first concert, which was to take place in October. When it became clear that he wouldn’t be the next or another, we agreed to release the record anyway.
So you didn’t enjoy the concerts much this year…
Margita: I lost a number of performances that I was looking forward to. Whether it was in Chicago or at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. And it goes on. The March production of Boris Godunov’s opera in Washington is already canceled.
On the contrary, my performance in Palermo at Strauss’s Elektra is confirmed. And in February and March I will have a chanson tour in clubs in the Czech Republic. When I dropped Washington, I’ll play here.
Zagorová: The only thing that can please me are the new dates of the moved concerts. I’m glad they weren’t canceled, but I don’t know if people will come to them or buy tickets. The situation around coronavirus is very serious in our country and people are afraid to buy tickets in advance. I am afraid that it will only improve when the situation calms down significantly.
The only two concerts I attended this year were held in the open air in the summer. But they had an adverse effect on me, because someone jumped on me on one of them and I became infected with coronavirus. It was something for something. The concert itself was amazing, but I bounced it quite seriously. And so did Stefan, who became infected with me.
Are you okay yet?
Zagorová: Basically yes. Sometimes I get tired, but as I read, it can appear half a year after recovery, so it leaves me calm.
Margita: One must not panic, and if the course of the disease allows it, one must continue to work on oneself and plan something. Although we don’t know what next year will be.
Do you think that your next joint album will be created in the future?
Zagorová: I don’t think so. It was a trip for both of us, on which we brought several genres together. However, it was a trip that I do not think will be repeated. We all have solo plans now. They are so rich that it would be a shame to record another joint album.
Margita: It is appropriate to stick to the motto that less is more. I’m already preparing a holiday record for Christmas next year. It will be called the Spirit of Christmas.
Zagorová: I’m not planning a new record at the moment. I’ve released three in a pretty short period of time, and I think it would take a break now.