(b. Prague, Dec. 9, 1862 ; d. there, Dec. 9, 1920), for twenty years (1900-20) chief conductor of the National Opera (Narodni Divadlo) in P r a g u e (q.v.), and the composer of two very popular operas founded on national subjects : ' Psohlavci ' (The Peasants' Charter) and ' Na starem Belidle ' (At the Old Bleaching House). On leaving the Prague Conservatoire, where he had made the clarinet and the harp his special studies, Kovarovic joined the orchestra of the National Opera as harpist until 1885. He then studied theory with Fibich. Being also an excellent pianist, he was engaged as accompanist by the violinist Fr. Ondrifek, and toured with him from 1886-88. During the next few years he was employed as conductor to several provincial societies, until in 1895 Prof. Hostinsky commissioned him to organise and direct an orchestra for the Ethnographical Exhibition in Prague. This brought his remarkable gifts as a conductor into prominence, and it was realised that he was the very man to be placed at the head of the National Opera. I t was not without some opposition and delay that he was actually appointed conductor-inchief, in 1900. His drastic methods raised the entire standard of performance, but naturally aroused some hostility in his professional surroundings. A stern disciplinarian with his personnel, he took also a very decided view as to the works suitable for production at the National Opera, and set his face against indiscriminate experimentalism. He was, however, an eclectic in his views, and his performances of Mozart were as carefully thought out and as exquisite in detail as were his famous revivals of Smetana's operas, which he popularised until they became a really vital part of the musical life of his people. Kovarovic put the National Opera in Prague on a level with the best continental opera houses, having regard to the size and resources of the city. As regards the appreciation and assimilation of very modern music he had his limitations, but made on the whole very few mistakes. His life and health were given ungrudgingly to the maintenance of first-rate opera, of which the Czechs were justly proud. As a composer, Kovarovic appeared at first to be merely versatile and superficially gifted. As a young man he wrote several comic operas ; ' Zenichove ' (The Bridegrooms) (1884), ' Cesta Oknem ' (The Way through the Window) (1886), and ' Nofi Simon a Judy ' (The Night of Simon and Jude) (1892), besides a picturesque ballet, influenced by Delibes, ' Haschish ' (1881), and ' Pohadka o nalezenem stesti ' (A Tale of Luck Found) (1886). A sense for the stage and a certain musical wit assured some success for these works, and also for a burlesque operetta on 1 GSdipus Rex,' and the incidental music which he furnished for Tyl's Wood Nymph and The Excursions of Mr. Broutek. But none suspected that his talent, hitherto somewhat unworthily employed, was maturing and aspiring in secret until, in 1898, it manifested itself in a serious opera, written in honour of .he Jubilee of the Association of the Narodni Divadlo. ' Psohlavci,' translated into German as 'Bauemrecht' (The Peasants' Charter,) but meaning literally ' the Dog-heads,' is based on a tale by the popular historical novelist, Jirasek. The Chods, a small group of loyal peasants dwelling in the south-west of Bohemia, had proved such trusty guardians of the frontier that they were recompensed by various princes of Bohemia with unusual favours, amongst them the right to bear on their banners the symbol of a watch-dog's head. But in 1695 Austrian oppression touched its zenith, and the Chods were stripped of their privileges and treated with brutal injustice by their Governor, the implacable Laminger von A(benreuth, called ' Lomikar ' by the Slavonic peasants. The judicial murder of one of their leaders, Kozina, who remains to this day a traditional local hero, furnishes material for a touching and dramatic libretto. The homely and historical setting of the story may possibly limit its universal significance, while offering as compensation many picturesque suggestions-the local costumes, dances and scenery ; but the emotional scope is profound and untrammelled. There are stirring moments in ' Psohlavci ' : the mock trial scene in which the peasants' cherished charter is tom to shreds by the partial ju d g e ; the tense mental agony of the prison scene, when Kozina refuses pardon at tho price of his honour; tho sudden death of the sinister Lomikar in the banquet hall- these are strong situations, and Kovarovic knew how to make them not merely effective, but poignant. Here he sloughs off the facile eclecticism of earlier years and produces music of real value. While aiming to follow in some respects the operatic traditions of Smetana, Kovarovic could not, because of his delicate and distinguished musical personality, prevent his own work from taking a more modern and individual form. Between the master and the disciple lies the development of a whole generation. The immediate success of ' Psohlavci ' was sensational, and its popularity has lasted over a quarter of a century. Kovarovic followed this dramatic opera by a completely contrasting work. ' Na starem Belidle ' (At the Old Bleaching House), the libretto founded on Mme. Nemcova's novel of rural life, Babiika (Grannie), is not so much an opera as a series of idyllic scenes from the life of an earlier generation, enveloped in a tender and delicate musical tissue, shot through with tho colour of the folk music, a little reminiscent of Massenet, and touched with a wistful calm and mellow beauty which, emanating from the personality of Grannie, pervades the entire work. A few gay dances, the singing of the girls as they spin by the light of the log fire in Grannie's bleaching house, the brightness of the costumes, and the atmosphere of youth contrasted with that of serene old age, all combine to make a delicate little poem of ' Na starem Belidle.' Among Kovarovic's miscellaneous works are the symphonic poem ' The Rape of Persephone ' (1884), dramatic overture in C minor, incidental music to Subert's play Raphael's Loves, and to Vojnovic's ' Equinox,' a violin sonata in F, a pianoforte concerto in F minor, string quartets in A minor, G major and E flat, romance for clarinet, a few charming songs in the national style, including the popular ' Slovak Song,' to words by Destinnova, one or two melodramas and small choral works. Kovarovic visited England in May 1919, when, with the orchestra of the Prague National Opera, he took part in the Czechoslovak Musical Festival in London. He was already in failing health, and a few months later underwent a severe operation which did little to alleviate his sufferings. He died at the age of 58, just at the time when the newlywon independence of Bohemia gave every hope that his devoted service to his country's art might become more widely appreciated. R. N.