Czech singer (bass), director and teacher (b. 6/18 September 1842 in Jestřabí Lhota, near Kolín; d. 11/24 February 1915 in Petrograd); known in Russia as Osip Osipovich Palechek (Осип Осипович Палечек) or Iosif Iosifovich Palechek (Иосиф Иосифович Палечек).
He studied music in Prague as an organist and singer, and in 1864 he became one of the leading soloists at the city's Provisional Theatre. Here he was the first to sing the part of Susanin in Glinka's opera A Life for the Tsar on the Czech stage. In 1869 he joined the Italian Opera company in Moscow, but the following year he transferred to the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, where he eventually became choirmaster (from 1882), and then stage director (from 1900). During this period he frequently returned to give recitals in Prague, and provincial Russian cities. In 1888 he founded an opera class at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, becoming its professor in 1912.
Paleček was the director for the first production at the Mariinsky Theatre of Tchaikovsky's opera Yevgeny Onegin in 1884, as well as for the premieres of The Queen of Spades and Iolanta, which took place at the Mariinsky Theatre in 1890 and 1892 respectively.
Correspondence with Tchaikovsky
3 letters from Tchaikovsky to Josef Paleček have survived, dating from 1891, all of which are available in English translations on this website:
- Letter 4396 – 3/15 June 1891, from Maydanovo
- Letter 4407 – 14/26 June 1891, from Maydanovo
- Letter 4529 – 28 October/9 November 1891, from Moscow
One letter from Paleček to Tchaikovsky, dating from 1891, is preserved in the Klin House-Museum Archive.