The mezzo-soprano Dagmar Pecková has been a prolific figure on operatic stages and recordings in the Czech Republic, Germany (her long-time home), Britain, and elsewhere. Her voice is unusually versatile and has enabled her to cultivate a repertory running from Mozart to Mahler to contemporary composer Kaija Saariaho.
Pecková was born April 4, 1961, in the musically rich city of Chrudim in the eastern Bohemia region of what was then Czechoslovakia. She studied voice at the Prague Conservatory and then went abroad to enroll in the young artists' program at the Semperoper opera house in Dresden, East Germany, in 1985. Two years later, she joined the company there as a principal artist. The reunification of Germany coincided with the onset of her prime vocal years, and she appeared often at top Western opera houses and festivals in the 1990s and 2000s, including the Bavarian State Opera, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the San Francisco Opera. At home she was a frequent presence on the stage of the Prague National Theater.
Pecková has worked with numerous top conductors including the late Czech master Jiří Bělohlávek and Britain's Charles Mackerras. She sang the role of the Pilgrim in the 2000 world premiere of Saariaho's opera L'amour de loin at Austria's Salzburg Festival, and she has also appeared at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland and at Germany's Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, where in 2014 she was a resident performer. Pecková has made concert appearances with the BBC Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Dresden Philharmonic, among other leading groups. Since marrying German musician Klaus Schiesser, she has lived in Heuweiler, Germany, and has increasingly often appeared in that country.
Pecková's substantial recording catalog has focused on the Czech label Supraphon, for which she issued an album of Mozart arias in 1995. In 2017, she recorded an album of songs by Kurt Weill, following it up in 2018 with a recording of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde in its chamber version under conductor Petr Altrichter.