Born Jan Brdlík, he was the son of a wealthy miller who was a patron of several musicians. Jan studied agricultural engineering in Brno and obtained a diploma in 1923; only after that, he studied voice in Prague with Moritz Wallerstein, Carl Emerich and Egon Fuchs. He started his career in December 1924 in concert (Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen in Prague with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra), but was to sing primarily opera: in Brno (where he made his debut as Alfredo) and Bratislava (1925), at the National Theater in Prague (1926), in Hamburg (1927–30), and again at the National Theater Prague, from 1931 to 1940. Guest appearances in Zagreb, Berlin (Staatsoper), Amsterdam, Warsaw and in the Czechoslovak provinces. Because of health issues, he left the operatic stage early, but continued to sing in public until 1957.
Discography Parlophon/Odeon, Berlin, 13 October 1927 2-20407 Tosca: Wie sich die Bilder gleichen unpublished 2-20407-2 Tosca: Wie sich die Bilder gleichen O-6590 (=xxB7891) 2-20408 Tosca: Und es blitzten die Sterne O-6590 (=xxB7892) 2-20409 Bohème: Wie eiskalt ist dies Händchen P-9198 2-20410 Pagliacci: Jetzt spielen P-9198 34330 Rigoletto: Freundlich blick' ich B11005, B12202 34331 Rigoletto: O wie so trügerisch B11005, B12202
Reference for the discography: Gesellschaft für historische Tonträger, Wien