Established in 1998, the Emmy Destinn Foundation is dedicated to upholding the legacy of the greatest Czech diva by supporting young singers in the early stages of their careers.
The Foundation's aim is to provide platforms to showcase young talent and to advance the musical education of singers through awards and scholarships. Bringing Czech music to our audiences and enhancing awareness of the Czech repertoire for the opera singers of the future. Furthermore it hopes to promote interest in and knowledge of opera among children and young people.
EDF's concerts provide an invaluable opportunity for the young singers to perform to wider audiences outside their colleges. The talent and dedication of the young performers and the enthusiastic response of our audiences confirm our belief in this project and its benefits to young singers. Following the success of the first few concerts where a number of students performed alongside well-established artists, we are now devoting each concert to the young stars of the future.
The Emmy Destinn Young Singers Awards competition was established in 2000 in London. Its burgeoning popularity has inspired us to expand the event and occasionally stage the Final in Emmy Destinn's beloved Prague. It takes place every two years and in 2023 it will be our thirteeth competition. It has become one of the popular events in the diary of international competitions for young singers.
The Foundation relies on donations and fund-raising events. Our first successful Opera Gala benefit concert at Bloomsbury theatre in 1997, helped to finance the major Emmy Destinn exhibition at the Prague National Museum in 1998, in celebration of the 120th anniversary of the diva's birth. 1998 also marked the 70th anniversary of Emmy Destinn's last concert appearance, at London's Queen's Hall in 1928. EDF commemorated this event with another successful Opera Gala Benefit concert at St. John's, Smith Square.
The Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House was the venue for the 2001 concert in which several talented young singers performed a programme of works by Czech composers. In 2004 we returned to St. John's Smith Square to commemorate anniversaries of Leoš Janáček and Antonín Dvořák with a gala performance of their works.
In 2010 a Gala concert was dedicated to the memory of our founding patrons, Dame Joan Sutherland and Sir Charles Mackerras, again at St. John's, Smith Square.
Since 2000 we have held a series of concerts at various venues in Hampstead, including Burgh House, Rosslyn Chapel and St. Stephen's, which have proved very popular. The most recent took place in November 2016. In December 2013, in cooperation with the Embassy of the Czech Republic in London, we have staged a concert of Jakub Jan Ryba's Czech Christmas Mass, which was attended by more than 400 people.
In 2016, 2018 and 2021 we held Singing in Czech workshops, with the focus on the language, vocal interpretation and preparation for auditions. The singers worked on arias from Smetana, Dvořák and Janáček’s operas. We were delighted with the results, as all the singers showed a very good understanding and love for the Czech repertoire.
A magical evening of Czech Music took place in June 2019, at the beautiful salon in Mansfield Street. The performers were the winners and a finalist of the Emmy Destinn Young Singers Awards 2017. Arias and songs by Czech composers were introduced by the broadcaster and actress Veronika Hyks.
The 12th competition of the Emmy Destinn Young Singers Awards took place in November 2021 and once again, the standard was very high. To select the finalists, the adjudicators consider the choice of the programme, performance and the diction, which has noticeably improved in the past twenty years.
All the finalists prepared programmes consisting mainly of the Czech repertoire. In general, the competitors are now choosing a much wider variety of Czech arias and songs for the auditions, and not just Rusalka’s Aria to the Moon. Works by Janáček, Martinů, Kaprálová, Haas and others now form a standard part of the repertoire. The young singers tell us that they love singing in Czech and are eager to learn more. Despite the popular belief that Czech is a difficult language to learn, they find it surprisingly easy and beautiful to sing.
It is a pleasure to perpetuate Destinn’s legacy through such joyous work.
EDF is primarily dependent on the generosity of our Friends and supporters. With their kind help we will continue upholding Emmy Destinn's legacy and providing support to the future stars of opera. Should you wish to make a contribution to help us in our endeavours, please contact the administrator. Any donations would be gratefully received.
For any further information please contact:
Emmy Destinn Foundation
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