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Open Features: Emmy Destinn

Peter Wintsersgill summarises the life of Czech singer Emmy Destinn.

26th February, 1878, in Prague.

Emanuel Kittl, well-known Czech philanthropist.

Jindriska, an opera singer.

Trained as violinist, then studied singing with Marie Loewe-Destinn, whose name she adopted.

Adult life
Debut in Berlin 1898 as Santuzza, later as Carmen and Salome. Covent Garden debut 1904 as Donna Anna, Aida, Butterfly and Tatyana till 1914, New York met debut 1908.

Created Senta in first Bayreuth Flieglende Hollander 1901, also Diemut in Strauss's Feuersnot 1901, and was the first Berlin Salome 1906. Created Minnie in Puccini's La Faniculla del West 1910.

In World War I she adopted the name Ema Destinova and was interned on her Bohemian estate for the duration. She returned to the Met and Covent Garden 1919 as Aida.

She died 28th January, 1930, in Budejovice aged 52.


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