Emmy Destin and Enrico Caruso

Tribute to the artistic legacy of the "Godly duo" - selection of the world famous arias and duets with the unique approach which a Czech singer looks into the backstage of Metropolitan Opera in New York A welcoming toast of Becherovka - visit of A. Dvorak Museum - programs in several languages - performance 70 minutes without interlude.

Place of performance

Villa Amerika - A summer palace of Vaclav Michna from Vacinov in the heart of Prague built by Kilian Ignac Diezenhofer between 1712 and 1720, a beauty-spot of aristocracy, later even a pub of German students of medicine - today a museum with precious exhibits and a research center of Antonin Dvorak and his followers - the Czech composers Josef Suk, Vitezslav Novak and Oskar Nedbal - destination of Antonin Dvorak's music admirers from all over the world and especially from the USA.

About

Emmy Destinn and Enrico Caruso - how much did these two stars of the opera have in common? Both were born in February - Caruso on the 25th and Destinn on the 26th. Both enjoyed enthusiastic applause from audience around the whole world - in both cases the critics agreed that there is no-one like them and that there will never be - both experienced moments of breathtaking fame as well as the worst disappointments and pain - in the decline of their life both experienced spurn and reprobation, and at the moment of their death both became an integral part of the cultural history of their own country.

A symbolic meaning may also be attributed to the fact that their first and as well last joint performance was Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo.

Even though the record industry was only at its birth at the beginning of the twentieth century, fortunately it was able to record at least partially the perfect voice, faultless technique of singing and interpretative mastery of both of these great vocalists.

In our performance we do not wish to imitate any one of them - that would be presumptuous and it would not be possible. We would like to pay our tribute to them, although it is after many years, however, the more sincere it is. And this is meant not only to their artistic performance, but also to the fact that fame never changed them much, and to their nerves with which they fought against adversity; and not to forget the fact that their mutual relationship was always full of genuine friendship and rare partnership.

"Emmy Destinn and Enrico Caruso in the Works of World-Famous Opera Composers" evokes the image a short but unforgettable era of partnership of an excellent Czech vocalist and a famous Italian tenor in the Metropolitan Opera and at other stages of the world. Spectators are not only tempted by the beautiful melodies, but they are also invited to look into the backstage life of these brilliant vocalists, without whom G. Puccini, for example, could not imagine the opening of his opera "The Girl of the Golden West" nor could the renowned conductor Arturo Toscanini imagine any of his most important performances.

Story

It is December 8th, 1920 and the Metropolitan Opera in New York presents Emmy Destinn and Enrico Caruso in Pagliacci. Caruso has not been feeling well since the morning and he wanted to revoke the performance, but in the end he sings. However, he is not doing too well and after the famous scena "Ridi, Pagliaccio" he faints on stage. Suddenly, everybody is in a whirl, a pause has to be made, it is necessary to call the doctor...

At that point Emmy Destinn, who came into her dressing room to change for the next scene, starts recalling all of their common performances - for example the first Mme Butterfly in Covent Garden in London.

G. Puccini - Mme Butterfly - Aria of Cio Cio San

Or their first joint performance in the Metropolitan Opera - on November 16th, 1908 at the beginning of the season, Aida...

G. Verdi - Aida - Radam's Aria

She has a vision of Enrico who recollects with her the way she looked when they sang Mme Butterfly together for the first time and that he enjoys most singing Aida with her...

G. Verdi - Aida - Aida's Aria

G. Verdi - Rigoletto - The Duke's Aria

Even though that most people thought that he was a woman-chaser, as the Duke from Rigoletto, he was completely serious with Emmy when he asked her to marry him. It was then, when they were travelling together through a tunnel under a river and Emmy felt uneasy. But no, Emmy did not want to marry him - for one, she was in love with Dinh Gilly, a baritone of Arabic origin, who prevented her from falling off a horse at the dress rehearsal of "The Girl of the Golden West", and secondly, she did not wish to marry. It is not possible to mix marriage with art and Emmy always hated half-heartedness. And then, she could marry only a Czech man...

A. Dvorak - Gypsy Melodies - When My Old Mother

With an inseparable lucky charm in her hand - a piece of Rosary inherited from her mother, Destinn sings a song of the Czech Composer, who had only recently been the principal of the American National Conservatoire of Music in New York. But Caruso is much the same patriot - in Italy they can also compose songs! Similarly to Emmy, he also presents the compositions of his compatriots in all of his concert performances, especially those of his friend F. P. Tosti!

F. P. Tosti - La ultima canzone

When Emmy Destinn promoted the opera "The Bartered Bride" by the Czech composer Bedrich Smetana in the Metropolitan Opera, nobody really believed in its success. But is was successful. It might have been thanks to Emmy in the role of Marenka, or thanks to Gustav Mahler as the conductor, but most probably it was due to Smetana's appealing music.

B. Smetana - The Bartered Bride - Marenka's Aria

A thought flies away to an event that happened during the performance of La Boheme, where Enrico sang the role of Rudolf and the bassist, who was to play Collin, had problems with a hoarse voice. At that time Caruso made an agreement with him and he sang his "Aria about a Coat" in such a way that the spectators did not notice it. But let us not mix this up here - besides, La Boheme now evokes in Caruso only painful memories. It was then when he fell in love with Ada Giachetti, the mother of his two sons, who left him with her chauffeur. "And so, Enrico, what do you like to sing, if it is not La Boheme?"

G. Puccini - Tosca - Cavaradossi's Aria

And what does Emmy like to sing? It is difficult to say, but she surely knows which role put her on the road of success.

P. Mascagni - Cavalleria rusticana - Duet of Santuzza and Turidu

P. Mascagni - Santuzza's Aria

It was nice to refresh these memories, but Emmy has this vision of Enrico because she knows he is dying. It is time for a last farewell. And so they sing the duet from Aida for the last time - farewell to life from the third act, which has always made Emmy anxious. And she is afraid now, because she knows that her dream will come true...

G. Verdi - Aida - The final duet of Aida and Radam

The vision of Enrico fades away, the doctor has helped Caruso regain consciousness and The Comedians may continue. On December 8th, 1920, Caruso sang The Comedians until the end. It was his last opera with Emmy Destinn - on December 24th he sang in the Metropolitan Opera in The Jewess and there he received the last applause. Emmy Destinn ended her career two years later. She married her dream Czech man, but marriage brought her only great disappointment.

Cast

  • Emmy Destinn
    Renee Nachtigallova, Jordanka Derilova
  • Enrico Caruso
    Petr Horak, Plamen Prokopiev
  • Piano
    prof. Karel Hron, prof. Karel Prokop
  • Make-up women
    Hana Kalinova, Jana Zahradnickova
  • Consierge of house
    Milan Skolnik
  • Footman
    Vaclav Blaha
  • Script
    Renee Nachtigallova
  • Director
    Martin Otava