Stráž nad Nežárkou
Straz nad Nezarkou Castle, the former home of renowned Czech opera singer Ema Destinnova.
Panoramic view
Guided Tour

Between Třeboň and Jindřichův Hradec lies the town of Stráž nad Nežárkou. Its symbol is a Baroque chateau. Originally an early-Gothic castle built around 1284, it was the seat of the Lords of Stráž, a branch of the Vítkovec family. The estate of the last owners, the Leonardi Barons, was adjacent to the chateau.

After the last reconstruction, the chateau became a concert venue and a museum of Ema Destinnová and also includes exhibitions of other Czech artists such as Jarmila Novotná, master Jan Suk, genus Kubelíks. It was inaugurated on May 6, 2006.

Although Ema struggled with failure at the beginning of her career, she met people who trusted her as a beginning artist. By combining her personal talents and the trust of the people who recognized her talent, a world singing star could be born. And so, after 76 years, the castle and the region came alive with music, where are arias from the repertoire of the famous singer and not only her sound from the chateau concert hall.

The CASTLE FULL OF MUSIC project, as an expression of respect and respect for Emma Destinn, resonates with the TIME PORTAL FESTIVAL project, which promotes young, emerging, yet unknown, music artists. That is why we have decided to establish cooperation to support these young talented young people and enable them to introduce themselves to the public with their talents, as it was once allowed by Emma Destinn.

Ema Destinnová
Ema was born in Prague on February 26, 1878, to a wealthy family, husbands Jindřiška and Emanueli Kittl, who were very close to art. Her father was a great patron of the painter Václav Brožík and the writer Jan Neruda. Mother studied singing in Prague, Milan and Paris, where she also performed. Parents gave all their five children a musical education.

Ema studied singing with the Loews and the acting art of the National Theater actress Otylie Sklenářová. Already in her youth Ema wrote several plays, she liked the countryside and nature.

The beginning of her career, though, according to the teachers, the singing and acting talent of Ema was excellent, so at the age of 19 she failed the rehearsal for the National Theater. She also experienced a failure in rehearsals for the Dresden Opera. Even after her experience, she joined the German Court Opera in Berlin, where her extraordinary talent was recognized and her singing career began. She also adopted the artistic name Emma Destinnová in Berlin
She began her singing art throughout Europe - Vienna, Paris, London. Sometimes she also visited Prague, where she was already awarded the local audience. She became an honorary member of the National Theater. Ema likes to spend time in Prague, but still preferred to go to the countryside, where she rented chateaux in Domousnice and Trnová u Prahy.
Ema in America

The Metropolitan Opera of New York has sent Emma twice an engagement, but only the third has been accepted. Already in the first performance of Aida, the trio of Destinn, Caruso, Toscanini was triumphing on this scene. Thanks to her success, she had great roles with Enric Carus, Toscanini, and personally met Puccini, who wrote the opera for her. She and Gustav Mahler contributed to promoting Smetana's opera The Bartered Bride at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Emma Destinnová was 23 years old and her fame overcame the continents. During her eight-year career in America, Destinnová also visited her native Czechs several times and likes to sing as a guest of honor at the National Theater, especially in Smetana's operas, but also in Tosca, Cavalier, Comedians or Tannhauser.
Return to homeland

In 1916, during World War I, Ema returns to her homeland and, together with her then life partner, Dinh Gilly resorts to her castle in Stráž nad Nežárkou. Ema is sometimes allowed to perform in the public in the Czech Republic; Finally, as a backup French officer, Gilly leaves her and goes to a prison camp. She remains alone in the chambers of the castle, writing novels and poems. He directs local amateur actors, receives occasional visits and makes the film The Power of Singing.

She enjoys the peace of her mansion and in 1923 meets a young officer, Josef Halsbach, for whom she first marries. Unfortunately, marriage is soon falling apart and Ema remains alone. January 28, 1930 Ema Destinn dies from stroke. Her remains are stored at Vyšehrad Slavín in Prague.

Castle contacts

+420 774 220 356

nám. Emy Destinnové č.1, 378 02
Stráž nad Nežárkou, Czech Rebublic