We have established a tradition with ‘The Jarmila Novotná Festival’ to renew musical and cultural identity in the Chateau Liteň area. The festival is not any specific area of the dramatic arts. It will offer multidisciplinary cultural projects in areas with varying genres of musical programs, education, films and other spheres. An important part is dedicated to the support of young artists.
We celebrated the jubilee 10th year of the Jarmila Novotná Festival with an exceptional project – an open air concert performance of the most famous parts of Antonín Dvořák’s opera Rusalka entitled Rusalka in the Park. On August 28, 2021, the castle park in Liteň experienced for the first time a large scene with multimedia production directed by the Caban brothers. The invitation to the project was accepted by the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, which performed under the baton of Robert Jindra. The main role of Rusalka was played by one of our most sought-after sopranos, Kateřina Kněžíková. The role of Prince was taken by the talented Richard Samek, the role of Vodník was played by Jan Martiník and the dual roles of Foreign Princess and the Witch by Jana Kurucová.
Interpretation Courses in Liteň 2021 took place on June 14-18, 2021 under brand new pedagogical leadership. The famous Dutch singer and world-renowned opera singing tutor Margreet Honig honored us with her visit. She invited her aged student, the acclaimed soprano Simona Houda Šaturová to take on the teaching tandem, and for the first time in her career she took on the role of a teacher. For the last evening of June 18, we again prepared the final concert, which cannot be missed in any year of the festival.
The Association of Chateau Liteň organized the 9th year of the Jarmila Novotná Festival in 2020. On August we hosted the Interpretation Courses in Liteň 2020 for the 7th time (on dates 22-27 Aug). It was tutored by the renowned mezzo soprano Markéta Cukrová and HAMU teacher, associate professor Helena Kaupová, who focused the work with students on singing techniques. The final concert was scheduled on August 27. On September 18-20 a photography course was held for the first time, led by renowned photographer Tono Stano. The course was focused on photography in different lighting conditions. On October 3, the castle complex in Liteň opened for the second time to a show of basic art schools in the Central Bohemian Region called ZUŠ Open. It offered music, dance, theater, exhibitions and workshops for the general public. The program of the 9th year of the festival also included a horn parade, named The Liteň French Horn Days with a concert A HORN IN THE CASTLE – Radek Baborák and Guests, which we had to cancel due to the state of emergency of the Czech Republic in the original spring term.
Within the 8th Jarmila Novotná Festival 2019 we offered Interpretation Courses in Liteň 2019 that were for the first time focused on a song repertoire and piano song art. The courses were open also for international students. The courses were held between 14–20 September, 2019 and were led by famous soprano Martina Janková who invited great pianists for this cooperation – a Swiss colleague Gérard Wyss who accompanies her during her foreign performances and Ivo Kahánek who accompanies her especially during her performances in the Czech Republic. The final concert was traditionally held in Čechovna Hall in Liteň.
The Gala Concert of the Jarmila Novotná Festival 2019 presented worldwide renown soprano Martina Janková, a famous Swiss pianist Gérard Wyss and the well-known pianist of the Czech younger generation Ivo Kahánek. The concert was held on September 20, 2019 in the Suk Hall in Rudolfinum and the hosts also introduced young talents and fresh absolvents from the Interpretation Courses in Liteň 2019.
In 2019 we also return to the personality of famous Czech artist – Jiří Suchý. Together with Cineart TV Prague, the Czech Television and ARINA film production, we became the co-producers of a new document on the professional and private life of Jiří Suchý directed by Olga Sommerová. The movie was partly shooted in Liteň where we plan to show it at a special event. The film’s premiere took place on September 25th in Lucerna Cinema in Prague. Even before that on July 4-6th, visitors of the Karlovy Vary IFF were able to see the world premiere. The documentary was also awarded The Audience Award of Právo Newspaper at the festival.
In autumn, the book True Singing (Skutečný zpěv) is published. It deals with a technique of singing by the world-renowned singer and mentor Margreet Honig, translated by the prominent Czech mezzo-soprano Markéta Cukrová. The book is published by the nonprofit organization Zámek Liteň and Markéta Cukrová´s platform VoiceWise.
On Children’s Day June 1st, 2019, Chateau Liteň hosted a happening of Art schools for the region of Central Bohemia, named ZUŠ Open. Art schools prepared a public happening across the art genres. The event was linked up with the Children’s Day celebration organised for kids and the youth in Liteň.
We became a partner of an exhibition called A Bride Bartered Abroad mapping the history of the most famous opera by Bedřich Smetana within the international context. This exhibition is organized by the National Museum – B. Smetana Museum, where it is presented from March 6 2019.
The 7th annual of Jarmila Novotná Festival 2018 started with the Touring Exhibition about the Life of Jarmila Novotná that was presented throughout the month of April at Bookstore and Antique Shop Fryč in Liberec. The large-scale pictures with biographical data of this legendary singer was present. The 5th year of Interpretation Courses in Liteň were lead by soprano Martina Janková and mezzo-soprano Markéta Cukrová on August 20–24. There was one more novelty – the final concert was directed, open-air, and held in different parts of chateau park. On September 9, we prepared a song recital – Song Springs of Martina Janková consisting of Janáček´s folk songs through which she payed a tribute to her home country. The gala concert took place in Čechovna Hall in Liteň, in cooperation with pianist Ivo Kahánek and Ensemble FLAIR. In cooperation with the Museum of Czech Karst in Beroun, we have started a project focused on genealogical research of Daubek family at Liteň manor in the time of the independent Czechoslovakia. We would like to map and document the area of patriotism, entrepreneurship, social and cultural life but also art context.
The connecting line for all activities of the 6th Jarmila Novotná Festival 2017 was the 110th birth anniversary of this famous diva that was celebrated on September 23, 2017. The most important event of the festival – the gala concert Tribute to Jarmila Novotná 2017 was held on September 25, 2017, thanks to the cooperation with the Czech and international opera stars – Adam Plachetka, Aleš Briscein, Adriana Kohútková, Daniela Fally, and Nina Tarandek, and Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra with its chief conductor Ondrej Lenárd. The sixth season of the festival also offered the Touring Exhibition about the Life of Jarmila Novotná under the title Jarmila Novotná: Opera Diva, which was opened from March 30 to May 28, 2017 in the Senate Parliament of the Czech Republic. The fourth singing courses specialized on the worldwide as well as Czech repertoire. These courses were led by Kateřina Kněžíková and Adam Plachetka during August 9–13, 2017 and ended up traditionally – by the Final Concert of the Course Graduates and their lecturers held on August 13, 2017, in Liteň.
The 5th annual of Jarmila Novotná Festival 2016 was launched through The Touring Exhibition about the Life of Jarmila Novotná under the name Jarmila Novotná: Opera Diva. The first stop took place at the Museum of Czech Karst in Beroun and it will be presented in several towns and cities in the Czech Republic. After last year´s success, we coorganized the concert called Tribute to Jarmila Novotná during the International Music Festival Prague Spring also in 2016 – this time with soprano Martina Janková. This year of master class was in addition to the area of classical singing led by Kateřina Kněžíková also focused on a baroque style of singing led by Markéta Cukrová. The courses were concluded by the concert of its lecturers and graduates which was subsequently organized on September 14, 2016 in the Martinů Hall at the Music and Dance Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in modified form. Gala concert titled “The Best of …” introduced the selected graduates of this year and also last year courses. Apart from these events, in 2016, the Association of Chateau Liteň also supports the creation of a documentary about the life of Jiří Suchý, who celebrated his 85th birthday. The documentary name is Jiří Suchý: My Fights and Struggles.
Activities of the 4th edition of the festival in 2015 were crowned by the publishing of the first monograph of Jarmila Novotná called Baroness in Opera written by renowned historian, publicist, scriptwriter, and writer Pavel Kosatík. The Association of Chateau Liteň funded 18 month research carried out in many Czech but also foreign archives this book is based on. The book was presented to the public by Pavel Kosatík at the special event that was held on September 9, 2015 in Municipal House. Apart from this main event we organized the concert called A Tribute to Jarmila Novotná in cooperation with the Prague Spring Festival and the master class led by Adam Plachetka and Kateřina Kněžíková and also unique exhibition of opera costumes of Jarmila Novotná which were lent to the Czech Republic for first time by the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
The third year, in 2014, marked the 20th anniversary of the death of the outstanding opera singer. The festival was an official event of the program ‘The Year of Czech Music’. It is a national project that extends beyond the borders of the Czech Republic. The grand finale of the third year was a narrated gala concert on August 30th, 2014, under the baton of the world renowned conductor Jiří Bělohlávek (who is also president of the program for ‘The Year of Czech Music’). He was accompanied by PKF – Prague Philharmonia, and the Czech singers, Martina Janková, Dagmar Pecková, Štefan Margita and Adam Plachetka, who similar to Jarmila Novotná became famous abroad.
The second year, in 2013, was targeted mainly with the musical program and educational activities.
The first one, in 2012, was focused on bringing music, Jarmila Novotná and the Daubek family back to Liteň.
We applied to the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic to register a newly assembled collection in the Central Registry of Museum-type Collections in June 2013. The Registry is managed by the Department of the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage, Museums and Galleries in accordance with Act No. 122/2000 Coll., on the Protection of Museum-type Collections. The application was approved. More than 80 items were registered and are now accessible to the public at http://ces.mkcr.cz/. The collection includesoriginal period film posters, musical programs, Jarmila Novotná opera wigs and other artifacts from her estate.
The formation of the collection was preceded by a systematic and rigorous cataloguing process. Our Association had already started the cataloguing in 2011. In 2013 items of mostly Czech origin, connected with the life and career of Jarmila Novotná and the Daubek family, were chosen in cooperation with Mr. George Daubek. The collection was expanded with American items related to the professional activities of Jarmila Novotná and her family when they lived in the US.
The diverse collection documents basic milestones in the life of the opera diva and the Daubek family members from the end of the19th century. With its complex orientation it is a unique testimony of the evolution of Czech society and culture. We plan to expand the collection and make it accessible for research and to the general public.
The Association of Chatea Liteň supports all cultural and research areas connected with Liteň. Our cultural department has focused on individual projects which support books, photographic and film materials, music and spoken words.
Among the realized projects are: Research project ‘Jarmila Novotná in film’, a CD ‘Jarmila Novotná’s Opera Recital’, documentaries mapping particular years of the festival or ‘Weekend with Jarmila Novotná and her work’ on Czech Radio and others.
Shortly we issued a revised 3rd Edition of Jarmila Novotná’s memoirs ‘Byla jsem šťastná’ (I was happy) and published a monograph about this famous personality called Baroness in Opera, written by Pavel Kosatík.
One of our main goals is to support high-quality regional, domestic and foreign creations of young artists through a wide spectrum. We create new possibilities in the Chateau Liteň compound and provide space for individual arts production; such as residential stays and master classes.
Cultural-social projects aimed at education and self-development of participants of all ages is an individual area of our support.
Many of the realized projects are worth mentioning now: Acceptance of patronage and support to the Jarmila Novotná Prize within the Antonín Dvořák annual International Singing Contest in Karlovy Vary, a student documentary about the Jarmila Novotná Festival formation or young artists’ performances within the festival, i.e. the concert of young singers we co-organized with the Prague Spring Festival in 2015 .
In addition we organized master classes – with opera singer and lecturer Dagmar Pecková in the summer 2014, a year later master class with basbaritonist Adam Plachetka and soprano Kateřina Kněžíková and last year it was held master class in extended form – focused on the classical singing and newly on the baroque style of singing. The Interpretation Courses 2017 will be focused on Czech repertoire under the tutelage of Kateřina Kněžíková and Adam Plachetka again.
Chateau Liteň and its premises are a cultural monument since 1963 in accordance with Act No. 20/1987 Coll., The state conservation. It is written down in the Central list of cultural monuments of the Czech Republic, register No. 19638/2-341. The historic preservation is targeted on the architectural and historical value of the Chateau and the Park, the Čech Family house, Sala Terrena, Orangery and Blacksmith’s ( Forge ) shop.
Preservation and promotionof cultural, historical and social values of the Liteň compound are the main goals of all our activities.
We have achieved several remarkable goals at this time: the first phase of the Chateau parkrenovation was finished, the Chateau roof was partially restored, a new tower clock was installed and the baroque Čech Family house was renovated. Other projects of reconstruction and renovation are about to begin.
We would like to renovate Chateau Liteň in the future. We also want to finish the park (2nd phase) and to reconstruct the Sala Terrenabuilding and the Orangery. The time framework depends on financial resources, sponsorships and specific grants.
The Association of Chateau Liteň supports community activities in Liteň and the surrounding region. By doing so and thanks to a cooperation with local associations it intends to increase the attractiveness of the site and to raise public awareness of the cultural and historical importance of this place, to return Liteň to the map of important cultural places in the Czech Republic.