Mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená to perform in Czechia

Magdalena Kožená

Czech-born mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená (born on May 26, 1973) is one of the bright lights of world opera. Although based in Britain, she returns regularly to Czechia to perform and was one of the biggest attractions of this year’s Prague Spring Festival together with the award-winning Japanese pianist Mitsuko Uchida.

Magdalena Kožená studied at the Brno Conservatory and Bratislava’s Academy of Performing Arts winning several major prizes at home and abroad, the most significant of which was the Sixth International Mozart Competition in Salzburg.

On the opera stage, she made her debut at the Salzburg Festival in 2002 as Zerlina in Mozart's Don Giovanni and first appeared at New York's Metropolitan Opera in 2003 as Cherubino in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, where she has been a regular guest since.

Magdalena has worked with the world’s leading conductors, among them Claudio Abbado, Pierre Boulez, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Charles Mackerras and Sir Roger Norrington.

Her list of distinguished recital partners includes the pianists Daniel Barenboim, Yefim Bronfman, Malcolm Martineau, András Schiff and Mitsuko Uchida, with whom she has performed at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall and at the Edinburgh and Salzburg festivals. She is also greatly in demand as a soloist with the Berlin, Vienna and Czech Philharmonics and the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras.

Magdalena Kožená and her project ZUŠ Open | Photo: ZUŠ Open

Despite her packed agenda, Magdalena Kožená has gone out of her way to support young talent in her native country. In 2016 she established an endowment fund to support Czechia’s unique system of over 400 art schools, focused on music, ballet, drama and visual arts. A related annual music festival called “ZUŠ Open”, promotes talented students from these schools and is organized in cooperation with the Magdalena Kožená Foundation. She herself regularly attends and performs at this festival. This year the festival features close to 500 concerts between May 21 and June 4. Magdalena herself will perform in Olomouc, Veselí nad Moravou a Novy Jíčín on Children’s Day, June 1st.

Magdalena Kožená is a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters of France, has received a Gratias Agit Award from the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs for promoting the good name of Czechia abroad and has been awarded a Gold Medal for Merit in the Arts from the International Committee of the Washington Kennedy Center.