Musical Delicacies

— Early Music Concert Series —

Didone abbandonata

Baroque opera, version: Brno, Teatro della Taverna (today: Reduta), 1734 & 2014.

Mozart Hall, Reduta Theatre, Zelný trh 4, 602 00 Brno.

When Event Presale Price
Tue 28.01.2014 19:00 Semi-staged performance Reserved for Masaryk University
Wed 29.01.2014 19:00 Tickets 300 Kč
Wed 19.02.2014 19:00 Tickets
Thu 20.02.2014 19:00 Tickets

Stage direction, set, costumesTomáš Pilař, Patricie Částková
DramaturgyPatricie Částková
Light designTomáš Pilař
Production of set elementsMiroslava Dolívková
Production of costumesMiroslava Matulová
Musical directionJan Čižmář
Baroque orchestra{oh!} Orkiestra Historyczna (PL)
ConcertmasterMartyna Pastuszka (PL)
Basso continuoBassociation (PL/CZ)


Didone Elisa, regina di Cartagine, & amante di Enea
            └─ Dido, the Queeen of Carthage
Andrea Široká
Enea, principe del regio sangue Trojano, amante di Didone
            └─ Aeneas, Trojan hero
Stanislava Jirků
Iarba, re de’Mori, creduto Arbace, & amante di Didone
            └─ Iarbas, the King of Moors (Gaetulia)
Roman Hoza
Selene, sorella di Didone, & amante secreta di Enea
            └─ Selene, Didone’s sister
Michaela Kušteková (SK)
Araspe, confidente di Iarba, & amante di Selene
            └─ Araspes, Iarba’s confidant
Martin Ptáček
Osmida, confidente di Didone
            └─ Osmidas, Didone’s confidant
Václav Cikánek


{oh!} Orkiestra Historyczna (PL)

Bassociation (PL/CZ)

Italian baroque opera

Ancient myths fascinated artists of all genres throughout the centuries, including opera composers and librettists. After all, the history of opera is intertwined with love, tragedy, a desire for revenge or heroic acts. And this is good, because what else but music and the perfect instrument — the voice — can express even the softest emotions, passion or inducements.

The tale of the tragic love of Dido, the proud queen of Cartaghe, to the Trojan hero and mythical founder of Rome Aeneas, became an inspiration for many works of art. One of the first adaptations was the epic poem Aeneid by the Roman poet Virgil. These two unfortunate lovers joined the world of opera in its very beginning and they became its essential part. Some of the operas belong to the most significant pieces in operatic history, such as Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell or later Les Troyanes by Hector Berlioz. And it was the libretto Didone abbandonata (Abandoned Dido), which stood at the beginning of the career of the Italian librettist Pietro Metastasio (1698–1782), a dramatist without whom we cannot even imagine the history of opera. His Didone abbandonata has been set to music more than sixty times; the first music adaptation was by the Neapolitan composer Domenico Sarri (1679–1744). Sarri’s opera was premièred on 1 February 1724 in Teatro San Bartolomeo in Naples as his sixteenth opera; it is considered to be a significant example of his prime compositional period. Didone abbandonata was well received, it became a favourite title in Italian opera houses and in the year 1730 it was performed in a different version in Venice.

Teatro della Taverna

It is said that music knows no borders. A proof of this saying is the multitude of scores in Moravian archives by the star composers of the 18th century, such as Leonardo Vinci, Francesco Feo or Domenico Sarri. Some of these compositions were performed in Moravia right after their Italian premières, which shows the continuous cultural exchange with Italy and also the close ties between Moravia and the homeland of opera itself. In autumn 1734, Domenico Sarri’ Didone abbandonata was performed in Brno by Angelo Mingotti’s opera company, in the theatre in the Tavern which stood on the site of today’s Reduta.

You can find further information about the 1734 performance, the Teatro della Taverna and about the significance of Angelo Mingotti’s opera company here.

Libretto 1734

The Brno performance

Today, Didone abbandonata returns after 280 years to the location where it was originally performed. Young artists from several countries have joined forces: Stage direction and set design are by Tomáš Pilař, musical direction by Jan Čižmář, an internationally well acknowledged lute player and a specialist in Early Music. The title role is performed by Andrea Široká, a soloist of Janáček theatre, and at her side we will see Aeneas, performed by Stanislava Jirků, a soloist of the National Theatre in Prague. The role of a rejected suitor Iarbas is played by the talented bass-baritone Roman Hoza. In the other roles we will see the Slovak soprano Michaela Kušteková and the countertenor Martin Ptáček, both young singers who have acquired recognition in the field of performing baroque music. The orchestra {oh!} Orkiestra Historyczna from Katowice in Poland is acclaimed for its historically informed performances of Early Music using original instruments.

The art of past centuries is an important part of our existence, it is the root from which we have “emerged” and which can give us an idea about the world of our ancestors. This is undoubtedly one of the reasons why 18th century operas are becoming more and more popular nowadays. Performing baroque operas with a historically informed interpretation is an important trend of ensembles from all around the world and this is why, despite the gap of almost three centuries, Sarri’s Didone abbandonata brings an insight into the culture of our ancestors as seen by the current generation of artists.

The realization of the opera in Brno in 2014 is not only a musical event, but also a practical result of the latest scholary research by a team of specialists from academia, museums and independent environments. After 280 years, they have reconstructed the scores of the version of the opera which sounded in Brno in 1734. Its structure is based on the preserved libretto of the Brno performance. Most of the music has been derived from the Venice version, only a part of the recitatives had to be newly composed. The team behind the creation of this edition is formed by Jana Spáčilová (Department of the History of Music, Moravian Museum; specialist on the Italian baroque opera in Moravia), Patricie Částková (Opera na Cestách, o.s.; long-term dramaturg of the National Theatre in Brno) and Jan Čižmář (Hudební lahůdky, o.s.; Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts; Institute of Musicology, Masaryk University).

The project was established as a cooperation between the civic associations Hudební lahůdky and Opera na cestách, Masaryk University, Brno, the Polish association Art in Motion and the National Theatre Brno, and is also part of the celebration of the 95th anniversary of Masaryk University.

The project is under patronage of the Governor of the South Moravian Region Michal Hašek, the Mayor of the Statutory City Brno Roman Onderka, and the Mayor of the City of Katowice Piotr Uszok.


Synopsis of the opera

Didone, the queen of Carthage, promised her hand to king Iarbas, but fell in love with the Trojan hero Aeneas, whose ship wrecked on the shores of Carthage. Iarbas comes to the queen’s court dressed as a messenger, Arbace, to warn the queen that Aeneas cannot become the king of Carthage, and asks her to marry him. Didone refuses Iarbas’ proposal and announces the forthcoming marriage with Aeneas. Aeneas is in love with Didone, but nonetheless he asks her sister Selene to tell the queen about his plan to leave Carthage and embark on a voyage to Italy, as this is his fate, foretold by the gods. Iarbas tries to cause a war conflict, but is defeated by Aeneas. Didone tries to persuade Aeneas to stay in Carthage and marry her, but Aeneas is convinced to enter the predestined path and leaves the city. Carthage is destroyed and the devastated Didone commits suicide.


The artists

Foto: Andrea Široká

Andrea Široká (Didone) is soloist of the opera of the National Theatre Brno, where she performed in many roles, such as Xenia (Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov), Frasquita (Bizet: Carmen), Berta (Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia), Adele (Strauss: Die Fledermaus), Volpino (Haydn: Lo speciale), Clorinda (Rossini: La cenerentola), Barbarina (Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro), Esmeralda (Smetana: Prodaná nevěsta), Titania (Britten: A midsummer night’s dream). She also performs Czech and international song repertoire and pre-romantic sacred music.

Foto: Stanislava Jirků

Stanislava Jirků (Enea) is soloist of the Opera of the National Theatre in Prague, where she performed in many roles, such as Goffredo (Händel: Rinaldo), Dorabella (Mozart: Cosi fan tutte), Cherubino (Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro), Frances (Britten: Gloriana). She gives performances abroad regularly (France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain) and performs with orchestras, such as the BBC Orchestra, Collegium 1704, Czech Philharmonic and others. Her repertoire is very broad, spanning from baroque music to the contemporary compositions, from song repertoire to oratorical music or operas.

Foto: Roman Hoza

The baritone Roman Hoza (Iarbas) is a student of the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno and also continues with his studies at Universität für darstellende Kunst in Vienna. He participates regularly in courses focused on the interpretation of Early Music (Summer School of Baroque Music, Holešov; masterclass with Evely Tubb). He won the international competition for chamber and sacred music in Olomouc (2010). He also participated in chamber opera productions within his studies at the Janáček Academy — Giulielmo (Mozart: Cosi fan tutte), Don Giovanni and Bartola (Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia) in the Silesian Theatre in Opava.

Foto: Michaela Kušteková

Michaela Kušteková (Selene ¹) is a student of the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. She has been performing Early Music for a long time, for example Händel: Serse, Haydn: Il mondo della luna, Rameau: Anacreon, Haydn: La canterina, Mozart: Cosi fan tutte. She received awards (among others) at the International Antonin Dvorak Singing Competition (2008) and the International Singing Competition Feruccio Tagliavini (2011). In 2013 she became the absolute winner of the interpretational competition of the Summer School of Baroque music in Holešov. She performs with ensembles such as Synfonietta Bratislava, Ad gloriam Dei and Cuore barocco or The Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina.

Foto: Zuzana Černá

Zuzana Černá (Selene ²) is a graduate of the Academy of Ancient Music in Brno. She also studied musicology and voice and music education at the Masaryk University. She is mainly focused on the interpretation of Early Music. She attended courses by Evelyn Tubb, Nicki Kennedy, Julie Hassler, Joel Frederiksen, Irena Troupová and others. She performs with the ensembles Hofmusici, Capella Regia, Capella Antiqua Brunensis and Czech Ensemble Baroque. In 2007 she participated in the production of Monteverdi’s Orfeo at the National Theatre in Prague. In 2008–2010 she performed with the ensemble Hofmusici in modern opera premières at the baroque theater in Český Krumlov.

Foto: Martin Ptáček

Martin Ptáček (Araspe) started his singing career in the boys’ choir Boni Pueri. As a soloist, he performs as a tenor/countertenor. As a countertenor, he successfully participated in singing courses in Olomouc and Holešov, under the leadership of experts in this field (Piotr Olech, Steve Wächter, Jean-François Lombard). He performs with some of the best Czech conductors: Roman Válek (Czech Ensemble Baroque), Tomáš Hanzlík (Ensemble Damian) and Marek Štryncl (Musica Florea).

Foto: Václav Cikánek

Václav Cikánek (Osmida) gives concerts regularly in many European countries, e.g. Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy. In the Czech Republic he performs with the ensembles Laetitia Praha and Ensemble Canto. As a soloist he sings with the Dvořák Chamber Choir and the Musica Academica orchestra, or with Piccolo coro & Piccola orchestra, with whom he performs at sacred music concerts. He participated successfully in several international singing competitions, e.g. Karlovy Vary, Trnava, the festival Ad honorem Mozart Praga, and Iuventus Canti. His repertoire includes classic tenor compositions by renowned Czech and international composers of operatic and sacred music.

Foto: Tomáš Pilař

Stage director Tomáš Pilař graduated from the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (JAMU) in Brno, where he studied opera production. In 2009, he was finalist for the Linbury Prize for Stage Design in London as the very first Czech person, and he also acquired third place in the International competition for stage direction held by the National Theatre Brno. His productions include e.g. Verdi: La forca del destino (F. X. Šaldy Theatre, 2013), Streul: Papageno and the Magic Flute (National Theatre Brno, 2011), Ištvan: Kráska a Zvíře Beauty and the Beast and J. Berg: Evropská turistika European tourism (JAMU’s Divadlo na Orlí, 2012), Janáček: Příhody lišky Bystroušky The Cunning Little Vixen (Divadelní svět Brno festival, 2013).

Foto: Patricie Částková

Patricie Částková graduated from the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts, in the subject of opera production. In the years 1995–2013 she was the dramaturg of the Janáček Opera of the National Theatre Brno, where she participated in more than seventy opera productions (e.g. Salome, Idomeneo, The Cunning Little Vixen, The Excursions of Mr. Brouček to the Moon, Mefistofeles, Rusalka, War and Peace, Julietta) working with stage directors such as prof. Pamela Howard, James Conway, Vladimír Morávek and others. She is co-founder of the Janáček Brno International Music Festival 2008 and co-founder of the educational project Nebojte se divadla! Don’t be scared of the theatre! She also works as a lecturer.

Foto: Jan Čižmář

Jan Čižmář studied lute at the Royal College of Music in London and at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, and musicology at Masaryk University in Brno. As theorbist and continuo player he has performed with leading orchestras and conductors such as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestra of the 18th Century, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Bach Akademie Stuttgart. Among his numerous experiences with opera performances are participation in the project Dido and Aeneas / Acia and Galatea at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, conducted by Christoper Hogwood. Foto: Orkiestra Historyczna He is the founder and artistic director of the Early Music concert series Hudební lahůdky (Musical Delicacies). His musical vision emphasizes the authenticity and close links with the history of a venue, while also considering the current audience and the world of the 21st century.

{oh!} Orkiestra Historyczna is an ensemble formed by young professional musicians from Katowice (Poland) specialized in historically informed music performance practice from the Baroque period to the Romanticism. The main goal of the ensemble is to present the most authentic sound by utilizing scholary research of the available sources. The members of the ensemble are laureates of competitions and graduates from Polish and international Music academies, where they gained experience performing with renowned European conductors, ensembles and soloists. Foto: Martyna Pastuszka

Concertmaster Martyna Pastuszka graduated from the Academy of Music in Katowice in 2004. She co-founded {oh!} Orkiestra Historyczna with the wish to take the performance of classical music in Silesia to a whole new level. She works currently as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician with Arte dei Suonatori (Poznań) and Le Cercle de l’Harmonie (Paris), and as concertmaster of Le Parlement de Musique (Strasbourg) and Capella Cracoviensis (Kraków). Since 2007 she teaches Baroque Violin at the Academy of Music in Katowice.


Thank you

This project is realized with financial support by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, the State Cultural Fund of the Czech Republic, the South Moravian Region, the Statutory City of Brno, the City of Katowice, the Polish Institute in Prague, and the Czech Centre in Warsaw.

The fabrics for the costumes were supplied by Kolovrat, ČM s. r. o.

The music typesetting of “Didone abbandonata” was performed by Milan Kolář.

We thank harpsichord maker Vít Bébar for lending and tuning instruments.

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We greatly appreciate the valuable collaboration with the following partners:

Logo Masarykovy univerzity Logo Národního divadla Brno Logo Opery na cestách Logo Art in Motion Logo {oh!} Orkiestra Historyczna Radio Proglas Opus Musicum – hudební revue