Musical Delicacies

— Early Music Concert Series —

Didone abbandonata

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

Wednesday 16 September 2015 19:00 — Staged performance.
Warsaw Chamber Opera, aleja Solidarności 76b, 00–145 Warszawa, Poland.

Produced in collaboration with Opera na cestách and Art in Motion (PL).
Takes place within the festival Dramma per musica.


Stage direction, dramaturgy, light designPatricie Částková, Tomáš Pilař
Musical directionJan Čižmář
Baroque orchestra{oh!} Orkiestra Historyczna (PL)
ConcertmasterMartyna Pastuszka (PL)
Basso continuoBassociation (PL/CZ)

Cast

Didone Elisa, regina di Cartagine, & amante di Enea
            └─ Dido, the Queeen of Carthage
Laila Cathleen Neuman (NL)
Enea, principe del regio sangue Trojano, amante di Didone
            └─ Aeneas, Trojan hero
Armin Gramer (AT)
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-Popik (SK)
Araspe, confidente di Iarba, & amante di Selene
            └─ Araspes, Iarba’s confidant
Marek Olbrzymek
Osmida, confidente di Didone
            └─ Osmidas, Didone’s confidant
Jakub Kubín

Orchestra

{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

Today’s performance

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 2014 and 2015 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 Jan Čižmář (Hudební lahůdky, z.s.; Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts; Institute of Musicology, Masaryk University), Patricie Částková (Opera na Cestách, o.s.; long-term dramaturg of the National Theatre in Brno) and Jana Spáčilová (Department of Musicology, Palacký University, Olomouc; specialist on the Italian baroque opera in Moravia).

The project was established in 2014 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. In 2015, its realisation also involved the National Heritage Institute.

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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.

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The artists

Foto: Laila Cathleen Neuman

Laila Cathleen Neuman (Didone) began studying singing in the Netherlands with Christy Pfeiler and Susanna Waleson and continued at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan with Rosina Crosatti and Margaret Hayward, and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg with Breda Zakotnik and Barbara Bonney. She has participated in master classes with leading artists such as Dalton Baldwin, Max van Egmond, Johannette Zomer, Trevor Pinnock, Angelika Kirschlager and Deda Cristina Colonna. She mainly deals with baroque music, baroque dance and historic gesture, for which she worked with Margit Legler and Reinhold Kubik. She made her debut as the Second Woman in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and sang Melpomene in Gluck’s Il Parnaso Confuse in a production of the Mozart Opera Institute Salzburg. She is currently working with Ensemble Esprit directed by J. Hulst, Ensemble La Silva, Het Philadelphus Ensemble (member of Concertgebouw Orchestra) and Convivio d’Arte in the Netherlands, Austria, Germany and Italy. Her repertoire ranges from renaissance to contemporary music and includes chamber music as well as oratorios and operas.

Foto: Armin Gramer

The countertenor Armin Gramer studied at Prayner’s Conservatory and Conservatory Vienna. He has performed in many operas, Volksoper Wien, Kammeroper Rheinsberg, Schlossfestspiele Wernigerode, Bayerische Staatsoper München, Hebel Theater, Theater an der Rott, Sirene Operntheater, Theater Konstanz, Herbsttagen Blindenmarkt, Wiener Kammeroper, and at festivals such as Tongyeong Music Festival, Budapest Baroque Festival. He won the contest “musica juventutis” organized by Wiener Konzerthaus and the competition arranged by Kammeroper Rheinsberg.

Foto: Roman Hoza

The baritone Roman Hoza (Iarbas) is a member of the opera studio of Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf/Duisburg. He studied at the Janáček Academy of Music and at Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna. He has had guest appearances in the National Theatre in Brno, the Silesian Theatre in Opava, the Opéra National de Lyon, and last year he performed at Salzburger Festspiele as Dandini in Rossini’s Cinderella adapted for children. This year he appeared as a soloist at the Prague Spring festival. In the season 2015/16 Roman Hoza performs, inter alia, in the National Theatre in Prague as Mozart’s Figaro and at the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre as Hamlet.

Foto: Michaela Kušteková-Popik

Michaela Kušteková-Popik (Selene) studied singing at 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.

Marek Olbrzymek (Araspe) graduated in singing at JAMU. As a soloist, he performs on the stages of the National Theatre in Brno and the National Theatre in Ostrava. Besides concert performances with the Philharmonic Orchestras in Zlin, Teplice, Brno, Ostrava and Hradec Králové, he also focuses on early music. In the years 1999–2003 he participated in the vocal-instrumental projects of the Baroque Academy of Ambronay (France), and in 2003 in the opera festival in Aix-en-Provence. He has performed at theatres and concert halls in many European countries (Poland, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Spain etc.), in the USA and Japan.

Foto: Jakub Kubín

Jakub Kubín (Osmida) is a graduate of Pardubice Conservatory. In addition to singing, he is also actively involved in the arrangement of compositions of different genres. He is actively working with several major orchestras and ensembles including Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra, the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice, South Czech Philharmonic, Musica Florea, Musica Bohemica, Czech Ensemble Baroque, Akademický sbor Žerotín. Since 2006, he has performed as a soloist in the vocal ensemble Gentlemen Singers.

 
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 direction. She works as dramaturg at 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, Tosca) working with stage directors such as Jiří Heřman, prof. Pamela Howard, James Conway, Vladimír Morávek and others. She is co-founder of the Janáček Brno International Music Festival and co-founder of the educational project “Don’t be scared of the theatre!”, and regularly acts 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. He teaches at JAMU in Brno and at the Masaryk University in Brno.

{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, and since 2015 also at JAMU in Brno.

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Thank you

The project “Didone abbandonata” is realized with financial support by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, the Statutory City of Brno, the City of Katowice 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.

Logo of Ministry of Culture Logo Statutárního města Brna Logo „KATOWICE. For a change.” Logo Českého centra Logo Kolovratu, ČM s. r. o. Logo Milana Koláře Dorazová lišta cembal Víta Bébara

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