Musical Delicacies

— Early Music Concert Series —

Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie: painting: Leopold, cca. 1670.

Festa di Sua Maestà Cæsarea Leopoldo

Baroque courtly and folk dance, horse(!) ballet, street music, and above all music from the pen of Emperor Leopold I. are connecting the story of today’s girl Margaret and her “trip to the 17th century”, where she is guided by Bishop Szelepcsényi and Empress Margarita, Leopold’s first wife.

Sunday 3 September 2017 17:00 — Old Townhall (courtyard), Radnická 8, Brno, Czech Republic. (Wheelchair accessible)

Script: Jan Čižmář (CZ), Marek Mokoš (SK)
Staging: Marek Mokoš (SK)
Choreography: Margit Legler (AT)
Artistic direction: Jan Čižmář (CZ)
Musicians: Plaisirs de Musique (CZ)
Dancers: Les Plaisirs de la Danse (AT)


Margaret, a girl from the present Linda Kunclová (CZ)
Margarita [2], Spanish infanta, wife of Emperor Leopold [1] Kristina Kubová (CZ)
Bishop Szelepcsényi [3], Leopold’s friend, Margaret’s advisor Michal Marhold (CZ)
… other smaller acting roles are performed by musicians and dancers (and the audience).

1.  Leopold I of Habsburg (* 9 June 1640, † 5 May 1705), Archduke of Austria (1654), King of Hungary (1655) and Bohemia (1656), Holy Roman Emperor (1658).
2.  Margarita Theresa of Habsburg (* 12 July 1651, † 12 March 1673), infanta of Spain, Leopold’s first wife (married 12 December 1666).
3.  Georgius Szelepcseny (* 24 April 1595, † 14 January 1685), titular Archbishop of Esztergom and Primas of Hungary (appointed 15 January 1666).

YouTube video: Leopold: Canario (D major).
Leopold I.: Canario (D major)
(YouTube video.)
Other performances within the project — click here to show all
Sa 24.06.2017 19:00 Municipal theatre J. K. Tyl, Třeboň (only music and dance)
Sa 19.08.2017 17:00 Baroque Theatre, Valtice château (only music and dance)
Sa 02.09.2017 20:00 Floral Garden (Libosad), Kroměříž
Sa 06.10.2017 19:00 Bučovice château (courtyard), Bučovice
Mo 05.03.2018 19:30 Břetislav Bakala Hall, Brno

Performed music

Leopold I. (1640 – 1705) Suite G major   (CZ–KRa A918)
Intrada — Sarabanda — Borea (solo: Davide Monti) — Guige — Balletto — Ciaconna (solo: Marta Kratochvílová)
Leopold I. (1640 – 1705) Suite C minor   (CZ–KRa A745+A809)
Sonata — Allemanda — Courante — Sarabanda — Canario — Guige
Leopold I. (1640 – 1705) Suite D major   (CZ–KRa A836)
Allamanda — Sarabanda — Guige — Gavotta — Courante — Sarabanda — Gagliarda — Canario
Antonio Cesti (1623 – 1669) Sonata G major   (Pomo d ́’Oro, 1668, Prologo)
Antonio Cesti (1623 – 1669) Sonata G major   (Pomo d ́’Oro, 1668, Atto II)
Antonio Cesti (1623 – 1669) Sonata D minor   (Pomo d’ ́Oro, 1668, Atto IV)
Johann Heinrich Schmelzer (cca. 1623 – 1680) Arie per il Balletto à Cavallo
Corrente per l’Intrada di S. M. C. & di tutti i Cavaglieri
Giga per Entrata de i Saltatori, e per molte altre figure
Follia per nuovo ingresso de i Saltatori, & altri operazioni de Cavalli
Allemanda per gl’intrecci e figure di passegio grave introdotto da S. M. C. e Cavaglieri
Sarabanda per termine del Balletto
Improvisation Menuet
Improvisation Folk dance


Act One

Copperengraving: Horse ballet — click to enlarge image. 🔎  Horse ballet: Follia — click to enlarge image.

We are in present days, in an art gallery of old masters. The young girl Margaret came here in error and is going bored. Mysterious figures from the paintings offer her adventures and they enter into history, right into the turmoil of the ceremonial procession in the streets of Vienna, heading for the wedding of the Imperial couple. Bishop Szelepcsényi becomes a willing guide for her, so within the wedding festivities, Margaret experiences the marriage ceremony the the cathedral, a magnificent horse ballet, and she also takes part in a banquet and the happy dancing in the castle. The personal encounter with the young Empress Margarita, who becomes her second guide to the Baroque world, is an unforgettable experience for Margaret.

  1. Art Gallery of old masters. Young Margaret visiting.
  2. The figures in the paintings come to life and draw Margaret into their history.
  3. Vienna. A festive parade through the streets leading to the wedding ceremony.
  4. Courtyard of the Imperial Palace. Celebration — Horse Ballet.
  5. Ceremony in the cathedral.
  6. Banquet in the Chateau (violin: Davide Monti).

Act Two

Tuğrâ (seal) of Mehmed IV. (click to enlarge image). 🔎  Tuğrâ (seal) of Mehmed IV.

Celebrations also take place in the street and among the population. Life goes on in the castle and in the streets, but entertainment seems to be a human need that has to be fulfilled. However, the apparent is bought by the great sacrifices and problems of the Empress itself. Relief and help are sought in prayer, which we encounter in Mikulov in 1668. To her excitement, a group of comedians performing a scene from the ancient play The Judgement of Paris, – the Empress herself wrote the opera: Pomo d’Oro!

  1. Market in the city — life on the street (violin: Davide Monti).
  2. Pilgrimage to Mikulov.
  3. Performance of the street comedians — Pomo d’Oro.
Wikimedia: Painting: Battle of Vienna. Pauwel Casteels: Battle of Vienna (excerpt).

Act Three

Great danger and an uncertain future — in 1683 the invincible Turkish troops reach the gates of Vienna. Relief cannot come in time, the end is unavoidable. The Emperor turns to prayer. Auxiliary troops, led by the Polish King John III. Sobieski, arrive at the last minute and save Vienna and thus the entire Christian Europe. There is again a reason to celebrate! Margaret is delighted to return to the modern world filled with experience, admiration and respect for past generations.

  1. Danger prevails — plague, Turks.
  2. The Emperor prays, begging for help from the great danger.
  3. 1683 – the Battle of Vienna.
  4. Reinforcements led by John III Sobiesky arrive — victory — celebration.
  5. In a mood of merriment, Margaret returns to the present (flute: Marta Kratochvílová).
Wikipedia: Painting: Margarita.
Leopold in theatre costume, 1667.
Wikipedia: Painting: Margarita.
Margarita in theatre costume, 1667.

Words of the authors

Leopold I as inspiration

CONSILIO ET INDUSTRIA, Advice and Diligence, was the motto which Leopold I of Habsburg, one of the most important rulers of his time, followed all his life. This model of an exemplary ruler educated in a wide range of professions (i. a. a prominent music composer) and his court in Vienna boldly competed with the (today more famous) festivities of the French court in Versailles under Louis XIV (Leopold’s cousin). As a second-born son, Leopold was destined for an ecclesiastic career. However, after the death of his older brother, the studies of theology and the preparation for a spiritual career unexpectedly changed into studies of diplomacy and the preparation for a career as one of the most powerful rulers in Europe.

Wikipedia: Painting: Margarita.
Margarita, 1665.

This performance was created in 2017, commissioned by the Hortus Magicus festival to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the wedding of Leopold I to the Spanish infanta Margarita. The anniversary of this event — a cultural pinnacle of its time and well documented in historical sources — was also the subject of various scholary projects and exhibitions: Spettacolo barocco!, Horses in Ballet Shoes, For the temple, town and country and Festivities at the court of Emperor Leopold I.

The story of Leopold and Margaret

The very celebration of the anniversary gave us a backdrop for creating an imagined story, intending to peep into the life of man, who even today can act as an inspiration and an example at all levels of social and professional life. The story comprises some fateful moments of Leopold I as a sovereign, but it also looks into his personal life. We will discover all this through the eyes of Margaret, a modern-age girl who, transposed to the past, is guided by two prominent figures of Leopold’s life: his first wife Margarita and his close friend, Bishop Szelepcsényi. At the same time it is also the story of Margaret, the young girl, who unexpectedly is acquainted with the culture of past times, awakening her respect and admiration for the educated and inspiring imperial couple.

The performance follows three basic ideas which also form Leopold’s principles of life and are the pillars of his morale:

  1. a sense of the spiritual life and a total commitment to the transcendent,
  2. a life-long effort to learn the truth about oneself, a desire and need to work steadily and relentlessly, and to subordinate to one’s circumstances and imperfections, in the service of living a happy life and creating higher values,
  3. rationality, discretion and prudence, — things which especially today are becoming urgent and needing visualization.
Wikipedia: Copperengraving: Bishop Szelepcsényi.
Bishop Szelepcsényi, 1665.

These main ideas are depicted in a collage of drama, dance and music plus projections of contemporary pictorial materials. A special role is played by the captivating scenery of the historical environments where some of the performances were staged.

We consciously commit some historical inaccuracies and take a perhaps too educational approach towards the historical facts. This artistic license serves to create a dramatic storyline, with the aim to celebrate the beauty of the spirit and the admiration of history. Festa di sua Maestà Cæsarea Leopoldo is not to be a performance that will vanish like a light summer breeze. It is a real story of a man whom nobody believed in at first, who even today does not stop astonishing us with the strength and size of his personality.

Music and dance

The choice of music was determined by three factors:

  1. A horse ballet was performed during the commemorated imperial wedding, set to music by J. H. Schmelzer, and preserved in a representative print describing the entire celebration.
  2. For the theatrical scene The Judgement of Paris honouring Empress Margarita, we could not resist using Cesti’s opera Pomo d’Oro co-authored by the Empress herself.
  3. Since the initial performance was prepared for the Kroměříž Flower Garden, we deliberately selected compositions by Emperor Leopold that are preserved in the Kroměříž music archive. Although he was a very wide-ranging composer, the Kroměříž archive contains exclusively dance music.

Unlike the French court, no dance choreographies from the Viennese court have been preserved. As an aid in the reconstruction, we have a wealth of pictorial material from contemporary performances, plus stage and costume designs as well as verbal descriptions. At the same time, our considerations about the choreography stem from the fact that Vienna was a metropolis where strong influences of Italian culture and Spanish idioms met (due to the family ties to the Spanish ruling dynasty), and at the same time it was influenced by numerous local folk music traditions. Last but not least, it was impossible to withstand the dance fashion coming from France, to which Vienna consciously created a sort of counterpart. In France, we see a purely nationalistic approach, favouring anything new and French. Vienna followed the opposite — more cosmopolitan — approach, where paradoxically both the “hostile” French style and the “dynastically related” Spanish style were considered fashionable, together with local folklore from different regions of the monarchy.

The Viennese specialist in historical dance, Margit Legler, was invited to collaborate on the dance part. The deployed choreographies are partly reconstructions, partly copies of originals, and partly own creations based on a deep knowledge of the subject. The dance costumes are in the style from Vienna at the time of Leopold I.

Marek Mokoš & Jan Čižmář





¹ soli.

Michal Marhold was born in Prague. He was introduced to the world of opera by the leading opera soloist of Janáček’s opera of the National Theatre Brno, Andrea Priechodská-Široká, from whom he obtained the much needed technical foundations. He studied at the Brno Conservatory (with Petr Julíček) and conducting (with Aleš Podaril), currently he studies at the Janáček Academy in Brno (with Ivana Mikesková). In 2016 he was invited to work with the European Music Academy on the project of three Mozart operas (Don Giovanni, Le Nozze di Figaro and Cosi fan tutte). For his role in this project, he was awarded the President of the EMA Prize. He also works as a soloist with the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra in Zlín and the North Bohemian Philharmonic Orchestra in Teplice. This year he debuted as Papageno at the J. K. Tyl Theatre in Plzeň and the Schiller Theatre in Berlin. He is a soloist of Opera Diversa and of BROLN. His repertoire encompasses i. a. a significant role in Jiři Pauer’s mono-opera Labutí píseň (Swan Song), in which he portrays a man suffering from mental schizophrenia.

Kristina Kubová studied singing and piano at the Jan Neruda Secondary School with Musical Focus in Prague (today’s GMHS). After graduating from secondary school she obtained a Bachelor’s degree at the Faculty of Humanities at the Charles University, Prague. However, during the Prague studies, she successfully passed the entrance exam for singing at the the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno. She is currently studying under the artistic direction of Natalie Romanová-Achaladze. From 2003 to 2013, she attended courses at the International Summer School of Early Music in Valtice, where she studied in the classes of Marek Špelina, Robert Hugo, Marek Štryncl, Irena Troupová and Beatriz Lafont. She is a member of Trio Kerberos (oboe, guitar, vocals) where she and her colleagues focus on Old English and Sephardic songs. She also performs with the Brno Jewish ensemble Ha Chucpa, for example at the Festival yidische muzik in Stuttgart. Since 2013 he has been working with the contemporary composer Zdeněk Zahradník, thanks to whom she performed, i. a., the main female roles in the world premiere of the oratorio Ó, matko Země (Oh, Mother of the Earth).

Linda Kunclová was born in Strakonice, where she also received her first music education. She continued her studies at the Conservatory in České Budějovice (Budweis) with Dagmar Volfová. She has recently been attending the second year at the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno under the direction of the soprano Tatiana Teslya. Already at the Conservatory she had the opportunity to work externally in the opera choir of the South Bohemian Theatre and on its summer scene, the Revolving Theatre in Český Krumlov. She still performs occasionally at the South Bohemian Theatre. She is also interested in other forms of theatre; during her studies in České Budějovice, she was a member of the University Student Theatre (SUD), which focuses on works by students. She is a member of the creative theatre ensemble Artists on the Shaped Leg. She teaches solo singing at the Basic Art School in Tábor.


Marek Mokoš graduated in opera direction at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (JAMU) in Brno, as well as in acting and opera singing at the Conservatory in Bratislava. During his studies he completed an internship at the Bayreuth Wagner Festival and at the Ludwik Solski Academy for the Dramatic Arts in Kraków. He directed numerous operas including Pimpinone (Telemann), Don Giovanni (Mozart), L’impresario in angustie (Cimarosa), L’isola disabitata (Haydn), Orfeo ed Euridice (Gluck), stage performances of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ. As a co-director of the project VCHOD (Research Center for Musical-Operatic Theatre, under JAMU), he staged the operas Opportunity makes the thief (Rossini) and The Kiss (Smetana). As assistant director, he had the opportunity to work with David Radok at the National Theatre in Brno on the production of the opera The Makropulos Case (Janáček), and he assisted with the opera Romeo and Juliet (Gounoud) at the Slovak National Theatre. He also collaborated with Ensemble Opera Diversa and Wartberg Collegium.

Les Plaisirs de la Danse. 🔎  click to enlarge image.

Les Plaisirs de la Danse is a group of dancers working under the direction of Margit Legler. These young professional dancers standing at the beginning of their international career have come from around the world wishing to study at the Ballet Academy of the Vienna State Opera. During their studies they attended an intensive course of historical dance with Margit Legler, who chose her best graduates to participate in the Festa di Sua Maesta Leopoldo project.

Margit Legler was born in Vienna. After a career as dancer of the Ballet of the Vienna State Opera and extensive participations in both contemporary and baroque choreographies, she specialized in historical performance practices: Historical dance, singing and acting. Stagings of baroque operas: Mozart: The Magic Flute (Tokyo, 1994), Gluck: Il parnaso confuso (Gluck, Budapest, 1998), Gassmann: Il trionfo d’Amore (Ballenstedt, 2000), Purcell: Dido & Aeneas (Weimar, 2001; Händel-Festspiele Halle/Saale, Goethetheater Bad Lauchstädt, 2008), Gluck: Il parnaso confuso (Salzburg, 2009; Schloss Schönbrunn Vienna, Schlosshof, 2009), Telemann: Ino (Budapest, 2012), Gluck: Il Parnaso confuso (Aarhus, Grenå, Give/DK, 2012), Caldara: Il Giuoco del Quadriglio (Salzburg, 2013), Gluck: La Corona (Salzburg, 2014), Händel: Lucio Cornelio Silla (Herne, 2016; Händel-Festspiele Göttingen, 2017; Ludwigsburg, 2018). Extensive teaching activities in all of Europe; in Austria i. a. in Innsbruck (Innsbruck Barock), Graz and Vienna (Resonanzen). – Lectureship for historical theatre dance for singers at the University of Music, Vienna (1989–2009) and at the Mozarteum University, Salzburg (since 2013). Lectureship for historical dance at the at the Dance programme of the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna (since 2006) and at the Wiener Staatsoper Ballet Academy (since 2010). Lectureship for historical acting at the Mozart Opera Institute of Mozarteum University, Salzburg (since 2011). Performances as a singer and dancer in the spirit of the historical performance practice. Since 2015 professor for “Historical dance” and “Period acting techniques” at the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna.

Plaisirs de Musique specialises since 2013 on authentic interpretations of early music on period instruments, its members being leading European experts in the field. The projects that the ensemble performs in are partly regular concerts, but they also comprise collaborations on staged, dance and opera productions. The ensemble appeared in concerts at various festivals at home and abroad (Germany, Austria, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands and Belgium). Its artistic leader Jan Čižmář is taking inspiration especially from recent discoveries from musical archives, and strives for an attractive presentation of early music in the context of other disciplines of art. The ensemble’s activities also include educational events and concerts for children.

Jan Čižmář is a versatile performer focusing on historical plucked instruments. He performs regularly in Europe, Asia and the USA with ensembles such as Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Capella Cracoviensis, and under conductors such as Frans Brüggen, Christopher Hogwood, Giovanni Antonini, Yannick Nézet–Séguin and Christina Pluhar. He appears also as soloist with of baroque and renaissance repertoire, and is the artistic leader of the ensemble Plaisirs de Musique. After graduation in guitar and musicology in his native Brno he studied at the Royal College of Music in London, where he began playing the lute in the class of Jakob Lindberg. He continued his studies at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague with the teachers Nigel North, Joachim Held, Mike Fentross and Christina Pluhar. He was the founder and editor of the Czech guitar magazine Kytara and contributes regularly to other musical periodicals. He is also intensely involved with publishing and research activities in the field of early music. Jan Čižmář taught lute and related instruments at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice in Poland; currently he is teaching at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (JAMU) in Brno and at the Academy of Ancient Music at Masaryk University in Brno. He regularly gives courses and masterclasses in Europe and overseas.

Thank you

The performance enjoys the auspices of the Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic Mgr. Daniel Herman, the Governor of the South Moravian Region JUDr. Bohumil Šimek and the Mayor of the Statutory City Brno Ing. Petr Vokřál.

It takes place with financial support from the South Moravian Region and the Statutory City of Brno.

We thank the National Heritage Institute and the Czech National Trust for a pleasant and creative cooperation and for their confidence in us.

We thank Theatermuseum Wien and the Museum of Art Olomouc for providing historical graphical material as well as video sequences from the exhibitions Spettacolo barocco! and Horses in Ballet Shoes.

Ministry of Culture, Czech Republic Logo Jihomoravského kraje Statutární město Brno Logo Národního památkového ústav Czech National Trust Logo Theatermuseum Wien Logo muzea umění olomouc