UNIQUE BAROQUE PERFORMANCES IN THE HEART OF PRAGUE
Ledebour Garden below Prague Castle
daily, regardless of the weather
from the 17th June to the 3rd October 2011
Antonio Vivaldi: L’ UNIONE DELLA PACE, E DI MARTE
(Union of Peace with Mars)
Contemporary world premiere of an opera by Antonio Vivaldi performed by the international baroque music ensemble Hof-Musici
Intensive interest in the cembalist and Conductor Ondřej Macek in operas by Antonio Vivaldi dates back to 2000 when he performed the Orlando finto pazzo opera with his ensemble Hof-Musici at the chateau theatres in Český Krumlov and Mnichovo Hradiště and at a festival in Venice. This was believed to be the last preserved opera by Vivaldi that had not been performed on a contemporary stage. In 2008 Ondřej Macek attracted the attention of the cultural world and global media by another feat associated with Vivaldi – he discovered a significant part of Argippo, an opera written by Vivaldi for Prague, which was believed to have been lost forever. Macek’s reconstruction of this work was performed for the first time at the Spanish Hall in Prague Castle with following performances at the chateau theatre in Český Krumlov, at a festival in Venice, in Croatia, etc. The recording of the Venice performance was published on CD by the Italian company Dynamic.
Ondřej Macek and the baroque ensemble Hof-Musici now present the premiere of another opera by Vivaldi, which has so far only been performed once at a particular celebration in 1727. It is a specific type of Italian baroque opera, the so-called serenata, which is a shorter opera based on allegoric or mythological themes and celebrating various special occasions in royal or aristocratic families in baroque Europe (namedays, birthdays, weddings, etc.). Although Vivaldi wrote eight pieces of this genre, music for only three of these has been preserved.
Serenata L´Unione della Pace, e di Marte was performed in Venice in 1727 to mark the birth of daughters (twins) of the French king Luis XV. The original print of the libretto kept in the Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense in Milan was considered the only source of information about this opera and the music was believed to have been lost. However, detailed study of the text of the serenata showed that individual arias are recorded in the autographs of other Vivaldi operas. The analysis of this text revealed that Vivaldi, who was undoubtedly pressed for time when composing a piece for this special occasion, composed the serenata using music for arias from operas Orlando and Farnace as he was working on their premieres in the Sant´Angelo theatre in Venice. This meant that the composition could be reconstructed to reveal its original form as it was performed in Venice September 1727.
Soloists, choir and baroque orchestra Hof-Musici,
Apollo: Alena Máčová (soprano)
Lucina: Pavla Štěpničková (mezzo-soprano)
Marte: Vladimíra Malá (mezzo-soprano)
Conducted by Ondřej Macek playing Cembalo,
Direction and Baroque Expression: Zuzana Vrbová
Tickets for Prague Baroque Festival here